Previous research has shown U.S. consumers prefer the flavor of domestic beef over that of Australian (AUS) grass-fed beef or Canadian grain-fed beef, which uses similar grains as Australia. Our study’s objective was to assess the consumer (n = 360) palatability and satisfaction of enhanced and non-enhanced Australian (AUS) grain-fed, AUS grass-fed, and U.S. grain-fed beef from two beef muscles.
Strip loin and top sirloin butt subprimals were collected from 12 AUS grass-fed, 12 AUS grain-fed, and 12 U.S. grain-fed (USDA Choice) carcasses. In addition, tenderloin (psoas major) and eye of round (semitendinosus) subprimals were collected from the same U.S. carcasses to serve as anchors for high and low palatability. All subprimals were wet aged until 29 to 32 days postmortem. The longissimus lumborum (LL) from strip loin subprimals was divided into halves (anterior/posterior) and one half was retained as a block for enhancement. The gluteus medius (GM) was removed from the top sirloin butt subprimal and further separated along the seam into two portions. A controlled balance of the larger “heart” sections from either the left or right sides of each carcass was retained as a block for enhancement. The blocks allocated to enhancement were weighed then enhanced with a solution (see Table 1 for composition) to achieve a 7 percent pump level (GM: 6.9 ± 1.4%; LL: 6.9 ± 1.6%) using a multi-needle pickle injector. Samples were cut into 2.5-centimeter steaks, vacuum packaged and stored frozen until analysis. Steaks were thawed and cooked on a clamshell grill targeting a medium degree of doneness per MSA grill cooking protocols. Consumers (untrained panelists) scored palatability traits including tenderness, juiciness, flavor liking and overall liking on 100-millimeter line scales verbally anchored at 0 (not tender, not juicy, dislike extremely) and 100 (very tender, very juicy, like extremely). Satisfaction was also scored as follows: 2 for unsatisfactory; 3 for good everyday quality; 4 for better than everyday quality; 5 for premium quality. Data were analyzed initially as a randomized complete design and subsequently as a split-split plot design, with the main effects of country of origin/diet (AUS grain-fed, AUS grass-fed and U.S. grain-fed), muscle (LL and GM), enhancement (0 or 7 percent), and all potential interactions as fixed effects.
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