Demands for products of animal origin are increasing worldwide owing to the significant growth in the human population and changes in the health, wealth and life expectancy of people. Science information, skills and technologies are available to the agricultural sector to adapt to these challenges, but customers are uncertain about the approach to address such new challenges. The environmental effects of new technology and the stepping up of manufacturing processes are troubling. Various combinations of grazing and intensive schemes based on resource and environment, are used to raise ruminant animals. The consistency of animal products varies, but each has its advantages and drawbacks.
There is evidence in the literature that breed impacts juiciness. Chambaz et al. (2003) found when harvested at a constant intramuscular fat, significant advantages in juiciness for Charolais and Limousin as compared to Simmental and Angus. Warrington et al., 2008 reported that Bonsmara Natural Beef was juicier than commodity beef or Certified Angus Beef. Lee et al. (2014) reported that mutations of calpastatin and calpain genes influence juiciness.
Calm temperaments are related to greater levels of juiciness (Burnham et al., 2005; and Kadel et al., 2006).
Horcada et al. (1998) observed the more extensive infiltration fat content in females suggesting that meat from females should be juicier than the meat of males.
Anabolic steroid implanted steers also have less juiciness (Platter et al, 2003a; cited in Garmyn and Miller, 2014). Leheska et al. (2009) reported that feeding zilpaterol decreased juiciness.
Dietary Vitamin A
Marti et al. (2011) reported that when vitamin A was restricted to 1.3 x 1000 IU/kg feed as compared to the control of 4.6 x 1000 IU/kg, both Holstein bull’s and steer’s Longissimus thoracis was more (P < 0.05) juicy.
The low melting point of the fat in marbling attributed to its high oleic acid content discussed above likely contributes to the juiciness of the meat (Fumiko et al. 2016). Therefore, highly marbled beef with a high-fat content is juicy even when dry-aged for extended periods up to 60 d (Fumiko et al. 2016). In contrast, the juiciness of conventional beef decreased as aging increased to 16 to 21 d (Campbell et al., 2001). Fumiko et al. (2016) summarized that in terms of tenderness, juiciness, umami intensity, and flavor intensity the best duration of dry aging of highly marbled beef is 40 d.
In the Beef Customer Satisfaction study (Neely et al., 1998), consumers scored top loin juicier than top sirloin, which was, in turn, more juicy than top round based on in-home steak evaluations. Hunt et al. (2014) reported that longissimus lumborium and gluteus medius were considered juicier than semimembranosus. Still, loin cuts did not differ within their respective quality grades when the cooking method was controlled. Discrepancies between research reports on the juiciness of different cuts can be partially explained by different cooking methods which McKenna et al. (2004) reported can affect consumer ratings for juiciness. Results from trained evaluations of juiciness vary from those of Hunt et al. (2014) and Kukowski et al. (2004). In studies with trained taste panels, Rhee et al. (2004) did not observe any differences in juiciness between longissimus lumborium, gluteus medius, and serratus ventralis; however, McKeith et al. (1985) reported greater juiciness scores for longissimus lumborium compared to gluteus medius and serratus ventralis which had similar scores for juiciness.
Therefore, beef, chuck, and loin muscles are generally considered juicier than muscles from the round (Carmack et al., 1993; Jeremiah et al., 2003a). The striploin has been reported to be juicier than the eye of round (Jung et al., 2015). Jeremiah et al. (1971) reported that the sirloin tip eye and outside flat were juicier than the exterior cap (VL) and eye of the round (ST). Ritchey and Hostetler (1964) reported that the eye of the round was drier and harder than the outside flat and solid side because the muscle fibers in the eye of the round were more cohesive and extensible and more difficult to fragment than those in the other two muscles. The poor palatability beef cuts, such as the eye of the round, should be merchandised for braising or different low temperatures, long-time cookery methods (Jeremiah et al., 2003a; and Roseland et al., 2015). Jeremiah and Gibson (2003a,b) estimated that the overall palatability rating of the eye of the round is increased by up to 15% and the percentage of undesirable overall palatability rating is reduced by up to one third when appropriate cooking methods are utilized.
Cut Surface Area
Sweeter et al. (2005) found that large surface area ribeye steaks must be cut thin in order to meet weight requirements for sale and are more likely to be overcooked and thus less juicy. Dubost et al. (2013) reported a positive role of perimysium and endomysium surface areas to juiciness, respectively in semimembranosus and Biceps femoris muscles cooked to 70 °C. The structural changes are occurring during cooking decrease the water-holding capacity of meat (Dubost et al. 2013). At 60–70 °C, the connective tissue shrinkage creates a loss of water, as it is expelled by the pressure exerted by shrinkage of the connective tissue in the extracellular space (Tornberg, 2005). Dubost et al. (2013) concluded that a greater connective tissue surface area associated with a higher total collagen content results in juicier meat.
As shown in (Drey et al., 2019), advancing degrees of doneness in cooking markedly decreases the juiciness of beef strip loins. Drey et al. (2019) indicated that this loss could be partially prevented by either increasing the moisture or the fat content in the cooked meat. They indicated that the water content in the cooked meat could be enhanced through the injection of an alkaline phosphate solution into the meat at day 14 of a 21 d postmortem wet aging period. The solution (0.4% sodium phosphate, 0.3% sodium chloride) was injected with a multi-needle injector (Schroder Model IMAX 420, Wolf-Tee Inc., Kingston, NY) at a 10% pump rate (Drey et al., 2019). This treatment not only increased juiciness at all degrees of cooking doneness (from very rare to very well done) but also improved tenderness and flavor. The methodology to increase IMF is discussed in other sections of this text.
To meet the rising demand of animal products, the ruminant livestock industry uses many variations of grazing and organic or concentrates feed systems. Manufacturing processes are affected by the productivity and quality of animal products, but depending on geographical, climatic factors and resources, they vary. Manufacturing systems influence the extrinsic and intrinsic elements of cattle and small stocks livestock goods with major impacts on carcass and meat consistency. Concentrate feeding typically produces a more coherent carcass composition than pasture feeder which addresses the need for better quality of meat. Carcass structure and conformation, carcass fat quality and color, meat composition, color, tenderness and taste are all the intrinsic characteristics of affected animal products. Pasture meat is darker and less tender but also have more yellow color in the carcasses. Meat is preferable in many countries over pasturage animals by the meat flavor of intensively fed livestock. Pasture-fed meat is more flavored and can contain off-taste, but some consumers want a more concentrated pasture flavor. The taste of meat is superior to pasture-fed animals in many countries. The fatty acids of N-3, particularly EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3) are beneficial to pastural feed.