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Improving Beef Shoulder Muscle Tenderness in Hanging

22 June 2013

Alternative pre-rigor foreshank positioning can improve beef shoulder muscle tenderness according to research from West Texas A&M University.

The research by A.L. Grayson and T.E. Lawrence from the Beef Carcass Research Center at West Texas A&M found that pre-rigor foreshank positioning influenced beef shoulder sarcomere and Warner–Bratzler shear force values.

The cranial and natural positioning resulted in the longest sarcomere lengths while the Warner–Bratzler shear force values were not different between positions for four muscles.

In all 30 beef carcases were harvested and the foreshank of each side was independently positioned (cranial, natural, parallel, or caudal) one hour after slaughter to determine the effect of foreshank angle at rigor mortis on the sarcomere length and tenderness of six beef shoulder muscles.

The infraspinatus (IS), pectoralis profundus (PP), serratus ventralis (SV), supraspinatus (SS), teres major (TM) and triceps brachii (TB) were excised 48 hours after slaughter for Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF) and sarcomere length evaluations.

All muscles except the supraspinatus (SS) had altered (P < 0.05) sarcomere lengths between positions; the cranial position resulted in the longest sarcomeres for the serratus ventralis (SV) and triceps brachii (TB) muscles while the natural position had longer sarcomeres for the pectoralis profundus (PP) and teres major (TM) muscles.

The serratus ventralis (SV) from the cranial position had lower (P < 0.05) shear than the caudal position and triceps brachii (TB) from the natural position had lower (P < 0.05) shear than the parallel or caudal positions. Sarcomere length was moderately correlated (r = − 0.63; P < 0.01) to shear force.

The conclusion was that the tenderness of the muscles can be improved by repositioning.

beef shoulder

Pictured are carcase foreshank positions applied pre-rigor (a — foreshank positioned cranially perpendicular to the floor; b — natural position; c — foreshank positioned parallel to floor; d — foreshank positioned caudally > 30°).

The study is published in the September issue of Meat Science.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

 May 2013

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