Microbiological quality and sensory evaluation of new cured products obtained from sheep and goat meat uri icon


  • The present work aims to study the effect of species and seasoning time on the physicochemical, microbiological and sensory characteristics of cured legs of sheep and goats. Three cure periods were used: two for sheep and one for goat legs. Legs of lamb were cured for 7 and 8 months whereas legs of goat were cured for 8 months only. Samples were evaluated regarding pH, water activity and indicators of food microbial q uality and safety. A trained panel carried out the sensory analysis, with aroma, texture, appearance and taste being the evaluated parameters. Significant differences were detected between the amount of aerobic mesophiles of the products cured during 7 months and the sheep legs cured during 8 months. Moulds and yeasts were between 1.81 × 106 ± 1.73 × 106 and 3.97 × 106 ± 5.45 × 106 colony-forming units/g, whereas total coliforms varied from 2.80 × 102 ± 4.13 × 102 to 1.31 × 104 ± 2.39 × 104. All samples were negative for toxigenic species. Concerning sensory analysis, hardness and taste persistence were the attributes that presented the highest and the lowest discriminative power, respectively. In general, the panel was able to characterise and distinguish the samples. The cured legs of goats were characterised as harder and as less succulent than those obtained from sheep. Sheep meat with larger time of cure was the brightest, whereas the one with a smaller time of cure was the most succulent. However, goat meat presented higher values of rancid and acid flavour. Sheep meat submitted to longer processing presented the most intense flavour and sheep meat with an inferior cure period presented the lowest intensity in all flavour attributes. This paper describes, for the first time in Portugal, the production and characterisation of cured legs of sheep and goats as a strategy to enhance economic value to good quality products obtained from animals of second category.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017