Are you in a pickle when it comes to consistency in appearance of your burger? Are you ready to take your production to the next level? Marel’s guide to the perfect burger appearance is a great place to begin or enhance your journey to improve your product’s consistency, quality, and safety while keeping the consumer top of mind.
Today, savvy food processors seek out a smooth, stable production flow using innovative equipment to assist in crafting the best burger patty possible. Based on consumer demands and the buyer decision process, this means more flexibility and variety of products than ever before. When they take the right steps and use the best tools for their business, the benefits are not only limited to producing a consistent burger appearance. Besides developing your product’s quality and safety, consistency also leads to minimizing costs, reducing waste, and saving time.
How do you achieve a top-tier burger patty? What exactly makes a consistent and perfect burger appearance? To the naked eye, it might be what you see on the surface. However, food science tells another story with a multi-layered approach, taking key factors such as fiber orientation, grind size, and surface texture into consideration.
Your best bet for a uniform-looking burger patty is to control the orientation of collagen fibers during processing. In order to minimize the change of appearance, fibers need to be steered vertically for optimal results. As the patty cooks, their fibers contract, therefore, reducing a burger’s height rather than diameter.
Control the fat percentage so it meets specifications each time. The most successful processors rely on superior X-ray technology or interactance spectroscopy for their optimal fat to lean ratio, allowing them to gain the perfect marbling in each patty.
Determining your product's target weight is another key to ensure consistency and yield optimization. Pressure and vacuum stuffing are two ways in which you can achieve perfect results. Should you wish to have more variety at affordable costs, high pressure is a great option. On the other hand, low pressure will retain structure and texture of raw material in high quality products. An alternative route to attain target weight is utilizing a vacuum stuffer. Weight is controlled using a set portion weight on the vacuum stuffer connected to the processing machine.
Temperature control also plays an important role for the perfect patty appearance relative to what raw material is used (meat and meat alternatives). Maintaining the correct raw material temperature is a crucial measurement for consistency and optimization. A mix of fresh and frozen raw material will have its own criteria for temperature control versus fresh meat only. Nitrogen-based cooling systems are also used in the process for exclusively fresh meat products.
Foreign body detection and controlling your production line
It goes without saying that contaminant-free products are a key factor to have a consistently crafted patty. Whether using a metal detector or a more advanced inspection system to find metal, bones, and other foreign material, it is crucial to catch any inedible and foreign contaminants prior to the grinding stage. If you use intelligent product handling software that provides full traceability, you can be sure your product will be more secure and reliable in the market.
Take the step towards creating the perfect burger appearance and get in touch with one of our specialists to learn more about our innovative solutions for your business.