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Assessment of Postmortem Aging Effects on Texas-style Barbecue Beef Briskets



Palatability traits (tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall liking) of beef briskets ( = 48) were evaluated for 3 different postmortem aging period comparisons: 7 d vs. 21 d (Set 1), 21 d vs. 35 d (Set 2), and 7 d vs. 35 d (Set 3). Briskets were prepared as Texas-style barbecue by seasoning with salt and pepper and smoking with oak wood over a long period (approx. 11 h) using a commercial oven designed for such purposes until deemed tender (approx. 85°C internal temperature). Within each treatment set, Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) force measurements did not differ ( > 0.05) between aging days; however, WBS force measurements for point ( composed of the ) were lower ( < 0.05) compared to the flat portions () within each aging set. Consumer panelists did not ( > 0.05) detect differences between aging days within each set for overall liking, flavor liking, tenderness liking, and juiciness liking. Conversely, differences were found between brisket point and flat portions; Set 1 differed for flavor liking (flat > point; = 0.0348) and juiciness liking (point > flat; = 0.0004), Set 2 differed for overall liking (flat > point; = 0.0499) and juiciness liking (point > flat; < 0.0001), and Set 3 differed for overall liking (flat > point; = 0.0296) and juiciness liking (point > flat; = 0.0112). Our findings indicate postmortem aging did not improve beef brisket palatability, but we did note differences between point and flat portions. Preparing beef briskets as Texas-style barbecue resulted in products with low WBS values and high consumer palatability ratings, which helps demonstrate why barbecued briskets are so popular.
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Meat and Muscle Biology™
The demand for beef brisket has increased due to
its rising popularity among Texas Barbecue enthusiasts
(Franklin and Mackay, 2015, Goldwyn and Blonder,
2016, Walsh, 2016). Beyond barbecue, this beef com-
modity is becoming more mainstream in restaurants
where chefs are rening the use of brisket for specialty
ground beef items. Along with these uses, quick service
restaurants and retailers, such as Arby’s and H-E-B,
have empowered the rise in brisket consumption by
oering specialty sandwiches and products that go be-
yond the traditional hamburger. Therefore, it is impor-
tant for the beef industry to explore options for adding
value to brisket by better understanding and/or enhanc-
ing its avor, juiciness, and tenderness; all important
aspects for pit masters, chefs, retailers, and consumers.
A Canadian study evaluated the palatability charac-
teristics of 33 beef muscles and found that the overall
tenderness ratings for point (Mm. pectorales super-
ciales: M. pectoralis transversus and M. pectoralis
descendens or more simply known as the supercial
pectoral) and at (M. pectoralis profundus or deep pec-
toral) portions that make up the brisket, were ranked
by a trained sensory panel as 2 of the least tender of
the muscles studied (Jeremiah et al., 2003). In addi-
Assessment of Postmortem Aging Effects on
Texas-style Barbecue Beef Briskets
McKensie K. Harris, Ray R. Riley, Ashley N. Arnold, Rhonda K. Miller,
Davey B. Grifn, Kerri B. Gehring, and Jeffrey W. Savell*
Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*Corresponding author. Email: (J. Savell)
Abstract: Palatability traits (tenderness, juiciness, avor, and overall liking) of beef briskets (n = 48) were evaluated for 3 dif-
ferent postmortem aging period comparisons: 7 d vs. 21 d (Set 1), 21 d vs. 35 d (Set 2), and 7 d vs. 35 d (Set 3). Briskets were
prepared as Texas-style barbecue by seasoning with salt and pepper and smoking with oak wood over a long period (approx.
11 h) using a commercial oven designed for such purposes until deemed tender (approx. 85°C internal temperature). Within
each treatment set, Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) force measurements did not dier (P > 0.05) between aging days; however,
WBS force measurements for point (Mm. pectorales superciales composed of the M. pectoralis transversus and M. pectoralis
descendens) were lower (P < 0.05) compared to the at portions (M. pectorals profundus) within each aging set. Consumer
panelists did not (P > 0.05) detect dierences between aging days within each set for overall liking, avor liking, tenderness
liking, and juiciness liking. Conversely, dierences were found between brisket point and at portions; Set 1 diered for avor
liking (at > point; P = 0.0348) and juiciness liking (point > at; P = 0.0004), Set 2 diered for overall liking (at > point; P =
0.0499) and juiciness liking (point > at; P < 0.0001), and Set 3 diered for overall liking (at > point; P = 0.0296) and juiciness
liking (point > at; P = 0.0112). Our ndings indicate postmortem aging did not improve beef brisket palatability, but we did
note dierences between point and at portions. Preparing beef briskets as Texas-style barbecue resulted in products with low
WBS values and high consumer palatability ratings, which helps demonstrate why barbecued briskets are so popular.
Keywords: aging, beef, brisket, consumer panels, warner-bratzler shear force
Meat and Muscle Biology 1:46–52 (2017) doi:10.22175/mmb2017.01.0003
Submitted 9 Jan. 2017 Accepted 30 Mar. 2017
Funded, in part, by the Beef Checkoff. Special thanks go to
Southside Market and Barbeque of Elgin, Texas for graciously
providing cooking facilities and expertise for this project.
