New technology for browning goatmeat

04 January 2016

Browned or ‘flamed’ goatmeat products, such as heads and feet (shanks), are an important value-added export product for Australia’s goat industry, improving product utilisation and increasing offal recovery.

The process of browning is a traditional method of preparing animal carcases for consumption, particularly in Caribbean cultures.

Traditionally the animal would be slaughtered and the carcase placed on an open fire to singe the hair, thereby removing it. The skin would remain as a ‘toasted’ outer layer to the meat and help preserve the meat prior to portioning for cooking. This process imparts a smoky flavour in the meat, which is now sought in these cultures as it is considered to be a traditional flavour.

Current workplace and food safety regulations do not permit the process to be performed in modern meat processing facilities in commercial volumes. To overcome this, browning is currently undertaken by hanging heads on a stainless steel skid and rail system and placing feet on a rotating rack, and then manually browning the skin using a hand-held gas blow torch, rotating the cuts as required to achieve even browning. This process is labour intensive and physically demanding, with safety risks associated with exposure to heat and flame. The final product may also lack product consistency.

A recent research project undertaken by the MLA Donor Company (which doesn’t use producer levies) and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation investigated the development of a customised gas furnace to ensure a reliable, consistent outcome together with processing efficiency and reduced workplace safety risks.

A specialist industrial oven manufacturer, Wesmartin Leonda, was engaged to develop and build a suitable furnace for trial at Western Meat Exporters in Charleville, Queensland.

The furnace specifications include:

  • conveyor/rail speed adjustment to allow variation of the processing speed
  • gas/flame adjustment to allow variation of browning
  • adequate ventilation
  • ability to clean effectively
  • suitable waste storage and drainage.

The furnace has been used at the plant for more than 12 months.

The furnace is now commercially available. There are seven plants in Australia supplying, or potentially supplying, this product to export markets in the US, the Caribbean, Taiwan and other countries in Asia.

This technology will assist with greater carcase utilisation and to meet growing demand for browned product.

Further information

The final project report is available from the MLA website

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