Evaluation of 0.1% Ammonium Hydroxide to Replace Sodium Tripolyphosphate in Fresh Meat Injection Brines



ABSTRACT:  Paired USDA Select beef strip loins (n = 10), aged 2 d, were injected with either an alkaline-based (3.6% sodium chloride, 1% Herbalox seasoning, adjusted to pH 10 with ammonium hydroxide [approximately 0.1%, FFC grade]) or a phosphate-based (3.6% sodium chloride, 1% Herbalox seasoning, 4.5% sodium tripolyphosphate) brine. Steaks were evaluated for 19 d. Overall, phosphate-injected steaks performed better than alkaline-injected steaks with respect to cook yield, water holding capacity, lipid oxidation, color stability, tenderness, and juiciness. Phosphate-injected steaks also had less purge than alkaline-injected steaks, as confirmed by composition analysis. Phosphate-injected steaks were higher in moisture and ash content, and were nearly 2% lower in protein content. Alkaline-injected steaks had significantly lower aerobic (approximately 1 log lower) and anaerobic (approximately 2 log lower) plate counts. Final meat pH probably contributed to the differences observed between treatments. The final pH of phosphate-injected steak was 5.99 while that of alkaline-injected steak was 5.73. Further research should be conducted to determine the concentration of ammonium hydroxide needed in the alkaline-based brine to increase the final meat pH to similar levels found in the phosphate-injected steaks.