Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2008. 86:967–971. Copyright © 2008 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the tenderness of beef chuck and round muscles when enhanced with ammonium hydroxide and salt at different pump levels. A randomized, complete block design of 4 treatments and 3 muscles with 3 replications was used, with a total of 15 subprimals per treatment. Treatments included a 0% (CON), 15% (T15), 22.5% (T22), and 30% (T30) target pump. The triceps brachii (TB), biceps femoris (BF), and rectus femoris (RF) muscles were studied. Muscles were injected with a solution of ammonium hydroxide and sodium chloride (patent-pending technology from Freezing Machines Inc., Dakota Dunes, SD). Individual steaks were cut to a thickness of 2.54 cm, vacuum-packaged in trays, and frozen. Warner-Bratzler shear force, pH, and sensory evaluations were determined. Shear force decreased as the target pump percentage increased for all muscles (P < 0.050): TB = 39.9, 35.1, 32.1, and 27.0 N; BF = 39.4, 26.2, 23.3, and 19.3 N; RF = 42.7, 32.9, 30.7, and 28.9 Nfor CON, T15, T22, and T30, respectively. In all cases, there were no shear force differences between T15 and T22 (P > 0.050). As percentage pump increased, pH increased. The ultimate pH was moderately strongly to strongly related to shear force (r = 0.55, 0.70, and 0.80 for RF, TB, and BF, respectively). Trained taste panel ratings revealed an increase in tenderness, decrease in connective tissue, and an increase in juiciness as pump level increased for all muscles. In all cases but one (juiciness of the RF), the CON had the least desirable ratings and shear force values (P < 0.050). There were no major differences between T15 and T22, and T30 steaks tended to have an uncharacteristic soft and mushy texture. For this reason a 20% target pump level was determined to be the optimum pump level. These data suggest that adjusting pH in beef with ammonium hydroxide and salt can increase tenderness in muscles from the beef chuck and round. Any level of treatment was beneficial, with the greatest shear force benefit occurring in muscle pumped to 30%.