Classifications of Processed Meat

Feb 01, 2016


Processed meat can be classified as sausages. cured whole muscle cuts or as restructured meat products.

sausagesThe numerous varieties of sausages necessitate several and slightly different processing procedures. The meat can come from beef, veal, pork, lamb, poul­try or a combination of these sources. Some sausages are made from meat that is cured, smoked or cooked before it is ground; other sausages are formed first, and then cured, smoked, cooked or treated by a combination of these pro­cesses. Products such as bologna, frank­furters and many loaf types of luncheon meat are made from finely ground meat emulsions. Other products, such as smoked pork sausages, or Italian and Polish sausages, are coarse in texture and do not require emulsification. Pro­duction of dry and semi-dry sausages requires carefully controlled fermenta­tion and drying.

Types of sausages

  • Fresh -Fresh sausages are made from comminuted meat and are not cured, smoked or cooked. Therefore, they must be cooked before serving. Some examples are fresh pork sausage, fresh bratwurst, chorizo, bockwurst
    and Italian-style sausage.
  • Uncooked and smoked-These sausages may include cured but not cooked meat. They are smoked after forming but must be cooked before serving. Smoked pork sausage, kielbasa and smoked country-style sausage are examples.
  • Cooked - Usually made from meat that has been cured and cooked, these sausages are ready-to-eat, although some may be heated before serving. Types of cooked sausages include precooked bratwurst, braunschweiger, liverwurst, blood sausage and tongue sausage.
  • Cooked and Smoked - These products are made from meat that has been cured, formed into sausages, cooked and subjected to a light smoke.This type of sausage is ready-to-eat, although some may prefer to heat certain kinds of this product before serving. Examples are bologna, cotto salami, frankfurters
    and Vienna sausage.
  • Dry and/or semi-dry-These sau­sages may be smoked or unsmoked, and processing always includes curing and usually involves cooking at the plant. Carefully controlled fermentation acts as a preservative and gives these sausages their distinctive and unique flavors. Hard salami is usually in the dry-sausage category, while summer sausages are typically of the semi-dry type. Other varieties of dry and semi­ dry sausages include cervelat, thuringer, pepperoni and mortadella. These sausages are ready-to-eat and do not require cooking prior to consumption.
  • Loaves and Other Specialty Meat-Such meat is cured and fully cooked, sometimes by baking, during processing. Examples of loaves include honey, minced ham, old fashioned , olive, pepper, and pickle and pimento; head cheese and Vienna sausage loaf are other specialty meat prod ucts. This type of sausage need not be cooked before serving.

Cured Whole Muscle cuts

Whole muscle cuts like ham, corned beef, pastrami and bacon are consid­ered IMG_7904processed meat products because they have been treated with a curing solution, dry-cured, smoked and/or seasoned. These products are more pop­ular in their processed form than as fresh cuts. A ham, for instance, is more in demand in the U.S. than a fresh leg of pork from which a ham is made.

  • Ham - Ham is defined as the hind leg of pork that has been cured and smoked or cured and canned. Ham, one of the more highly valued pork products, can be produced in three styles: bone-in, semi-boneless or boneless. Bone-in hams can contain four leg-bone sections including the aitch bone (a portion of the pelvic arch), the femur, the patella (the knee cap) and the fibula shank and tibia. Semi-boneless hams usually have the aitch and the shank bones removed , although occasionally the shank is left attached. Boneless hams have all the bones removed and most of the external, and as much as possible of the inter­ muscular, fat trimmed away. The lean meat may be rolled, shaped or formed into a casing.
  • Corned (Cured) Beef - The brisket is the most popular cut of meat used for corned beef, although beef round is also used. Formerly, "corning" referred to the process of preserving beef by sprinkling it with grains ("corns") of salt. Today, corned beef is cured with a pickle solu­tion consisting of water, salt, sugar, nitrite and spices.
  • Bacon - In the United States, bacon is produced primarily from pork bellies. Beef bacon is made from the boneless beef short plate (an anatomical region similar to that of the belly in pork).
  • Canadian - style bacon is made from the top loin muscle of pork-usually that from heavier hogs. Both bacon and Canadian bacon are cured and smoked, giving them their unique flavor.
  • Pastrami - Pastrami is made from the brisket, plate or top round muscle of beef. After dry-curing with salt, the beef is washed, then rubbed with a paste of garlic powder, ground cumin, red pep­per, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It is then smoked and cooked.
  • Pork Shoulder -The pork shoulder can be divided into two major cuts, Picnic (arm) and Boston (blade). These cuts can be processed using the same tech­niques employed to prepare ham from the pork leg. Shoulder cuts are usually priced more economically than leg cuts due to differences in palatability and yield of edible portion.


Restructured Meat

Restructured meat products are gener­ally made from flaked, ground or sec­tioned beefprocessed meats or pork, which is shaped into roasts, steaks or loaves. Examples of restructured meat are smoked sliced beef and most boneless hams.

The process of restructuring consists of three steps: a reduction or modification in particle size, blending and reforming into the desired product size and shape. Some restructured hams look very simi­lar to their whole muscle counterparts. In fact, some are simply chunks of ham that have been bound together to form a larger piece.

The binding of particles in the reforming process is essential to the process of restructuring. Intracellular myofibrillar proteins (e.g., myosin) from the muscle are functional in causing meat particles to bind. Salt and phosphates, along with the proper mixing process, help bring these protein s to the surface of the par­ticles and contribute to the binding qualities of the product.

Source -  Lessons on Meat

Video Podcasts and Webinars

  • Grass or grain? Is there a definitively sustainable beef production system?


    The webinar examined the science relating to grass-fed and grain-fed beef in terms of sustainable... read more »

  • 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Update


    Kris Sollid, Registered Dietitian with the International Food Information Council and Sarah Romo... read more »

  • Meat in the Diet


    read more »

Social Media

  • @MeatScience: Now Hiring: Plant Operations Intern-Housing Provided | Seaboard Foods: Guymon, Oklahoma | #jobs
  • @MeatScience: Now Hiring: Farm Operations Intern-Housing Provided! | Seaboard Foods: Guymon, Oklahoma | #jobs
  • @MeatScience: Now Hiring: Operations Associate | Seaboard Foods: Guymon, Oklahoma | #jobs
  • @MeatScience: Now Hiring: University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate Student Position | University of Wisconsin-Madison: Madison, W…
  • @MeatScience: Now Hiring: Food Scientist | Cargill: Wichita, Kansas | #jobs