If you work in the poultry industry or have a chicken processing plant, you need to know how to process frozen chicken in the most efficient way possible—while minimising time in the danger zone, maintaining product quality and ensuring your output is safe to eat. So, keep reading to learn about chicken tempering systems and other poultry processing machinery available from FPE.
- What are the steps in processing chicken?
- How to process frozen chicken cost-efficiently
- What is a chicken tempering system?
- Benefits of using a chicken tempering system
- How to thaw frozen chicken using AMTek Microwave
What are the steps in processing chicken?
The activity of processing chicken for consumption can be broken down into the following steps:
- Stunning – using, for example, Accles & Shelvoke’s range of small animal captive bolt stunners.
- Slaughter – according to Australian (or New Zealand) animal welfare standards.
- Evisceration – including scalding, feet removal and plucking.
- Cleaning and Chilling – removing innards and any remaining unwanted parts.
- Inspection and Testing – there are multiple Critical Control Points for product inspection within a poultry processing facility. Eagle PI’s X-Ray food inspection systems are the absolute best in terms of food quality assurance equipment.
- Secondary Processing – this includes everything from cutting up the chicken to marinating and cooking it.
- Packaging and Shipping – packaging finished chicken products and transporting to their next destination.
Now let’s look at how to process frozen chicken in preparation for secondary processing.
How to process frozen chicken efficiently
In this article, we’re going to focus on step 6 above. As part of the secondary processing of chicken, it’s necessary to temper the product to a suitable temperature. Traditionally, this is a lengthy and inefficient process, as it requires considerable:
- Time – for the product to change temperature safely
- Space – a room in which the product can be stored while it’s tempering
- Energy – required to control temperatures within the room
- Monitoring – to adjust climate in the room as temperatures rise
The good news is that microwave technology is completely transforming this process. As part of an automated chicken tempering system, this can be a fast, cost-effective, consistent and efficient procedure.
What is a chicken tempering system?
A chicken tempering system by AMTek Microwave is machinery that tempers your frozen chicken product to the correct temperature for secondary processing. Using advanced microwave technology, this can be achieved within minutes, as opposed to the days it takes to temper chicken using traditional methods.
Learn more in this video:
Benefits of using a chicken tempering system
While you may be thinking that a microwave tempering system sounds like a large investment, you’d be surprised to learn how quickly it pays for itself.
How are you currently tempering and defrosting meat, poultry and seafood products? Is it:
- In a chill-room, with constant temperature and air flow?
- In a climate control room, with controlled humidity and air flow, where you’re constantly adjusting the room climate as the product temperatures rise?
Let’s look at some of the benefits in detail.
Increased product yield
Nearly all bone-in/skin-on leg quarters, not sold as fresh, must be injected if further processed. Alternatively, if boned out, they’re required to go through latent heat to rid the product of ice crystals. This requires holding the product in an equilibration room for a period of time after tempering.
AMTek has performed tests on whole chickens, chicken necks, chicken leg-quarters and chicken wings. Though this data is not published, as they’re the direct results of an AMTek customer, FPE has reviewed the data and can confirm AMTek Microwave Tempering Systems can achieve excellent finished temperatures from hard frozen to a range of -3C to -1C.
Entering the equilibration room at a relatively even temperature of approximately -2C to -3C, which is achieved through microwave tempering, is a priceless advantage to the processor.Entering the equilibration room at -3C, as opposed to the usual -18C, increases product yield as much as 5% to 8%.
Added yield is added profit.
Improved flavour and bite
More than profit, the purge that is lost without the benefit of microwave tempering is more than simply lost weight; it’s also lost moisture-binder protein and flavour.
Adding binders may restore some binding properties at an added formulation cost, but nothing can replace the lost product properties of flavour and bite. These are not lost during microwave tempering.
The return on investment from using the AMTek Tempering System is among the most rapid we’ve seen in any food processing equipment.
Simply calculate your current purge loss from product tempering and defrosting, and multiply this by the price per lb.
Imagine 8% purge being reduced 2% or even 1%…
Product quality is of course very difficult to calculate. However, premium product, with improved bite and flavour, corresponds with premium prices and higher customer demand.
Reduces risk of contamination
Microwave tempering systems condense multiple processes in various spaces to a single machine. By eliminating the need for tempering rooms and multiple handling sequences, human intervention is minimised and the risk of potentially bacteria-ridden purge within your chill room is removed.
AMTek Tempering Systems are also programmable. FPE’s AMTek technician will run each and every product in your product list, programming the optimum recipe, which is then saved for repeatable results, day-to-day, month-to-month and year-to-year.
How to thaw frozen chicken using AMTek Microwave
Thawing frozen chicken using an AMTek Microwave processing system is as simple as the following 3 steps:
- Select product type on the MW control panel
- Stack cartons of frozen chicken on the conveyor belt, long edge leading, with no gap
- Easily de-carton the product after tempering with no poly entrapment.
AMTek microwave tempering allows for precise control of product temperatures, ensuring they are within the required limits for subsequent slicing, grinding, forming, or moulding.
All you need to do is provide us with your installation requirements, and we will work with AMTek to provide a complete system layout, detailing oven location, utility requirements and location within your facility. We can integrate optional add-on equipment into your design and layout as well. Not only that, we carry a full line of spare parts for your microwave system needs, and provide full training in the use of your equipment.
View the brochure, or contact FPE to learn more about the advantages of including AMTek Tempering Technology in your process to improve production efficiency and enhance product quality.