Published online June 15, 2017
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
tion, there have been multiple studies that have evalu-
ated tenderness of beef brisket by Warner-Bratzler Shear
(WBS) force (Belew et al., 2003, Johnson et al., 1988,
Ramsbottom et al., 1945). In one of the earliest studies
characterizing muscles in the beef carcass, Ramsbottom
et al. (1945) ranked muscles from most to least tender,
with the deep and supercial pectoral muscles falling
in the bottom 25% for shear force and organoleptic rat-
ings. This same study identied the deep pectoral as be-
ing more tender than the supercial pectoral, whereas
Johnson et al. (1988) found the supercial pectoral to be
more tender than the deep pectoral. A more recent study
conducted by Belew et al. (2003) utilized the tenderness
threshold identied by Shackelford et al. (1991) to clas-
sify various muscles as “very tough,” “tough,” “interme-
diate,” “tender,” and “very tender” based on WBS force
measurements. The supercial pectoral was classied as
“tender,” whereas the deep pectoral was categorized as
“tough” (Belew et al., 2003). Previous studies examining
the muscles comprising the brisket have reported con-
icting results, showing great variability in WBS force
values and tenderness rankings.
Not only has historical research classied muscles
based on palatability attributes, but it has also identied
useful ways in improving the eating experience of beef.
Research has shown that tenderness is 1 of the 3 most im-
portant factors in beef eating quality (Legako et al., 2016),
and can be improved through postmortem aging (Calkins
and Seideman, 1988, Doty and Pierce, 1961, Eilers et
al., 1996, Smith et al., 1978). Although most researchers
have conducted studies on tenderness for “middle meats”
and muscles from the round, there has been limited work
evaluating the postmortem aging eect on other muscle
groups such as those comprising the brisket. Smith et al.
(1978) found the deep and supercial pectoral muscles
to achieve maximum postmortem tenderization after 5 d
and 28 d, respectively. Thus, there is a possibility of elic-
iting changes in palatability characteristics that would
add value to the previously considered “tough” brisket.
Cookery method is one of multiple factors that
can impact the tenderness of beef. Smith et al. (1978)
prepared beef samples by roasting to an internal tem-
perature of 75°C in an electric oven. Belew et al.
(2003) cooked brisket steaks to 70°C on a at-top grill.
Thus, data from previous studies should be evaluated
with cooking dierence in mind. Palatability of tra-
ditional Texas-style smoked briskets that are cooked
at low temperatures (93.3°C to 121.1°C) for extend-
ed lengths of time (8 to 12 h) (Franklin and Mackay,
2015, Goldwyn and Blonder, 2016, Walsh, 2016) has
not been evaluated. The current study was designed
to evaluate the eect of postmortem aging periods on
Texas-style smoked briskets. Determination of post-
mortem aging eects on the palatability of briskets
could provide the opportunity to add value and pro-
mote more eective merchandising of beef briskets.
Materials and Methods
Consumer panel procedures were approved by the
Texas A&M Institutional Review Board (IRB2015–
Product collection
Twenty-four A-maturity, yield grade 1 to 4 beef car-
casses with small, modest, or moderate marbling (USDA,
2016a) and carcass weights ranging from 320.0 kg to
438.4 kg were selected 48 h postmortem at a commer-
cial harvest and processing facility for use in this study.
Carcasses were selected by trained individuals who esti-
mated the amount of intramuscular fat (marbling) at the
12th and 13th rib interface along with lean color and skel-
etal ossication (USDA, 2016a). Paired, untrimmed beef
briskets, deckle-on, boneless (IMPS 119), as described
by USDA (2010), were removed from each of the select-
ed carcasses. Briskets (n = 48) then were vacuum pack-
aged, boxed, stored under refrigerated conditions, and
transported to the Texas A&M Rosenthal Meat Science
and Technology Center (College Station, TX).
Treatment assignment and storage
Upon receipt, each pair of briskets was assigned to 1
of 3 aging period comparison sets: 7 versus 21 d (Set 1);
21 versus 35 d (Set 2); and 7 versus 35 d (Set 3). Briskets
from 1 carcass side were assigned to a consistent age day
treatment within each set. The pack date was identied
as Day 0 for all aging periods. Briskets were aged under
refrigerated conditions (2°C to 4°C) for each designated
treatment length. After each aging period, briskets were
frozen (–40°C) and stored (–10°C) for a minimum of 5 d.
Raw product preparation
Briskets were thawed (2°C to 4°C) for 5 to 6 d. Thawed
briskets were unpackaged, deckle fat was removed, and
sternum and external fat were trimmed to 0.64 cm to cre-
ate a deckle-o, boneless brisket (IMPS 120) as described
by USDA (2010). Trimmed briskets were weighed (Table
1), and a seasoning mix consisting of 89 g Morton’s Kosher
Salt (Grand Saline, TX) and 42 g 16-mesh coarse ground
black pepper (REO Spice and Seasoning, Huntsville, TX)
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
was applied to all surfaces of each brisket. Briskets were
held in insulated containers, transported (~132 km) to
Southside Market and Barbeque (Elgin, TX), and cooked
using typical commercial methods.
