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Location: Quality & Safety Assessment Research

Title: Comparison of cook loss, shear force, and sensory descriptive profiles of broiler breast fillets cooked from a frozen state and cooked after freeze/thaw

item Zhuang, Hong
item Savage, Elizabeth - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/4/2013
Publication Date: 11/1/2013
Citation: Zhuang, H., Savage, E.M. 2013. Comparison of cook loss, shear force, and sensory descriptive profiles of broiler breast fillets cooked from a frozen state and cooked after freeze/thaw. Poultry Science. 92(11): 3003-3009.

Interpretive Summary: Storing meat in a freezer is the most economical and safe preservation method. The frozen meat very often goes through thawing and cooking before consumption. However, in the research, the frozen meat is sometimes cooked directly from a frozen state. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of these two cooking methods on quality of cooked chicken breast meat. Our results showed no differences in flavor of cooked chicken breast meat between these two cooking methods. However, the breast meat cooked directly from the frozen state lost more water during cooking and was perceived more cohesive and harder than the meat cooked after thawing. These results demonstrate that cooked breast meat will taste the same no matter the meat is cooked from a frozen state or after thawing. The meat that goes through thawing before cooking has better texture quality and higher cook yield.

Technical Abstract: Four replications were conducted to compare quality measurements, cook loss, shear force, and sensory quality profiles of cooked broiler breast meat (pectoralis major) prepared directly from a frozen state and prepared after freeze/thaw. In each replication, fresh broiler fillets (removed from carcasses 6-8 h postmortem) were procured from a local commercial processing plant and stored in a -20C freezer until use. On the sensory evaluation date, the fillets were either cooked directly from the frozen state or after the frozen samples were thawed at a refrigerator (2C) overnight. Both samples were cooked to an endpoint temperature of 78C. Cook loss and Warner-Bratzler (WB) shear force were measured as indicators for meat water-holding capacity and texture. Sensory quality was evaluated by trained descriptive panelists using 0-15 universal intensity scales for 7 texture and 10 flavor attributes. Our results show that there were no differences (p>0.05) for sensory descriptive flavor attributes of cooked fillets between the two sample preparation methods, indicating that the sensory flavor profiles of both methods were similar to each other. However, WB shear force (32.3 Newton), cook loss (21.2%), sensory texture attributes cohesiveness (intensity score was 5.2) and hardness (4.9) of the breast fillets cooked directly from the frozen state were significantly higher (p<0.05) than those of the breast meat cooked after being thawed (27.4 Newton, 19.0%, 4.9, 4.6, and 5.3, respectively). Principal component analysis of the sensory analysis data shows that meat samples cooked directly from the frozen state was closely associated with most of sensory descriptive attributes and close to each other compared with the freeze/thaw samples. These results indicate that the sample preparation methods used to cook frozen broiler breast fillets can result in different measurement values of cook loss, shear force, and sensory descriptive texture attributes. Compared with the freeze/thaw sample preparation method, cooking from a frozen state retains better sensory characteristics and reduces sensory measurement variations.