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Publication numberUS3690901 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 12, 1972
Filing dateJan 12, 1972
Priority dateJan 12, 1972
Publication numberUS 3690901 A, US 3690901A, US-A-3690901, US3690901 A, US3690901A
InventorsHinkley David F
Original AssigneeMerck & Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Curing of meat and meat curing preparation therefor
US 3690901 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Oflice US. Cl. 99-159 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Dehydroascorbic acid and dehydroisoascorbic acid are added to meats along with a nitric-oxide producing agent to accelerate the rate of curing.

REFERENCE TO RELATED CASE This application is a continuation-in-part of my application Ser. No. 4,403 filed on Jan. 20, 1970, now abandoned.

This invention relates to the manufacture of meat products such as hams, hot dogs, bologna, etc., and particularly to an improved process for the purpose of accelerating the rate of cure-color development. Although the process primarily pertains to color development it will afford improved color stability as well.

In the usual course of the manufacture of such products as bologna and hot dogs, a mixture of beef and pork is usually employed (except for kosher products) along with spices, sodium chloride, sugar, and curing salts which are usually a mixture of sodium or potassium nitrate or nitrite. The usual procedure is to first mix and chop the beef and the curing salts along with an appropriate amount of ice, and to follow this with the addition of the pork (if used) then more ice, and spices or other ingredients. The reducing agent, for example, sodium ascorbate, sodium isoascorbate, or their free acids is normally added during the last minute or so of the chopping. This is added during the last minute in order to avoid interaction of the ascorbate with nitrite and premature loss of nitric oxide prior to cooking out.

The addition of the reducing agent serves several functions in the product in that it either contributes to the reaction of the nitrite with the myoglobin or favors the stability of the resulting complex by: (a) reducing NaNO to NO, (b) reducing myoglobin (Fe+++) to myoglobin (Fe++) in which latter form it reacts, (c) acting as an oxygen scavenger which helps to stabilize the color when exposed to fluorescent lights such as in the meat showcase of a supermarket, and (d) acting as a buffer to provide more NO from residual NaNO and keep the myoglobin in the reduced form (Fe++) for recycling the reaction. During cooking, the nitrosomyoglobin is denatured but the heme portion of the molecule undergoes essentially the same reaction as that prior to cooking.

In order to avoid the excessive losses of essential reactants in the overall system and still provide for quick reaction between reduced myoglobin and nitric oxide, especially during the cook out, I have found that instead of using the presently accepted procedure which is described in the Hollenbeck Pat. 2,739,899, I can use the oxidized formof ascorbic acid or isoascorbic acid (also known as erythorbic acid). This patent teaches the use of compounds containing an enediol group, i.e.

Patented Sept. 12, 1972 but the present invention resides in the discovery of the ability of their 'ketonic oxidation products, i.e.

to perform at least equally as well as the enediol itself in meat curing.

:It is surprising that these diketones function as reducing agents like the enediol compounds as it is generally believed that the diketones have no chemical reducing activity. A possible explanation of this is that the naturally occurring substances in the meat serve to reduce the diketones back to the enediol form and in which form they then function as reducing agents.

The oxidized form of ascorbic acid is generally called dehydroascorbic acid; the oxidized form of isoascorbic acid is generally called dehydroisoascorbic acid. They have the structures:

Dehydroascorblc Acid Dehydrolsoascorblc Acid ll I] .3 0:2 ZiU iiitl Instead of these free acids, their alkali metal salts, preferably sodium or potassium, may be used as well and as they yield the ascorbate or isoascorbate radical when in contact with the moist meat they are herein considered as the equivalent of the acid per se.

These diketones would be substituted on an equal weight basis for the enediols of the prior art. This includes the following possibilities, among others: (a) add the diketonic oxidation products at the start of preparation of the meat emulsion, e.g. dehydroascorbic acid; de hydroisoascorbic acid; (b) add the agents above either alone or in combination of each other along with a reducing agent such as enediol so that the enediol would establish immediate reducing conditions and the diketone would provide a reservoir for color stability; (c) add part of the enediol at the beginning of the mixing operation and then the diketone and remaining portions of the enediol during the latter part of the mix.

Obviously, the selected diketone must be applied or be deposited on or in the meat as by sprinkling it in dry form on the meat, mixing it into ground meat, immersing the meat in an aqueous brine, injecting the brine into the meat, etc. These various ways of making sure that the diketone is spread on or in the meat is generally referred to as contacting the meat as is said in the Hollenbeck patent mentioned above. This contacting of the meat with the diketone is an initial and direct application.

Obviously, there are many variations with respect to quantities and combinations in each case. For instance, the invention contemplates the substitution of the diketones for all or a part of the enediols in the examples of the aforementioned Hollenbeck patent. Representative of these variations are the following examples:

EXAMPLE 1 Curing of chopped beef with a mixture of sodium nitrite and dehydroascorbic acid was accomplished as follows:

Two ten gram samples of chopped beef were prepared and both were treated by dry mixing with 0.005 gram of sodium nitrite. To one was also added 0.0022 gram of dehydroascorbic acid. The meat samples were stored in the refrigerator at about 4 C. and examined periodically. The results of these tests show that the dehydroascorbic acid increased the rate of cure of the sample containing it. The chopped beef sample treated with sodium nitrite eventually developed the bright red color of cured meat but it took 5-7 days longer than the sample treated with dehydroascarbic acid. These tests would correspond to the curing of sausage and other comminuted meat products.

