Massaging and tumbling techniques
To improve the desirable characteristics of meat products massaging and tumbling techniques were developed. Massaging involves frictional energy caused by muscle tissue rubbing other muscles, paddles or metal drum. Tumbling, in addition to frictional energy, involves impact energy incurred as free falling meat strikes other tissues, baffles or a rotating metal drum. Massaging and tumbling techniques employ mechanical agitation to meat tissue aid in rapid diffusion and efficient retention of pickle; promote extraction of salt soluble proteins, thus enhancing the cohesiveness and yield of products. Meat is stitch pumped or cover- cure processed and followed by massaging/ tumbling treatment. Tumbling is generally under vacuum whereas massaging is usually carried out at atmospheric pressure. Tumbling process under vacuum overcomes potential problems of tissue softening and incorporation of air into protein matrix on the meat surface. After tumbling treatment, meat cuts are filled in fibrous casings and cooked in a smoke oven to a core temperature of 75°C or filled in moulds and steam cooked or placed in cans and pasteurized.
Sectioned and formed meats have several advantages over intact cuts: Sectioning and forming allows better compositional control, both from the stand point of amount and distribution of fat. They are more easily adapted to accurate portion control and uniform colour. They generally have lower cooking losses and higher serving yields than a comparable amount of lean meat from intact cuts. They are boneless, easier to slice and serve. They can be readily molded and shaped to meet a particular demand. Cheaper cuts can be utilized in producing attractive bonded products. They can be manufactured so as to resemble higher priced cuts or products. The curing process is accelerated, thereby increasing inventory turnover. Some of the limitations include low quality meat is not improved by using in sectioned and formed meat products. A major investment in equipment is required to produce certain products. Processing requires a high input of both energy and labour. Care must be devoted in development and enforcement of quality control procedures. Special markets must be developed for new products, with emphasis upon promotion and advertising.
Boneless ham rolls: Good quality freshly boned hams or ham pieces are used. Frozen hams after thawing could also be used. Freezing followed by thawing will result in more protein extraction and more fiber disruption which produces greater binding strength. Excess surface fat and seam fat should be separated; any tendons or sinews should be removed; large pieces should be split lengthwise to facilitate curing and shaping. The amount of salt in the brine at 15% pumping is calculated to give 2.25% salt in the finished ham. Brine formula is as follows: Water 80 liters, salt 13 kg, sugar 4.87 kg, phosphate 1.62 kg, ascorbate 360 g and nitrite 100 g.
The brine and ham pieces are added to the tumbler and operated on an intermittent cycle for 18 hours to give 15 min tumbling and 45 min off during each one hour period. By the end of 18 hours all of the brine should be absorbed. The meat is stuffed into fibrous cellulose casings of 12.5 cm. The pieces of meat should be tightly stuffed to force the chunks of meat together so that they will bind during heating.
Cooking, smoking and cooling: A suggested smokehouse schedule normally require about 12 hours for cooking and smoking:
2 hr- 60°C dry bulb, 50°C wet bulb and RH 40%
6 hr- 71°C dry bulb, 54°C wet bulb and RH 40%
4 hr- 80°C dry bulb, 61°C wet bulb and RH 40%
The amount of smoke may vary from none to heavy, depending on market preferences. Cooked and smoked products are chilled to about 1°C before marketing. They may be marketed as whole pieces, cut into smaller sections or sliced and vacuum packaged.
Cook-in-bag cooked ham: These are high yielding hams injected with brine levels between 20to30% and have become the main stream products due to convenience and shelf life (8to10 weeks). Vegetable protein ingredients such as soy protein concentrate or hydrolyzed vegetable protein are most often used in cook-in-bag ham products.