Meat products are grouped according to the processing technology applied, based on the processing technologies used and taking into account the treatment of raw materials and the individual processing steps, it is possible to categorize these meat products.
Fresh processed meat products
These products are meat mixes composed of muscle meat with varying quantities of animal fat. Products are salted only, curing is not practiced.Non-meat ingredients are added in smaller quantities for improvement of flavor and binding, in low-cost versions larger quantities are added for volume extension. All meat and non-meat ingredients are added fresh(raw). Heat treatment (frying, cooking) is applied immediately prior to consumption to make the products palatable. If the fresh meat mixes are filled in casings, they are defined as sausages. If other portioning is customary, the products are known as patties, kebab,etc. Convenience products, such as chicken nuggets have a similar processing technology and can also be included in this group. In contrast to the rest of the group,chicken nuggets etc. are already fried in oil at the manufacturing stage during the last step of production.
Cured meat cuts
Cured meat cuts are made of entire pieces of muscle meat and can be sub-divided into two groups, cured-raw meats and cured-cooked meats, the curing for both groups, cured-raw and cured-cooked, are in principle similar:
The meat pieces are treated with small amounts of nitrite, either as dry salt or as salt solution in water.
The difference between the two groups of cured meats is:
Cured-raw meats, do not undergo any heat treatment during their manufacture. They undergo a processing period, which comprises curing, fermentation and ripening in controlled climate conditions, which makes the products palatable. The products are consumed raw/uncooked.
Cured-cooked meats, after the curing process of the raw muscle meat, always undergo heat treatment to achieve the desired palate
Raw-cooked meat products
The product components are muscle meat, fat and non-meat ingredients which are processed raw, i.e. uncooked by comminuting and mixing. The resulting viscous batter is portioned in sausages or otherwise and thereafter submitted to heat treatment, i.e. “cooked”. The heat treatment induces protein coagulation which results in a typical firm-elastic texture for raw-cooked products. In addition to the typical texture the desired palatability and a certain degree of bacterial stability is achieved.
Precooked-cooked meat products
Precooked-cooked meat products contain mixes of lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products. There are two heat treatment procedures involved in the manufacture of precooked-cooked products. The first heat treatment is the pre cooking of raw meat materials and the second heat treatment the cooking of the finished product mix at the end of the processing stage. Precooked-cooked meat products are distinguished from the other categories of processed meat products by precooking the raw materials prior to grinding or chopping, but also by utilizing the greatest variety of meat, animal by-product and non-meat ingredients.
Raw-fermented sausages are uncooked meat products and consist of more or less coarse mixtures of lean meats and fatty tissues combined with salts, nitrite (curing agent), sugars and spices and other non-meat ingredients filled into casings. They receive their characteristic properties (flavor, firm texture, red curing color) through fermentation processes. Shorter or longer ripening phases combined with moisture reduction (“drying”) are necessary to build-up the typical flavor and texture of the final product. The products are not subjected to any heat treatment during processing and are in most cases distributed and consumed raw.
Dry meat products
Dried meat products are the result of the simple dehydration or drying of lean meat in natural conditions or in an artificially created environment. Their processing is based on the experience that dehydrated meat, from which a substantial part of the natural tissue fluid was evaporated, will not easily spoil. Pieces of lean meat without adherent fat are cut to a specific uniform shape that permits the gradual and equal drying of whole batches of meat. Dried meat is not comparable to fresh meat in terms of shape and sensory and processing properties, but has significantly longer shelf-life. Many of the nutritional properties of meat, in particular the protein content, remain unchanged through drying.