Meat+Poultry - June 2018 - IFT - 20
Processors are bringing the taste and look of
outdoor cooking to heat-and-eat options
By Donna Berr y
mericans love the flavor profile developed
during outdoor cooking, real outdoor grilling.
That's using a charcoal barbecue or a woodburning fire pit, not the modern gas grill that has
become a standard feature of most homes. However,
cooking over charcoal or wood is time consuming, as
well as unpredictable in terms of consistent heat, not
to mention the cleanup. Consumers want the outdoor
grill flavor, but don't want to do it themselves.
These desirable outdoor grill flavors develop when
juices from meat drip onto hot charcoal or
wood. These drippings are pyrolyzed by the
heat, creating fumes that are absorbed
by the food. The end result is cooked
meat with flavors consumers crave.
Processors are responding
with heat-and-eat options that
bring the taste and look of
outdoor cooking inside.
Home Market Foods,
for example, now offers an
extensive line of Cooked
Perfect Fired Grilled
Chicken. The innovative
range of juicy, tender and
uniquely bold fully cooked
frozen chicken uses a
premium cooking process to
lock-in flavor for restaurantquality chicken at home.
Marinated and seasoned with
savory spices, the line includes
center-of-plate and appetizer solutions,
in a variety of convenient cuts (wings,
drumsticks, boneless and bone-in thighs, tenders
and chunks) and flavors (bourbon barbecue, buffalo
ranch, wildflower honey barbecue, lemon herb and
MEAT+ POULTRY / IFT PROTEIN PLANNER 2018
To assist with including outdoor grilling flavor in
commercial manufacturing, ingredient suppliers have
developed technologies to create flavor systems that
deliver authentic flavor. Some charcoal flavors are
made by heating oils under controlled conditions and
capturing the grilled essence. This can be made into an
oil- or water-soluble solution for marinades or topical
application. The solution can also be spray-dried for
use in dried mixes. Some outdoor grill flavors are
derived from real meat and manufactured in USDAinspected facilities.
Some of these systems include smokehouse flavors,
which can be liquid smoke or flavor extract. There's
also wood-fired grill flavors that are reminiscent of
open-fire grilling over mesquite, hickory, cherry or
Using these flavors in meat analogs has helped
plant-based products gain traction with carnivores.
These flavors, however, also work well in fully cooked
meats, such as the increasingly popular individually
wrapped frozen microwavable pub-style burger on bun.
Once warmed and served, the commercially cooked
burger tastes as if it was charbroiled or grilled.
These outdoor cooking flavors can be added to
meat and poultry products in a number of ways. This
includes through a marinade, in a batter of breading, or
even through topical adhesion binding systems.
When flavors, instead of an open-flame grill, are
used in commercial manufacturing, it is helpful to
add grill marks to suggest authenticity. Fully cooked
and seasoned product may travel through a single- or
double-sided conveyor that sears the meat with grill
marks. Such machines enable processors to precisely
and consistently mark products. Some conveyors
include a bounce that allows for random markings.
This adds an element of home-made to the finished
product. Depending on the meat and poultry product,
a non-contact, spray application may also be used to
create grill marks.