Binders are commonly incorporated into processed meat products, especially in the case of frozen microwavable meals, to improve juiciness and texture and maintain the fresh flavor of the meat. Protein or starch make up most binders and bind water to prevent it from escaping the meat during storage and cooking. Our objective was to examine shelf stability, water loss during cooking and consumer sensory characteristics of beef patties with no added binder (Control), soy flour (TVP) or dry potato extracts. Potato extracts were provided by Basic American Foods (Blackfoot, Idaho) and included X-TEND™; X-TEND™ M, which is a potato extract containing mustard; and X-TEND™ S, which includes sodium acid pyrophosphate.

Batches (n=6) of ground beef containing 15 percent fat were mixed with 1 percent salt, 15 percent water, 0.2 percent onion granules and 2 percent of the designated binder and formed into one-third-pound patties. Patties were either left fresh and displayed in a retail case for four days or cooked and stored frozen for 21 to 52 days at -4° F, much like frozen microwavable meals found in a grocery store. Fresh patties were displayed on trays with an oxygen-permeable wrap in a retail display case at 36° F similar to a meat case at a local grocery store. Visual discoloration was evaluated during retail display. Lipid oxidation was measured at the beginning and endof retail display and 21-day frozen storage. Patties were cooked on a clamshell grill to 160° F and moisture loss was recorded. The consumer taste panel was conducted on precooked patties stored frozen for 51 or 52 days and then reheated in an oven prior to serving. Consumers (n=60) scored patties for overall acceptability, texture, juiciness and flavor.

In retail display patties, all binders decreased discoloration and lipid oxidation compared with Control, and X-TEND™ M was superior to all other treatments. Cooking loss was less in patties containing potato extracts compared with patties containing TVP, which had less loss than Control patties. The consumer taste panel scored patties with potato extracts higher for juiciness than Control and TVP patties and higher for overall acceptability than Control patties.

The addition of potato extracts to beef patties resulted in a product the consumer would prefer to buy fresh from a retail case or as a reheatable meal from the frozen section. The effectiveness of potato starch as a water binder causes the reduced cooking loss and improved juiciness of the patties. The natural antioxidants in potato along with the help of added antioxidants in mustard contribute to decreased discoloration and lipid oxidation. In processed meat products where binders are commonly utilized, potato extracts have proven to possess a variety of good qualities.  NP