After initial internal raw brisket temperatures were
recorded, briskets were spaced evenly on one of six
racks in an Oyler Barbecue Pit (J&R Manufacturing,
Inc., Mesquite, TX) and smoked using oak wood at a
pit temperature of 98.8°C for approximately 11 h. As
brisket internal temperatures approached the doneness
threshold (approx. 85°C internal temperature), an ex-
perienced pit master assessed each brisket manually
for pliability as an indicator that the desired level of
tenderness had been achieved. Final internal tempera-
tures were recorded before nished briskets were re-
moved from the pit, weighed, wrapped in peach treat-
ed butcher paper (Norpak, Newark, NJ) and stored in
an insulated container for transport to the Texas A&M
University sensory facilities (College Station). Brisket
weights and cooking data are reported in Table 1.
Sensory evaluation
Cooked briskets were held in the insulated contain-
ers for approximately 2 h, which included transporta-
tion and staging before the sensory panels. Ten minutes
before serving, briskets were taken out of the insulated
containers and the peach paper wrapping was removed.
A knife was used to separate the point from at portion
at the most posterior edge of the hard sternum fat. Each
portion was rewrapped in a new sheet of peach paper
and held in an oven (Alto-Shaam, Milwaukee, WI) set
at 93.3°C until subsequent slicing and serving.
Slicing varied for each portion. The point portion
was divided in half with a knife cut starting at the apex
of the brisket (cranial end) and continuing to the cut
face (perpendicular to the point/at separation). The
half furthest from the hard sternum fat (craniodorsal
half) was used to remove a 2.54 cm thick slice (from
the cut surface) for WBS force, followed by six sub-
sequent center cut slices, each 1.27 cm thick and 12.7
cm wide. Slices from the at portion were removed
according to the following: the rst slice (2.54 cm
thick), destined for WBS force, was removed at the in-
terface of point/at separation; 6 subsequent center cut
slices 1.27 cm thick and 12.7 cm wide (accomplished
by removing 2 equidistant ends to make a center cut
slice) were separated. Prepared slices from each por-
tion destined for consumer evaluation were placed on
individually labeled, clear serving plates and served
to consumer panelists. A plastic knife and fork were
provided with each sample to assist in sample tasting.
The panel was conducted at the Kleberg Animal
and Food Sciences Center at Texas A&M University
(College Station). Panelists (n = 83) were recruited
from the Bryan/College Station area via electronic
survey. Compensation in the amount of $25 USD
was awarded to all panelists who completed the study.
Before beginning each session, panelists were given
verbal instructions and asked to complete a consent
form, demographics survey (Table 2), and a meat con-
sumption questionnaire (Table 3). Panelists then were
seated in individual testing booths equipped with red
theater gel lights. Samples were served warm, in a ran-
dom order, and identied with random 3-digit codes.
Nabisco Unsalted Tops Premium Saltine Crackers
(Kraft Foods Global, Inc., East Hanover, NJ) and dou-
ble distilled, deionized water were provided to panel-
ists to cleanse their palate between samples. Panelists
were asked to evaluate brisket slice attributes based on
a 9-point scale. Attributes included: overall liking (1 =
dislike extremely; 9 = like extremely), avor liking (1 =
dislike extremely; 9 = like extremely), juiciness liking
(1 = dislike extremely; 9 = like extremely), and tender-
ness liking (1 = dislike extremely; 9 = like extremely).
Warner Bratzler shear force
Single slices taken from the point and at portions
of each cooked brisket were placed in a single layer
on a plastic tray, covered with plastic wrap and stored
(2°C to 4°C) for 12 h. Slices were equilibrated to room
temperature before being trimmed of bark (exterior
crust formed during cooking), visible fat, and heavy
connective tissue to expose muscle ber orientation.
Six cores, 1.27 cm in diameter, were removed parallel
to the muscle ber for testing. Each core was sheared
once perpendicular to the muscle ber on a United
Testing machine (United SSTM-500, Huntington
Table 1. Means and standard deviations for weights,
cook yield, temperatures, and cook duration of briskets
Parameter n1Mean SD
Raw weight (kg) 48 5.60 0.75
Cooked weight (kg) 48 3.51 0.51
Cook yield (%) 48 62.60 2.01
Initial raw temperature (°C) 48 3.03 0.73
Final cooked temperature (°C) 48 85.42 2.28
Cook duration (h) 39 11.00 0.58
1Number of briskets evaluated.
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
Beach, CA) at a cross-head speed of 200 mm/min us-
ing a 10.0 kg load cell and a 1.02-cm-thick V-shape
blade with a 60° angle and a half-round peak. The
peak force needed to shear each core was recorded,
and the average of the six cores was used for analysis.
Statistical analysis
Data were analyzed using the PROC GLM func-
tion of SAS (v9.3; SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, NC) with ɑ
< 0.05. Data were analyzed so that only aging treat-
ments within carcass were evaluated and carcass was
included as a xed eect. Therefore, 3 analyses were
conducted that compared 7 d versus 21 d aging, 21 d
versus 35 d aging, and 7 d versus 35 d aging. Main ef-
fects included in the model were aging time, portion
(at versus point) and their interaction. Least squares
means were calculated and were separated using the
PDIFF option (P < 0.05) where appropriate.
