Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Excessive variation in tenderness continues to be a major concern of the U.S. beef industry. To resolve the current beef tenderness problem, meat scientists must be able to assess what factors are contributing to variability in tenderness. This requires the measurement of tenderness on a large number of samples. Thus, there is a growing need for a rapid, accurate, technically simple, objective method of measuring beef tenderness. We developed a rapid, simple technique for measuring beef ribeye tenderness that is slightly more accurate than the traditional methodology. Use of this methodology in basic and applied research or as a part of a total quality management system should facilitate an improvement in beef quality. This, in turn, should result in greater consumer demand for U.S. beef products.
Technical Abstract: Experiments were conducted to develop an optimal protocol for slice shear force (SSF) measurement and to evaluate SSF as an objective method of assessing beef longissimus tenderness. In Exp. 1, longissimus steaks were acquired from 60 beef carcasses to determine the effects of belt grill cooking rate (very rapid vs rapid) and conditions of SSF measurement (hot vs cold) on the relationship of SSF with trained sensory panel (TSP) tenderness rating. Slice shear force was more strongly correlated with TSP tenderness rating when SSF measurement was conducted immediately after cooking (r = -.74 to -.76) than when steaks were chilled (24 h, 4 deg C) before SSF measurement (r = -.57 to -.72). When SSF measurement was conducted immediately after cooking, the relationship of SSF with TSP tenderness rating did not differ among the belt grill cooking protocols used to cook the SSF steak. In Exp. 2, longissimus steaks were acquired from 479 beef carcasses to compare the ability of SSF and Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) of 1.27 cm diameter cores to predict TSP tenderness ratings. Slice shear force was more strongly correlated with sensory panel tenderness rating than was WBSF (r = -.82 vs -.77). In Exp. 3, longissimus steaks were acquired from 110 beef carcasses to evaluate the repeatability (.91) of SSF over a broad range of tenderness. Slice shear force is a more rapid, more accurate, technically less difficult technique than WBSF. Use of the SSF technique could facilitate the collection of more accurate data and should allow the detection of treatment differences with reduced numbers of observations and reduced time requirements, thereby reducing research costs.