Protein modification leads to juicy, flavorful lean beef patty

Consumers are spending more money on lean beef products to avoid high saturated fat and high cholesterol meats. Lean meats, however, don’t always provide the same mouth-watering indulgence as higher fat meats. So, processors have found solutions to reduce fat in products, such as ground beef patties, without compromising the taste or texture.

“At this year’s Institute of Food Technologists’ annual tradeshow, we featured a mushroom slider using BRIFISOL® 550,” says Melissa Machen, food technologist at ICL Food Specialties. “We were using ground sirloin, a very low-fat and lean meat block for the slider. BRIFISOL 550 helped to retain the moisture, maintained product yield and gave the beef similar juiciness to a high fat burger.”

Fat provides most of the flavor to a cooked meat product. Many flavor and aroma molecules are hydrophobic, so they dissolve in fats and oils, not water. If a product is low in fat, its molecules have less fat with which to bind and this increases the chance of losing some of the flavor and aroma in the final, cooked product. Since there is a direct correlation between juiciness and improved beefy flavor, processors have found that removing the fat and juices from ground beef can often leave it dry and crumbly.

“The BRIFISOL line of meat ingredients is unique because it maintains the moisture and juiciness but also imparts a very meaty texture,” Machen says. “When using phosphates, you sometimes get a very tight, bound texture, BRIFISOL is really distinct in the way that it keeps its natural loose texture qualities that you would find in a hand formed patty.”

To achieve this modification, ICL Food Specialties’ BRIFISOL 550 modifies the meat’s texture for a more consistent, juicy burger. After the protein is modified, the increased water-holding capacity allows the protein to act as an emulsifier and increases the solubility of the burger. This also allows for a number of additional methods and creates a more consistent end product.

“The line of BRIFISOL products are unique in function,” Machen says. “Some phosphate ingredients available in the market are effective under specific conditions, but the BRIFISOL line is tailored to your finished application.” For example, our recommended solutions will vary if you are making a hot dog or ham, or a fresh versus cooked product. Our recommendation varies by your processing parameters.”

Burgers created with BRIFISOL 550 provide consumers with a juicy and flavorful center of the plate product made with lean protein, but with all the indulgence from a higher fat alternative.

“Processors have optimized yield, flavor and, ultimately, the eating experience of leaner, low-fat meats,” Machen says.