Results and Discussion
Warner-Bratzler shear force
There were no interactions (P > 0.05) between ag-
ing treatment and portion for WBS values (data not
reported in tabular form). Least squares means for
WBS force values for Set 1, 2, and 3 main eects are
Table 2. Demographic summary of consumer
panelists (n = 83)
Demographic n1%
Male 40 48
Female 43 52
20 yr or younger 5 6
21 to 25 yr 23 28
26 to 35 yr 18 22
36 to 45 yr 7 8
46 to 55 yr 11 13
56 to 65 yr 9 11
66 yr and older 10 12
Working status
Not employed 11 12
Part-time 12 13
Full-time 33 37
Student 33 37
Annual household income
Below $25,000 17 20
$25,001 to 49,999 14 17
$50,000 to 74,999 17 20
$75,000 to 99,999 13 16
$100,000 or more 22 27
Ethic background
White 71 86
Hispanic 10 12
Asian or Pacic Islander 1 1
Black 1 1
American Indian 0 0
Other 0 0
1Number of responses.
Table 3. Meat consumption prole of consumer
panelists (n = 83)
Meat consumption pattern n1%
Meat consumption
Yes 82 99
No 1 1
Type of meat consumption
Beef 83 100
Pork 82 99
Chicken 83 100
Fish 77 93
Frequency of beef consumption
Daily 7 8
5 or more times per wk 18 22
3 or more times per wk 40 48
Once per wk 16 19
Once every 2 wk 1 1
Less than once every 2 wk 1 1
Frequency of beef consumption
At home
None 2 3
Once weekly 20 25
Twice weekly 26 33
3 times weekly 18 23
4 times weekly 7 9
5 or more times weekly 7 9
At a restaurant
None 3 4
Once weekly 40 49
Twice weekly 20 25
3 times weekly 7 9
4 times weekly 7 9
5 or more times weekly 4 5
Preferred degree of doneness
Rare 3 4
Medium rare 21 25
Medium 6 7
Medium well 38 45
Well done 17 20
Type of beef purchased
Grass-fed 11 12
Traditional 71 75
Aged 6 6
Organic 7 7
1Number of responses.
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
reported in Table 4. Though briskets aged for a greater
number of days were not more tender (P > 0.05) than
those aged for fewer days, all WBS force values fell
well within the “very tender” threshold (< 31.38 N) as
dened by Belew et al. (2003).
For all treatment comparison sets, point portions
had lower (P < 0.05) WBS force values than at por-
tions, regardless of length of age (Table 4). This is
consistent with the ndings of Belew et al. (2003) and
Johnson et al. (1988). In contrast, Ramsbottom et al.
(1945) reported the at as having lower shear force
values than the point. This inconsistency could be at-
tributed to the varying cook methods and postmortem
aging durations among these studies. Ramsbottom et al.
(1945) cooked the brisket portions in lard to an inter-
nal temperature of 76.7°C, and Johnson et al. (1988)
cooked briskets to 70°C in a water bath. In contrast, we
used a commercial pit barbecue smoker to cook product
to approximately 85°C. Additionally, the briskets eval-
uated by Ramsbottom et al. (1945) and Johnson et al.
(1988) were aged 5 d and 21 d, respectively, compared
to the 7 d, 21 d, and 35 d aging periods we used. These
factors created dierences among the studies that are
important to consider when comparing results.
Consumer sensory evaluations
There were no (P > 0.05) interactions between ag-
ing treatment and portion for the consumer sensory
traits for any of the 3 sets (data not presented in tabu-
lar form). Least squares means for rankings in over-
all liking, avor liking, tenderness liking, and juici-
ness liking for Set 1, 2, and 3 are reported in Table 5.
Consumer ratings did not dier (P > 0.05) between ag-
ing treatments within each comparison set. However,
consumers did detect dierences (P < 0.05) between
point and at portions within each comparison.
