Surimi seafoods (fish/poikilotherm protein) in the U.S.A. are typically cooked rapidly to 90+°C, while comminuted products made from land animals (meat/homeotherm protein) are purposely cooked much more slowly, and to lower endpoint temperatures (near 70 °C). We studied heating rate (0.5, 25, or 90 °C/min) and endpoint temperature (45 to 90 °C) effects on rheological properties (fracture, small strain) of washed myofibril gels derived from fish (Alaska pollock) compared with chicken breast at a common pH (6.75). This was contrasted with published data on gelation kinetics of chicken myosin over the same temperature range. Heating rate had no effect on fracture properties of fish gels but slow heating did yield somewhat stronger, but not more deformable, chicken gels. Maximum gel strength by rapid heating could be achieved within 5 min holding after less than 1 min heating time. Dynamic testing by small strain revealed poor correspondence of the present data to that published for gelling response of chicken breast myosin in the same temperature range. The common practice of reporting small-strain rheological parameters measured at the endpoint temperature was also shown to be misleading, since upon cooling, there was much less difference in rigidity between rapidly and slowly heated gels for either species.
Findings from this study serve as a foundation for potential application of rapid square wave in cooking of comminuted meat products such as frankfurters and deli meats as an energy-efficient alternative to traditional slow smokehouse cooking.