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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality & Safety Assessment Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333782

Research Project: Assessment and Improvement of Poultry Meat, Egg, and Feed Quality

Location: Quality & Safety Assessment Research

Title: Impact of eliminating the carcass chilling step in the production of pre-cooked chicken breast meat

Author
item Zhuang, Hong
item Bowker, Brian
item Berrang, Mark
item Meinersmann, Richard - Rick
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2017
Publication Date: 4/28/2017
Citation: Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C., Berrang, M.E., Meinersmann, R.J., Buhr, R.J. 2017. Impact of eliminating the carcass chilling step in the production of pre-cooked chicken breast meat. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 26(3):431-436. doi.org/10.3382/japr/pfx012.

Interpretive Summary: As consumers continue demanding ready-made food products, pre-cooked/fully-cooked poultry meat products are becoming more popular globally. Poultry meat destined for pre-cooked meat products typically undergoes chilling on the carcass and deboning before cooking. However, compared to chill, cooking is much more effective in decontamination of microorganisms and the carcass chilling process is a time-consuming and costly step during meat processing due to high energy and water usage requirements. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of non-chilled chicken fillets (either hot-boned or left intact on carcasses) to replace chilled fillets for pre-cooked products. Results showed that meat texture quality of no cooked non-chilled fillets was similar to that of cooked chilled fillets. Leaving fillets intact on carcasses significantly improved meat tenderness compared to the fillets removed from bones. There were no significant differences in cook yield between non-chilled fillets and chilled fillets. These results demonstrate that non-chilled fillets can be used to replace chilled fillets for pre-cooked chicken breast meat products in commercial practice without adverse effect on the meat texture quality and cook yield. Cooked fillets left intact on carcasses are significantly more tender than cooked boneless fillets.

Technical Abstract: Pre-cooked chicken meat provides convenience to consumers and is growing in popularity globally. Poultry meat destined for pre-cooked meat products typically undergoes chilling on the carcass skeletal frame and deboning before cooking. However, compared to immersion chilling with antimicrobial, cooking is much more effective in destroying microorganisms and cooking after chill requires additional energy usage. The objective of this study was to compare the use of non-chilled chicken fillets (either hot-boned or left intact on carcasses) to chilled fillets for pre-cooked products. Chicken carcasses were collected from the processing line immediately after evisceration. Fillets were either deboned or left intact on carcasses and cooked either directly without prior carcass chilling or deboned and cooked immediately after chilling. The tenderness of cooked products was estimated with blunt Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear. Results showed no difference in shear between cooked non-chilled fillets and cooked chilled fillets regardless of deboning. Leaving fillets intact on carcasses resulted in lower shear compared to deboned fillets regardless of chilling. There were no significant differences in cook yield between non-chilled fillets and chilled fillets. These results demonstrate that compared to chilled fillets, non-chilled fillets can be used for pre-cooked chicken breast meat in commercial practice without adverse effect on the meat tenderness and cook yield. Fillets left intact on carcasses during cooking significantly improve shear of finished products although they would be considered moderately tough and disliked by consumers. Keywords: Hot-boned, Fully-cooked, Pectoralis major; MORS, Broiler carcasses