Overall liking ratings were greater for the at com-
pared to the point sections in Set 2 (P = 0.0499) and
Set 3 (P = 0.0296). Flavor liking ratings for at por-
tions within Set 1 were higher (P = 0.0348) than point
portions, although there were no (P > 0.05) avor at-
tribute dierences found for the 2 portions in sets 2
and 3. Jeremiah et al. (2003) found the point and at
portion avor intensity and desirability ratings to reside
between 4 and 6 on a 9-point hedonic scale, and the
at portion had higher scores than the point. The val-
ues in the past study were still lower and less desirable
than the values found in our study. In addition, there are
multiple inuences on avor in beef, one in particular
being lipid type, amount, and composition (Wood et al.,
2004). With regards to lipid type and amount, Mason et
al. (2009) dissected point and at portions of the brisket
to determine the percentages of external fat, seam fat,
and extractable fat, nding the at portion had a higher
percent fat and lower percent lean when compared to
the point. In addition, the USDA’s National Nutrient
Database for Standard Reference (USDA, 2016b) gives
information on total lipid within each portion; on a raw
basis, the at portion has a higher fat content (22.18
g/100 g vs. 20.98 g/100 g) than the point. However, this
is reversed on a cooked basis. Both resources show that
there is variability in the fat content of the point and
at portions of beef brisket. Further studies should be
conducted on the lipid composition of the point and at
portions and how this pertains to consumer preferences
Table 4. Least squares means and SE for WBS force
values obtained from each set comparison for aging
treatment and brisket portion
Aging treatment and
brisket portion comparison
WBS force (N)
Set 1
7 d 16 19.27
21 d 16 18.14
SEM 1.01
P-value 0.4396
Flat 16 23.20
Point 16 14.21
SEM 1.01
P-value < 0.0001
Set 2
21 d 16 16.92
35 d 16 17.60
SEM 1.06
P-value 0.6543
Flat 16 22.05
Point 16 12.47
SEM 1.06
P-value < 0.0001
Set 3
7 d 16 17.99
35 d 16 17.16
SEM 0.93
P-value 0.5297
Flat 16 22.95
Point 16 12.20
SEM 0.93
P-value < 0.0001
1Number of observations evaluated.
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
of each; this may help clarify the dierences found in
our study for avor like/dislike.
Surprisingly, there were no (P > 0.05) tenderness
liking dierences detected among the point and at
portions in any of the set comparisons, even though
there were WBS value dierences between the por-
tions. Because the WBS force values fell below the
“very tender” threshold dened by Belew et al. (2003),
it may be that consumers were unable to detect slight
dierences in tenderness ratings between samples. In
comparison, Jeremiah et al. (2003), using a trained
sensory panel and a nine-point scale, found the ten-
derness rankings for both portions of the brisket to be
slightly lower (~5.5 to 6.0) than what we found.
Finally, it is interesting to note consumers pre-
ferred (P < 0.05) the juiciness of point portions as
compared to at portions in all three comparison sets,
paralleling what was found by Jeremiah et al. (2003).
Interestingly, the preference in point portion juiciness
seen in Set 2 and Set 3 did not drive overall like or
dislike preferences, as ats obtained higher rankings
in this category. This nding may indicate that con-
sumers preferred samples from the leaner at portion,
even though they gave higher ratings for specic traits
to samples from the point portion.
Although there were similarities between results
from our study and those from Jeremiah et al. (2003),
the dierences seen are most likely attributable to the
dierence in sample preparation. Jeremiah et al. (2003)
roasted 6 d aged 1 kg roasts in an electric convection
oven to 72°C; a method very dierent than smoking to
higher temperatures (approx. 85°C) for longer times
(~11 h). It may be that cooking technique has a large ef-
fect on palatability for muscles such as those that make
up the brisket. Furthermore, dierences in sensory pan-
el type could contribute to the diering results; a trained
consumer panel was utilized by Jeremiah et al. (2003),
whereas a consumer panel was used in our study.
Signicant aging treatment dierences were not
found for the objective (WBS force) and subjective (con-
sumer sensory panel) techniques used to assess palatabil-
ity attributes. Therefore, if smoked briskets are prepared
using a Texas-style barbecue method, cooking at low
temperatures for long durations of time, no added palat-
ability benets would be achieved through using prod-
uct with extended postmortem aging periods. However,
based on WBS force and consumer dierences detected
between point and at portions, pit masters and barbecue
enthusiasts may nd value in buying individual muscle
pieces or marketing the 2 portions individually.
In addition, despite previous studies that ranked
the brisket point and at portion as being tough cuts/
muscles, this study revealed there is an advantage to
preparing briskets Texas-style, as the WBS force values
fell well below the thresholds determined as “very ten-
der” by previous studies, and palatability ratings were
relatively high on average (6 and 7 on 9-point scale).
Table 5. Least squares means and SEM for consumer
sensory rankings of beef palatability attributes for Sets
11, 21, and 31 stratied by aging treatment and brisket
portion main eects
Aging treatment
and brisket por-
tion comparison
Set 1
7 d 16 6.3 6.6 6.2 6.0
21 d 16 6.9 6.9 6.8 6.5
SEM 0.21 0.18 0.28 0.23
P-value 0.0818 0.1728 0.1456 0.1393
Flat 16 6.8 7.0a 6.2 5.6b
Point 16 6.4 6.5b 6.9 6.9a
SEM 0.21 0.18 0.28 0.23
P-value 0.1807 0.0348 0.0864 0.0004
Set 2
21 d 16 6.4 6.9 6.7 6.6
35 d 16 6.9 7.3 7.0 6.6
SEM 0.24 0.19 0.26 0.19
P-value 0.1381 0.1073 0.5269 0.8533
Flat 16 7.0a 7.4 6.7 5.8b
Point 16 6.3b 6.8 7.1 7.3a
SEM 0.24 0.19 0.26 0.19
P-value 0.0499 0.0602 0.2571 < .0001
Set 3
7 d 16 6.8 7.1 6.8 6.6
35 d 16 6.4 6.8 6.7 6.4
SEM 0.22 0.22 0.24 0.22
P-value 0.1719 0.3031 0.6498 0.4669
Flat 16 7.0a 7.2 6.5 6.1b
Point 16 6.2b 6.7 6.9 6.9a
SEM 0.22 0.22 0.24 0.22
P-value 0.0296 0.1028 0.2285 0.0112
1Set 1: 7 d versus 21 d aging; Set 2: 21 d versus 35 d aging; Set 3: 7 d
versus 35 d aging.
