Meat mixing is an essential step in the meat processing cycle. Always ensure that you have an adequate mixer to increase production efficiency and reduce the mixing times. Various factors affect the proper mixing of meat. Today, it is hard to access information on the qualities of meat mixers. For the type of meat and the by-products manufactured, many points have to be considered, involving the effect of different agitators on the following:
- An even distribution of a variety of meat and non-meat ingredients.
- Right mechanical action and temperatures for protein extraction purposes.
- The right mechanical action for maintaining moderate particle definition depends on whether the particle is needed or not.
The Agitators used for Meat Mixing and grinding
There are two major types of agitators, namely ribbons and paddles. Even though more companies have utilized ribbon mixers in the past, paddle mixers are the best for meat mixing applications. They have contributed to improved qualities of meat mixers. Paddle mixers are suitable for mixing two or more ingredients uniformly as compared to ribbon mixers. Usually, paddle mixers are ideal for mixing high-viscosity mixtures such as ground beef, fresh sausages, and dry sausages.
Paddles are usually self-cleaning in the mixing process and minimize the possibility of fat build-up. The intermeshing of paddle agitators quickens the process of meat mixture. It saves more time required to produce a uniform mixture, which is essential in the process of mixing in a variety of non-meat ingredients into the meat. The saved mixing time should reduce fat smearing for products in which particle definition is essential.
On establishing the carrying capacity of a mixer, the meat volume should at least be up to the centre shaft of the agitators to mark its minimum ability. For a lump of maximum meat carrying capacity, the chicken in a mixer should not be past the tip of the agitators. To boost the qualities of meat mixers, avoid over or under filling of these mixers with meat and instead put meat volumes that these meat mixers can accommodate. Bridging can happen in cases of overfilling of meat mixers, and improper meat mixing will occur upon under-filling of mixers.
Reviews of different mixing, blending and levelling alternatives
Single Shaft with Dual Ribbons: This agitator comprises an inner and outer fabric on one shaft. Apply the separate shaft and dual ribbons in self-levelling products such as soup, stews, slurries, spices, and other dry ingredients. This agitator style provides uniform blending and ingredient suspension. The agitator lies in types of equipment such as Mixer-Blenders, ThermalBlend Cookers, and Drop Tanks.
Single shaft with Ribbon/Paddles: This agitator possesses inner paddles with an opposing pitcher to the outer ribbon. This agitator is for making soups, sauces, and more viscous products, namely, stew, chilli, and other relatively stiffer products. These agitators are in Mixer-blenders, ThermaBlend cookers, and Drop tanks. These agitators have an outer ribbon that creates a more conducive method of conveyance during the mix and discharge cycle.
Single Shaft With Dual Paddles: This is an agitator with inner and outer opposing paddles on one shaft. You can use this agitator in making soups, sauces, and similar delicacies. The equipment that tends to have such an agitator includes Mixer-Blenders, ThermalBlend Cookers, and Drop tanks. The advantage of this agitator is that it has dual paddle flights that create an energetic flow, and it keeps particles suspended and the batch uniform.
Single or Double Shaft Thermal Screw: These are agitators that are driven by a chain and sprocket with a rotary union for steam or hot/cold water to be distributed through the shaft and cavity of the flights. Use this agitator for slurries and other food substances that require heat transfer to be processed. This agitator is typical in equipment such as thermal screw cookers and mixer-cookers. The advantage of using this agitator is that it provides gentle blending in applications where more food contact heat transfer is necessary.
Double Shafts with Ribbon: These are agitators that rotate while transferring the food in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. Ribbons offer gentle agitation and superior discharge efficiency and effectiveness. Double shafts with decoration are for processed cheeses, dips, spreads, fruit fillings, and similar types of blended foods. The advantage of using this agitator is that it produces a low-shear smooth blend and is so useful when unloading challenging dense and viscous products.
Double shafts with overlapping paddles: These agitators are intermeshing and function together with a bottom discharge screw. The overlapping paddle agitators give the perfect blend with the shortest batch cycle time. Use these agitators to produce ground or emulsified meat products. These shafts are in the qualities of meat mixers that provide quick mixing of proteins with no additives that need accuracy or protein extraction with reduced standard deviation. These agitators can be in equipment such as Mixer-blenders and Mixer-grinders.
Double Shafts With Paddles: These are more aggressive as compared to ribbons and offer a perfect mix in a short time frame. Basing on speed, standard paddle agitators are suitable for protein extraction. Usually, these agitators make sausages, processed meats, and other ground meats and poultry products. These agitators are used to create a perfect blend for protein products that need additional processing. This agitator in qualities of mixers that offer to mix, reduced batch cycle times, and increase in temperatures. Find these agitators in equipment such as Mixer-blenders.
The advantages of Vacuum mixing
Go for vacuum mixing as it is essential in producing high quality mixed meat. The process of pulling off a void in meat mixing will result in compaction of the chicken in the mixer. For several cooked products, vacuum mixing is essential, although vacuum mixing is discouraged for looser textured products like ground beef and sausage patties. Vacuum mixing eliminates air bubbles and pockets, which leads to a modified texture and outlook of cooked sausage products.
The sequence used in final grinding vs mixing will also affect product texture and particle definition. Products needed with good particle definition and a more crumbly texture, the mixture should be done before the final grinding. Products that contain cheese, peppercorns, encapsulated citric acid, should be ultimately ground before they are incorporated into the product to eliminate the destroying of these particles. Always go for the right agitator before you can mix any meat product to achieve a desirable outcome.