Practical Results Of Stimulation

The most dramatic practical result of stimulation is the tenderness difference between nonstimulated and stimulated early frozen lamb carcasses (10). Loins and legs from nonstimulated lamb carcasses put into a blast freezer (— 25°C) within 2 h of slaughter and later cooked from the frozen state are exceedingly tough, with only about 1% of shear force determinations on loins being below a level considered to be the maximum for acceptably tender meat. In contrast, loins from similarly processed but high-voltage stimulated lamb carcasses give about 75% of shear force values in the acceptable range (65) (Fig. 4). Lamb carcasses, because of their small size, can be chilled or frozen rapidly and, therefore, the muscles are more liable to cold shortening than are those of larger nonstimulated animals. However, there is a considerable body of evidence that electrical stimulation of beef under conditions where the carcasses are rapidly chilled also results in protection of tenderness (11,66).

Under slower cooling conditions, the differences are much less pronounced, and, in fact, if the evaluation is made after three weeks of aging, nonstimulated product not subjected to rapid chilling may not differ in tenderness from rapidly chilled stimulated product. Under these conditions, stimulation merely facilitates rapid processing. Rapidly chilled, nonstimulated product will, however, be significantly tougher than that from stimulated bodies (Table 1), as cold-shortened muscles have a decreased aging potential. Clearly it is more costly to hold nonstimulated

Table 1. Mean Shear Force Results (kg F) from Rapidly and Slowly Chilled Beef after Three Weeks of Holding Under Vacuum at 1°C

Stimulation

7°C chiller

2°C chiller

High-voltage stimulated

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