2Number of observations evaluated.
3Rankings were assigned based on a nine-point hedonic scale for each
attribute (1 = dislike extremely and 9 = like extremely).
Meat and Muscle Biology 2017, 1:46–52 Harris et al. Postmortem Aging Effects on Beef Briskets
American Meat Science Association.
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... Specifically, the brisket has been overlooked as a marketable product from the chuck due to its unacceptability as a steak (Kukowski et al., 2004). With the current demand of beef brisket increasing due to barbecue enthusiasts, it is important for the beef industry to keep finding ways to add value to their products (Harris et al., 2017). Smoking briskets via the "low and slow" cooking methodwhereby briskets are cooked at low temperatures ranging from 225°F (107°C) to 300°F (149°C) for several hours until reaching the desired well-done endpoint temperature for briskets of approximately 200°F (93°C) (Raichlen, 2016)-not only adds value to the carcass but provides a more enjoyable eating experience for consumers. ...
... Palatability differences were observed between muscles in the current study, which was likely influenced by compositional differences. Harris et al. (2017), who similarly utilized a low and slow cookery method for briskets, also detected some differences between point and flat portions; however, those differences were not all consistent with the current findings. In agreement with the current results, juiciness was greater in point than flat portions in all 3 sets of comparisons (7-vs. ...
... In contrast to the current findings, flavor liking was greater in the flat than point portions in 1 out the 3 sets, and overall liking was greater in the flat than point portions in 2 out the 3 sets. Tenderness like did not differ between muscle portions (Harris et al., 2017). Harris et al. (2017) believed consumers may actually prefer samples from the leaner flat portion, despite greater juiciness in the point portions, thus resulting in greater overall like for the flat portions. ...
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to investigate differences in smoked beef brisket palatability from 3 USDA quality grades (USDA Prime, average [middle 1/3] Choice, and Select). Briskets (n = 54; 18 per quality grade) were seasoned with a blend of 1:1 coarse salt/black pepper, and then cooked in a smoker to a final internal temperature of 93°C for approximately 6 to 7 h. For sensory analysis, briskets were separated into point (pectoralis superficialis) and flat (pectoralis profundus) portions and then sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers. Consumer panelists (N = 360) evaluated palatability traits, acceptability of each trait, and willingness to pay (WTP). An interaction between quality grade and muscle was observed (P ≤ 0.03) for all palatability traits, proportion of acceptable samples, and WTP. Consumers could not distinguish among quality grades of the point portions for tenderness, juiciness, flavor liking, and overall liking (P > 0.05). Point samples, regardless of quality grade, were scored greater (P < 0.05) than Prime flat samples for all palatability traits. Choice and Select flat samples were scored lesser (P < 0.05) than all other treatment combinations for tenderness, flavor liking, and overall liking. In alignment with palatability traits, consumers’ WTP was greatest for point portions, regardless of quality grade (P < 0.05), followed by Prime flat portions. Choice and Select flat portions had the lowest WTP (P < 0.05). Consumer acceptability of cooked beef brisket generally followed similar trends as palatability scores. Quality grade had no effect on the eating quality of the point portions of smoked briskets, and point portions received superior palatability scores to flat portions. Prime flat portions had greater eating quality compared to that of Choice and Select flat portions, and consumers had greater WTP for what they perceived as superior eating quality.
... Despite the increase in popularity of brisket beef (pectoralis profundus; Franklin and Mackay, 2015;Harris et al., 2017), there is a dearth of knowledge in the literature on the effects of PUFA supplementation on lipid profiles in brisket beef, carcass conformation, and fat score. Additionally, brisket muscle has a high level of i.m. fat (Troy et al., 2016), with a greater proportion of monounsaturated compared with saturated fat (Smith et al., 2012), making this cut a good candidate for further changing of the FA profile, which could promote health benefits. ...
Full-text available
Objective With increases in the global population, there is a need to identify strategies that increase beef output while maintaining or improving health benefits of beef products. Studies have demonstrated that there are many benefits to human health in response to reducing the dietary ratio of n-6 to n-3. The aim of this study was to characterize the carcass characteristics and brisket muscle fatty acid profile of young dairy-bred bulls following dietary supplementation with n-6 or n-3 PUFA. Materials and Methods Holstein-Friesian (n = 43) and Jersey (n = 7) bulls with a mean ± SEM age and BW of 420.1 ± 5.86 d and 382.0 ± 8.94 kg, respectively, were offered a cereal-based concentrate diet on an ad libitum basis, fortified with 1 of 3 lipid supplements: control (CTL; no supplementary lipid), n-6 PUFA safflower oil (SO), or n-3 PUFA enriched fish oil (FO). Bulls were individually offered their respective diet for 12 wk before slaughter. Carcass weight, conformation, and fat score were recorded at slaughter for all animals. Brisket muscle was collected from 26 randomly selected bulls, and lipid profile was analyzed using gas chromatography. Results and Discussion Total n-3 PUFA concentration was greater for FO than for either SO or CTL diets (P < 0.05). Although there was no difference in the muscle total n-6 concentration between diets (P = 0.52), the ratio of n-6 to n-3 was 3.2 and 3.9 times lower for FO (P < 0.001) than either CTL or SO diets, respectively. Total intake of n-3 PUFA accounted for 72% of the variation in the ratio of n-6 to n-3. Despite the differences in fatty acid profiles, there was no effect of dietary lipid supplementation on carcass weight (P = 0.63), conformation (P = 0.79), or fat score (P = 0.84). Implications and Applications Beef producers can feed diets enriched with n-6 and n-3 PUFA, which would result in beef having potential health benefits and greater branding potential.
