by Sam Shafer
Poultry scientists are taking on the challenge of preparing reduced-fat sausage products without compromising texture or flavor. One promising ingredient: duck skin.
Duck skin is normally seen as a by-product of duck production, but new research suggests it may have value in meat emulsion sausages. The findings, published recently in Poultry Science? , show that gelatin and collagen-rich duck skin can be combined with vegetable oils to product high-quality reduced-fat duck meat emulsion.
“We suggest that the application of duck skin in meat products may not only increase its value but also help develop new meat products,” write study authors Kim et al.
For the new study, the control emulsion was prepared with 30 percent pork fat back. The researchers then prepared an emulsion with pre-emulsified vegetable oil that had been combined with vegetable oil (20%), duck skin (5%), and water (5%) for 30 seconds and treated with 1.0% alginate and 1.0% isolated soy protein homogenized for three minutes. They also prepared a set of duck meat emulsions using the pre-emulsified vegetable oil and a coconut oil treatment.
The different emulsions were then made into sausages and evaluated for key characteristics before and after cooking.
Importantly, scientists found that emulsion stability (whether the fats and fluids in the sausage stay together) was significantly lower in the vegetable and coconut oil treatments, compared with the pork back fat treatment. However, the researchers note that adding duck skin to the emulsion can increase the water-binding capacity of the treatment, improving stability and reducing cooking loss.
The researchers also highlighted differences in thermal stability and texture. “Although thermal stability of vegetable oil treatments was lower than control, they have softer texture than pork fat control with increase of protein solubility and apparent viscosity, and decrease of lipid oxidation,” they write.
Except for the coconut oil treatment, all the test samples offered health benefits due to their lower saturated fatty acid levels compared with the pork back fat emulsion.
What does this study mean for producers?
Duck skin doesn’t need to be treated as a waste product.
Duck skin can be combined with vegetable oils to produce a quality reduced-fat duck meat emulsion.
In fact, including duck skin can help counteract differences in emulsion melting point, fatty acid composition, color and flavor that can come from using vegetable oil emulsions alone.
The full paper, titled “Physiochemical properties of Reduced-fat Duck Meat Emulsion Systems: Effects of Pre-emulsification with Vegetable Oils and Duck Skin,” can be found in Poultry Science? and online here.
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