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ABSTRACT

Eight market weight hogs with similar genetic and management background were conventionally slaughtered with the resulting sixteen pork carcass sides randomly assigned to treatments. Four treatments at 2 levels each (24 factorial design) included muscle condition [pre-rigor (hot) or post-rigor (chilled)], mechanical knife blade tenderization [no tenderization or tenderization], vacuum tumbling [continuous or intermittent], and the processing delay time between vacuum tumbling and further processing [no delay time or 20-hr delay]. Results indicated that pre-rigor processed meat tissue exhibited higher pH, water-holding capacity (WHC), and cooked yield characteristics. Mechanical knife blade tenderization consistently increased protein content of the uncooked meat exudate, cooked yield, and palatability characteristics. Tumbling method and processing time had little influence on either uncooked or cooked meat characteristics.