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An investigation into improving the product quality in hot boned beef

Project start date: 30 March 2018
Project end date: 20 September 2018
Publication date: 20 May 2019
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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This study tested post-slaughter processing methods that can improve the tenderization of hot boned striploin.  Because it is more economically beneficial, hot boning is commonly used for the grinding market as it often results in poorer meat quality and tenderness.

The study tested a partial hot boning method where the short loin section was removed from the hot carcass and chilled. The striploin remained in the skeletal system. This cutting method could be a possible automation point, where hot boning plants could use DEXA systems to drive robots, allowing more benefit of DEXA than just lean meat yield values. This study also tested the tenderization benefit of dry aging in Bos Indicus cattle.
The partial hot boning treatment resulted in greater tenderization without aging compared to hot boned striploin, as measured by Warner Bratzer Shear force (WBSF). However, optimized electrical stimulation was a requirement for these improvements.

These results also suggest that the partial cutting treatment produced better tenderization than the conventionally hung carcasses, likely due to the increased ability to manipulate pH/temp declines. After aging, for 14 and 28 days, all treatments improved, although the improvement in WBSF for the partial treatment was less as aging increased, suggesting that this method has the most benefit for short aging periods. No treatment impacted on sarcomere length, and the hot boned product was observed to have the least purge during aging. These results suggest that under conditions of optimised pH decline, some level of muscular restraint is required to optimise WBSF, which may be achieved without excessive moisture loss.
Dry aging of hot boned striploin resulted in further increases in tenderness at 28 days of aging compared to that of wet-aged product. This treatment reduced shear force by 9N. Thus, the decrease in costs associated with hot boning could offset the cost of dry aging, while value-adding to the striploin through improved tenderization.

Dry aging is a process that results in a large volume of trim loss, especially in a striploin primal. Although the partial cutting treatment was not dry-aged in the current study, it would likely be associated with less trim, since the surface area exposed to air is less.

Further research is required to test if these favourable WBSF values translate to improvements in consumer perception. With the current political climate looking as though live trade could slow down, many northern cattle producers could start looking at the viability of local slaughter. Since there is no increase in the domestic demand for ground product, yet a greater supply in cattle typically used for this market, options for value-adding and improving eating quality will be sought.

Alternatively, applying this scenario in a robotic system that automates the partial boning of the striploin should deliver meat with tenderness that matches that of conventionally hung carcases, however this would need to be tested in the commercial environment.

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Primary researcher: Murdoch University