This study was conducted to compare the relative importance of Ca-dependent protease (CDP) and cathepsins B and H to meat tenderness and changes in tenderness in response to postmortem cooler aging. Charolais bulls (n = 8) and steers (n = 7) were slaughtered at 15 mo of age, and total activities of CDP-I (a protease with neutral pH optimum that requires micromolar amounts of Ca for activity) and cathepsins B and H (lysosomal proteases with acidic pH optima) were determined within 1 h. Shear-force values were obtained after 1, 3, 6, 9 and 14 d of aging. Data were pooled when analysis of variance revealed no differences between bulls and steers. Initial shear force was correlated (r = -.71, P < .10, n = 7) to CDP-I activity (only seven animals sampled for CDP-I), and the overall change in shear force (d 1 to d 14) was correlated to cathepsin B (r = .59, P < .05, n = 15). Most of the aging response occurred between d 3 and d 6 (41.6%), and changes in shear force during this period were related to total activities of cathepsins B and H (r = .44, .64, respectively, P < .05). Collectively, cathepsins B and H accounted for 35 and 58% of the variation in shear force change between d I to d 14 and d 3 to d 6, respectively. These data suggest that CDP-I helps to establish initial (d 1) meat tenderness but that cathepsins B and H are responsible for the tenderiza- tion that occurs during aging. By manipulating live animal growth and postmortem handling, it might be possible to control meat tenderness through the actions of these enzyme systems.
Thirty-four muscles/muscle groups, each 0.1 kg or greater, were dissected from each of 16 forequarters to establish a data base of individual muscle traits. Individual muscle yields, tenderness profiles, and chemical analyses indicated the muscles within the forequarter are extremely variable. The Serratus ventralis (SRV), Infraspinatus (INF) and Triceps brachii complex (lateral, long and medial heads, TBT, TBL and TBM, respectively), which are several of the larger muscles/muscle groups within the forequarter, possess tenderness profiles comparable to the Longissimus dorsi (LGD). This study suggests that maximum utilization of the beef forequarter may best be achieved when individual muscles are fabricated and marketed according to their size, tenderness potential and composition.
Threshold Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) values were determined by regression analysis of WBS force values and trained sensory panel overall tenderness ratings of beef top loin steaks from A- and B-maturity carcasses (n = 678). Guidelines for retail and foodservice beef were based on 50 and 68% confidence levels, respectively, for overall tenderness ratings of “slightly tender.” Due to the extreme variation in tenderness that exists in the current U.S. beef population, more stringent confidence levels were not practical. Threshold WBS values for retail and foodservice beef were 4.6 and 3.9 kg, respectively. When these values were tested against the population of beef in the National Consumer Retail Beef Study, the 4.6 kg value was 88.6% accurate at determining whether or not a steak would be rated less than “slightly tender”by consumers.
A market basket survey for beef retail cut composition at the retail level (four stores each from two chains in each city) was conducted in 11 US cities from January to March 2006. Beef cuts (n=17,495) were measured for external fat thickness with cuts from the chuck (0.05cm), round (0.05cm), and miscellaneous (0.04cm) having less (P<0.05) fat than cuts from the loin (0.11cm) and rib (0.11cm). Beef cuts (n=1327) were separated physically into separable components with round cuts having more (P<0.05) separable lean (96.63%) than chuck cuts (86.81%) and miscellaneous cuts (86.18%), which had more (P<0.05) separable lean than loin cuts (84.53%) with rib cuts (69.34%) having the lowest (P<0.05) separable lean. Chemical fat from the separable lean differed (P<0.05) between each cut category: round cuts (3.71%), miscellaneous cuts (4.99%), loin cuts (5.60%), chuck cuts (6.90%), and rib cuts (8.61%). Ground beef samples (n=235), with declared lean/fat percentages ranging from 73/27 to 96/4, had overall chemical fat values of 13.41% and moisture values of 67.42%. This survey documents the current beef retail cut and ground beef composition, which is helpful to those who need this information for various dietary and marketing purposes.