The same result was observed if 0.0044 gram of dehydroascorbic acid was added.

In Example 1, the dehydroascorbic acid amounts to 0.022% by weight of the meat. The invention can be practiced with as small an amount as 0.01% up to as high as 0.1%. Examples of a curing action are obvious by using any selected amount within this range in place of the amount specified in Example 1.

The amount of sodium nitrite or other nitric oxide yielding agent conforms to conventional commercial practice or as outlined in the aforesaid Hollenbeck patent, incorporated herein by reference.

Instead of using the dehydroascorbic acid of Example 1, it has been mentioned that dehydroisoascorbic acid may be used and this may be in whole or in part. Its amount, based on the weight of meat, may be within the 0.01-0.1% range mentioned above.

The invention has been described with special reference to sausages but Example 2 illustrates the use of dehydroascorbic and dehydroisoascorbic acids in curing chunks of meat. The pickling solution may be used in curing whole primal cuts of meat such as hams, loins and the like by soaking them in the pickle solution. Or the pickling solution may be injected into the meat in addition to or in substitution for the soaking operation.

EXAMPLE 2 The effect of adding dehydroascorbic acid to curing solutions of the type used in the wet curing or pickle curing of hams, etc. is shown in the following test:

A pickling" solution was made up according to a formula published in Food Research, 8, 78-87 (1943).

Percent by weight To a separated portion of the pickling liquor was added 0.5% dehydroascorbic acid to determine the effect of this ingredient on the rate of curing.

Pieces of pork tenderloin about 1 cubic inch in size were separately immersed in the pickling liquors and the curing samples placed in the refrigerator at 4 C.

The results of this test show that the addition of dehydroascorbic acid to the wet curing solutions markedly increased the rate of curing of pork cubes.

Example 2 describes a pickling solution containing dehydroascorbic acid in a concentration such that when used it would constitute 0.5% by weight of the meat to be treated, but it may be as low as 0.1%, and range up to 2.0% or, dehydroisoascorbic acid may be used in place of all or a part of the dehydroascorbic acid. In this pickling action, the meat would absorb or contain from 0.01 to 0.1% of the selected curing acid.

The invention contemplates the inclusion of either the dehydroascorbic acid or the dehydroisoascorbic acid in a meat curing composition for commercial sale. In addition to one or a mixture of these acids it would contain sodium chloride and a nitric-oxide yielding agent as used in present day ascorbic acid containing meat curing composition and, if desired, spices are sugars. The composition would contain an amount of the acids, either separately or mixed, so that they would apply from 0.01% up to 2.0% to the meat depending on Whether it is to be used in a mix such as Example 1 or a pickling operation as in Example 2. This composition should also produce, in water, a pH of between 5.0 and 8.5 to conform to established practices.

In practicing the invention, the sodium or potassium salt of the selected curing acid may be used in an amount to supply the equivalent quantity of the acid.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of curing meat to accelerate the rate of curing and to stabilize the color of the cured meat which comprises initially and directly applying to the meat an acid selected from the group consisting of dehydroascorbic, dehydroisoascorbic acids and their mixtures to gether with a nitric oxide-producing curing medium in a pH range of about 5.0 to about 8.5, said acid amounting to from 0.01 to 2.0% of the weight of the meat.

2. The method of claim 1 in which the acid range is from 0.01 to 0.1% in sausage manufacture operations.

3. The method of claim 1 in which the acid range is from 0.1 to 2.0% in pickling manufacture operations.

4. A meat curing preparation to be initially and directly added to the meat to be cured, said preparation including sodium chloride, a nitric oxide-producing medium and from 0.01 to 2.0% by weight of an acid selected from dehydroascorbic, dehydroisoascorbic acids and their mixtures based on the weight of the meat, said meat curing preparation having a pH range of about 5 .0 to about 8.5.

5. The composition of claim 4 in which the acid range is from 0.01 to 0.1% in sausage manufacture operations.

6. The composition of claim 4 in which the acid range is from 0.1 to 2.0% in pickling manufacture operations.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,739,899 3/1956 Hollenbeck 99-159 2,832,689 4/1958 Proctor et al. 99-l59 X 3,255,022 6/1966 Hinkley et al. 99222 3,386,836 6/1968 Borenstein et a1. 99l59 3,391,006 7/1968 Sair et al. 99-459 HYMAN LORD, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 99109, 222

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3878307 *Jan 7, 1974Apr 15, 1975Lever Brothers LtdProcess for producing cured meats
US4234607 *Jun 29, 1979Nov 18, 1980Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaProcess for producing cured meat products
US5314704 *Jan 2, 1991May 24, 1994Nestec S.A.Dehydrated meat product protected against oxidation
EP0013042A2 *Dec 7, 1979Jul 9, 1980"P.V.B.A. Chemicals"Method for the preserving of meat pieces, solution used therefor and meat piece preserved according to said method
U.S. Classification426/266, 426/652
International ClassificationA23B4/023, A23B4/14, A23B4/20, A23B4/02
Cooperative ClassificationA23B4/0235, A23B4/20
European ClassificationA23B4/023C, A23B4/20