A comparison of residual nitrite and nitrate, lipid oxidation, cut-surface color, and sensory and visual characteristics for nitrite-added and no-nitrite- or -nitrate-added Canadian-style bacon
The objective of this research was to compare residual nitrite, residual nitrate, lipid oxidation, and sensory and visual characteristics of conventionally cured Canadian-style bacon containing sodium nitrite to no-nitrite- or -nitrate-added Canadian-style bacon (naturally cured) during 7 or 12 weeks of storage. Three treatments were used for the first and second experiments: control, natural cure (NC) using celery powder with a nitrate reducing culture, and natural cure with cherry powder (NCCP) with a nitrate reducing culture; all of the pork loins used for these treatments were mechanically injected with brines. Six treatments were evaluated in a third experiment: control, control with ascorbate (NA), natural cure with preformed nitrite in celery powder (NCEL), NC, NCCP, and natural cure with lemon powder (NCLP); all treatments in the third experiment were processed by grinding the pork loins, then mixing with the ingredients. All natural cure treatments included celery powder and starter culture as ingredients and finished products were found to contain both residual nitrite and nitrate after incubation of the products for nitrate conversion. The control had significantly more (P<0.05) residual nitrite than NC and NCCP in the first experiment whereas in the second and third experiments the control and NC treatments had significantly more residual nitrite than NCCP. The control had significantly less residual nitrate (P<0.05) than the naturally cured treatments in the first experiment, but significantly more (P<0.05) in the second experiment. NCLP had significantly less residual nitrate (P<0.05) than NCCP in the third experiment, but no other treatments were significantly different. Significant differences between TBARS values were observed only in the third experiment where NC and NCLP had significantly higher levels of TBARS (P<0.05) than all other treatments. The control was significantly darker and more red (P<0.05) than NC and NCCP in the first experiment, while in the second experiment it had similar lightness and redness to NCCP when evaluated by a Hunter Lab instrument. No significant differences (P>0.05) between the treatments for lightness or redness were found in the third experiment. Results from sensory panelists indicated that the control had more cured meat color intensity and was more tender, but contained more off-flavor (P<0.05) than NC and NCCP. According to the panel scores, NC and NCCP had significantly greater cured meat flavor intensity and overall were rated as having better flavor acceptability (P<0.05) than the control, although these results were not consistent with chemical analyses. These results demonstrate that natural curing processes can be successfully utilized for both injected and ground and then formed Canadian-style bacon.