Taking Goetta Mainstream

Everywhere in the world, except within a 100 mile radius of Cincinnati, OH, promoting Goetta sales would have to be considered a new product introduction. And that’s a good thing because Goetta as Cincinnatians now know it is low quality; with no realistic chance of going maninstream. I believe that current social trends and meat further processing technology are ripe for a major high quality Goetta marketing campaign. For me to be correct there has to exist both the need, as well as an economically feasible means to fill that need.

The first part of this post discusses consumer need/want; while the second covers my how-to visions of large-scale, pre-browned, IQF Goetta patty production. Since such production is presently nonexistent, there may someday be real-time kinks in need of being worked out. The gargantuan Meat Industry has many seasoned experts capable of dealing with such glitches. If nothing else, my ideas of how things could work may light a spark in more capable minds; to increase Goetta distribution via doable manufacturing practices.

The number one, long running food trend is for decent quality convenience items. Goetta patties are traditionally skillet fried for several minutes. Further, cleaning skillets & other kitchen utensils takes yet more time. Today, Goetta falls sorely short in the all important convenience category. Unfortunately, un-browned Goetta has an unappealing mush like appearance that stops a good many people from even trying it. Browning Goetta patties greatly enhances end-product appearance, increases good flavor through Maillard Reaction browning and browned patty surfaces help keep patties intact. Fortunately, commercial continuous impingement ovens are capable of browning full-cooked Goetta patties on both sides. Jet Steam Ovens (JSOs), which are normally positioned down-line from browning ovens to achieve fully-cooked internal temperatures, can simply have the steam turned off during already precooked Goetta patty production runs. There is more discussion on the topic of in-line browning in the second half of this post.

Goetta made with lean pork is a healthy bacon alternative. Besides the several nutritional benefits of eating oats (oats are currently considered to be one of the top ten best foods to consume), oats also act as a fat mimic; making lean pork Goetta both more healthy and adequately palatable. Also, low-salt Goetta is easy to produce because salt is not required to achieve an adequate bind, and more salt can always be added at the table to satisfy individual tastes. Sticky oats, meat shreds, onion fibers and patty surface browning combine to achieve optimal end-product bind. Amateur Goetta makers believe that fat and to a lesser extent gelatin/collagen are needed for product binding. Fat & collagen do firm up Goetta when it’s in a chilled state, but both liquefy upon heating.

Grain component sausages can be instrumental in reducing meat intake; without going down the road of eating faddish and expensive fake meat science experiments. Even when traditional foods are used to manufacture fake meat products, those foods normally need to be highly processed in order to try and make them seem like something other than what was provided by nature. Humans didn’t evolve eating organic chemistry science experiments. Therefore, it stands to reason that the long term consumption of such products might well be an ill-advised practice. A lower processed middle ground will likely prove to be prudent.

Goetta can be promoted as being somewhat eco-friendly because it’s made using non-ruminant hog meat (lower greenhouse gas emissions than from less feed efficient, longer lived ruminants). And, it is currently trendy to consume more vegetable protein. Pork shoulder usage in Goetta also enhances sustainable agriculture efforts because it adds significant value to a historically less in demand region of the hog carcass. Pork shoulder has long been inexpensive/less in demand compared to most other red meat cuts.

Potentially cancer causing commercial caramel coloring (caramel coloring made using ammonia in the process) is not used to make Goetta. In fact, not even old-style caramel coloring is used. Some type of caramel coloring is widely used in virtually all soy grit containing, precooked, uncured meat items; for color matching purposes. Soy grits are commonly listed as Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) in the ingredient statements of precooked meat patties, taco filling etc. Without caramel coloring soy grits stand out as whitish dots in precooked meat items. Goetta can be promoted as an old-time, minimally processed food.

Last but not least, high quality Goetta has an unobjectionable, unique texture and a seasoned sausage taste that a lot of people like.

So, how does one get pre-browned Goetta patties on the market in a big way? A major part of the bottom line success of the Big Mac was because it is largely made using food components and equipment that were already on site at McDonald restaurants. Likewise, big-Goetta production is most feasible in existing patty plants that are currently using large grinders, mixers, foreign object detection (FOD) x-ray equipment, rolling tubs, forming machines, in-line continuous ovens, spiral belt freezers, frozen patty metal detectors, employees etc.; in the production of many different finished goods. However, in most such plants, Goetta production will require the addition of roll-in truck thermal processing units (commonly termed smokehouses), rolling smokehouse rack trucks, large steam table pans with lids and a blast chill cooler. Large corporate meat companies may well have pilot plants that are already equipped with everything required to conduct small test runs; before committing to the construction of a “Goetta room.”

Grind combo bins of pork shoulder cushion meat once through a 3/4 inch hole size plate.

Run the coarse ground meat through FOD equipment to exclude bone-chips, metal etc.

Fine grind onions.

Blend pork, sodium phosphate, onions, marjoram, black pepper, salt and enough water to almost cover everything.

At the same time, separately hydrate steel-cut oats on a one to one volume basis and refrigerate.

Load large steam table pans 3/4 full with the raw meat mix, place pans on smokehouse truck racks, cover pans with lids.

Roll smokehouse trucks into thermal processing units and steam-cook at 300F until meat is fall-apart tender.

Dump meat pans while collecting broth, then crush drained meat into shreds. There are different easy ways that cooked-tender meat shredding can be accomplished.

Mix together partially hydrated/soaked steel-cut oats, cooked pork & onion shreds and volume measured broth. A little more water may be needed after all the saved broth runs out; in order to reach full batch hydration. Lucratively, Goetta production has no cooking loss and is formulated at about 50% water. Adding value, while not taking a cooking loss, makes it possible for further processing meat plants to offer Goetta at an affordable wholesale price. Increasing sales volume is another key to plant profitability.

Load pans with Goetta mix, cover, place on smokehouse truck racks and steam-cook at 300F until the mix reaches optimal viscosity.

Remove pan lids, push loaded smokehouse trucks into a blast chiller and hold there until the hot-spot (pan center) reaches nearly 28F.

Use a long, dull knife to release Goetta from the interior sides of pans. Push a forced air probe down to the floor of the pan in 3 or 4 places to release the bottom.

Dump several pans of product into rolling v-meg tubs.

Dump tubs into patty forming machines. Augers located in commercial patty machines somewhat further mix the Goetta. Commercial patty machines normally run around 70 strokes per minute and press out 5 or 6 patties per stroke. Such machines are often used in tandem on big patty lines. Low temperatures, forming plate pressure, meat shreds and onion fibers all help keep Goetta patties intact.

Brown patty surfaces in continuous impingement ovens. Browned Goetta patty surfaces further increases end-product bind.

Convey patties through an Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) freezer until browned Goetta patties reach 0F internal.

Package frozen patties in laminated boxes; like brown & serve type sausage makers have done for decades. Since they are precooked, have sodium phosphate in them and are low-fat (less fat that that can oxidize), browned Goetta patties retain high quality well during reasonable long freezer storage.

Make great Goetta greater!

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