Interest in meat fatty acid composition stems mainly from the need to find ways to produce healthier meat, i.e. with a higher ratio of polyunsaturated (PUFA) to saturated fatty acids and a more favourable balance between n-6 and n-3 PUFA. In pigs, the drive has been to increase n-3 PUFA in meat and this can be achieved by feeding sources such as linseed in the diet. Only when concentrations of α-linolenic acid (18:3) approach 3% of neutral lipids or phospholipids are there any adverse effects on meat quality, defined in terms of shelf life (lipid and myoglobin oxidation) and flavour. Ruminant meats are a relatively good source of n-3 PUFA due to the presence of 18:3 in grass. Further increases can be achieved with animals fed grain-based diets by including whole linseed or linseed oil, especially if this is "protected" from rumen biohydrogenation. Long-chain (C20-C22) n-3 PUFA are synthesised from 18:3 in the animal although docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6) is not increased when diets are supplemented with 18:3. DHA can be increased by feeding sources such as fish oil although too-high levels cause adverse flavour and colour changes. Grass-fed beef and lamb have naturally high levels of 18:3 and long chain n-3 PUFA. These impact on flavour to produce a 'grass fed' taste in which other components of grass are also involved. Grazing also provides antioxidants including vitamin E which maintain PUFA levels in meat and prevent quality deterioration during processing and display. In pork, beef and lamb the melting point of lipid and the firmness/hardness of carcass fat is closely related to the concentration of stearic acid (18:0).
One kilogram roasts from 33 muscles or muscle groups from 25 Canada AA steer carcasses were evaluated for palatability after roasting to 72 °C internal temperature in an electric convection oven preheated to 177 °C. Initial tenderness ranged from moderately tough to tender. All butt tender and tenderloin samples were tender on the first bite, but less than 10% of the rib cap (top and lower portions), deckle point, brisket, and eye of round samples were rated tender on the first bite. Overall tenderness also ranged from moderately tough to tender. All of the tenderloin, butt tender, rib-eye cap, and cross rib samples were rated tender overall, but none of the deckle point samples were rated tender overall. Perceptible connective tissue ranged from slight to moderately abundant. Juiciness ranged from slightly dry to moderately juicy. All of the tenderloin, cross rib cap, rib-eye cap, tri tip, flap meat, short rib, and skirt samples were rated juicy, but 40% or less of the shoulder, eye of round, and loss side samples were rated juicy. Beef flavor intensity ranged from slightly to moderately intense, and flavor desirability ranged from slightly undesirable to moderately desirable. All tenderloin, butt tender, striploin, rib-eye, and cross rib cap samples were rated desirable in overall palatability, but 25% or less of the rib cap (top and lower portions), shank meat, eye of round, brisket, and deckle point samples were rated desirable in overall palatability. To the extent desirability to the panel utilized is representative of consumer acceptance, only the tenderloin, butt tender, rib-eye cap, cross rib, cross rib cap, and rib-eye either met or came close to meeting the Canadian Cattlemen's Association's goal of 95% acceptance based upon palatability. Consequently, effective postmortem intervention techniques or alternative cooking methods must be developed and applied to improve the palatability of most beef muscles, if the aforementioned goal is to be achieved.
Forty muscles from each of 20 beef carcass sides were used to perform Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) force determinations for within and among muscle effects. The M. triceps brachii differed (P <0.05) in WBS values between the caput longum and caput laterale, and the M. gluteobiceps differed (P <0.05) in WBS values between the vertebral, cranial, and caudal portions. The M. trapezius did not differ between the pars cervicalis and pars thoracica. Larger muscles were evaluated for location effects within muscles. The M. pectoralis profundus, M. infraspinatus, M. triceps brachii (caput longum), psoas major, and M. semimembranosus all had significant location effects. Muscles were allocated into "very tender," "tender," "intermediate" or "tough" categories. Those muscles considered "very tender" (WBS <3.2 kg) were the diaphragm (outside skirt or wing of diaphragm), M. spinalis, M. infraspinatus, M. iliacus, M. psoas major, M. serratus ventralis, M. biceps brachii, M. obliquus internus abdominis, and M. vastus medius. Muscles considered "tender" (3.2 kg <WBS <3.9 kg) were the M. tensor fasciae latae, M. pectorales superficiales, M. teres major, M. longissimus lumborum, M. biventer cervicis, M. longissimus thoracis, M. splenius, M. subscapularis, M. rectus femoris, M. gluteus medius, M. gracilis, M. complexus, M. rectus abdominis, M. rhomboideus, and M. triceps brachii. Muscles classified as "intermediate" (3.9 kg <WBS <4.6 kg) were the M. gastrocnemius, M. supraspinatus, M. gluteobiceps, M. obliquus externus abdominis, M. semitendinosus, M. adductor, M. vastus lateralis, M. deltoideus, M. latissimus dorsi, M. transversus abdominis, and M. semimembranosus. Muscles classed as "tough" (WBS > 4.6 kg) were the M. extensor carpi radialis, M. trapezius, M. brachialis, M. pectoralis profundus, and M. flexor digitorum superficialis (hind limb). The diaphragm muscle was the most tender (WBS=2.03 kg), and the M. flexor digitorum superficialis was the toughest (WBS=7.74 kg). Tenderness, as measured by WBS, varied among and within bovine muscles, and knowledge of this variation allows for more appropriate use for specific purposes in the marketplace.