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Since it is expected that consumers will pay more for beef, the outstanding ﬂavor of beef must be maintained and/or improved in order to keep the beef consumers continually satisﬁed. Importance of beef ﬂavor in the marketplace is underscored by the fact that consumers’ ﬂavor preferences are reﬂected in beef purchase decisions (Sitz et al., 2005).
Very recent research sponsored by Beef Checkoﬀ funds demonstrated that diﬀerences in steak thickness, cooking method, cooking temperature, and cooking rate inﬂuence overall eating satisfaction of steaks and beef ﬂavor (Shubert, 2015). Therefore, the present study evaluated the eﬀects of cooking temperature and degree of doneness as major contributors to steak tenderness and ﬂavor development, as well as quantifying compositional changes that occurred as a result of cooking. Findings of this research should help with development of an optimized set of cooking procedures to improve the steak eating experience.
A total of 20 combinations of cooking temperature and degree of doneness were evaluated. Steaks were used as the experimental unit, and treatments were applied to individual steaks. Treatments were assigned to n= 30 replicates over steaks obtained from 90 carcasses. Strip loins were paired and sliced producing a total of 24 steaks per carcass. Steaks were cooked at a randomly assigned oven temperature until it reached an internal peak temperature. Following cooking procedures, each steak was cut into 3 layers (surface, middle, and center), and layers were composited for further analysis. Each layer was analyzed for proximate composition, collagen content, and volatile ﬂavor compounds.
The results obtained indicate that cooking rate (oven temperature) and ﬁnal internal temperature (degree of doneness) have signiﬁcant inﬂuences on collagen content, proximate composition and volatile ﬂavor compounds. Compositional changes as a result of cooking method will help to explain observed sensory diﬀerences in previous studies. The sensory performance of beef is signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced by cookery.
Recent consumer research and the most recently conducted National Beef Quality Audit continue to indicate that beef ﬂavor is a fundamental driver for beef demand. Additionally, recently completed research aimed at steak cookery method has identiﬁed that production practices, speciﬁcally days on feed and breed type, considerably inﬂuence the ﬂavor attributes of beef. Even further, muscle to muscle diﬀerences also inﬂuence the ﬂavor of beef. Results of the current study further explain factors inﬂuencing beef ﬂavor. These data can be used as a tool by the foodservice industry to assess the sensory attributes that varying cooking rate and degree of doneness combinations possess in order to adequately select a cooking method that ﬁts their needs to create a combination that has the greatest chance of delivering the consumer a satisfactory eating experience.
Figure 1. Principal component analysis based on volatile compounds from cooked steaks to multiple degrees of doneness using varied oven temperatures.