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The effects of temperature and humidity on cooked hamburger held in a humidified, hot holding cabinet

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Agriculture
  • Food Science And Technology
  • Design
  • Engineering


As the foodservice industry moves into the twenty-first century, it will face serious labor problems, changing consumer preferences, and increased competition. Holding cooked food hot without adversely affecting its taste, texture, or appearance would allow operators to expand their menus without increasing service times, while making the operation more efficient by reducing labor and food costs. First step to extending holding times was the design of a humidified, hot holding cabinet suitable for data collection. Working with CresCor engineers, a cabinet was modified to improve stability and recovery time. The modified cabinet was used to determine the effects of temperature and humidity on hot held hamburgers prepared on both a flat griddle and a gas charbroil grill. Samples were pulled from the holding cabinet every 30 minutes for four hours, checked for yield and then subjected to texture, moisture, fat, and rancidity analyses. Nine different combinations of cabinet temperatures (150, 160, and $\rm 170\sp\circ F)$ and humidities (70, 80, and 90 percent) were tested. Following laboratory analysis, a semi-trained sensory panel of 22 judges was convened to check for changes in appearance, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability. Results were analyzed using the general linear model. No significant changes were noted in any of the laboratory analyses except moisture content and yield. While temperature had no effect on either the rate of moisture loss or changes in yield, humidity significantly affected both. The rate of moisture loss decreased linearly with increasing relative humidity while the yield increased linearly with humidity. The sensory panel failed to detect statistically significant differences (at ${\bf \alpha} = 0.05)$ in the color, flavor, or tenderness of patties that were held up to four hours in a cabinet at 160 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 percent relative humidity. The panel was able to detect a decrease in the moist appearance and juiciness at 150 minutes. The only the sample that had been held for 180 minutes was significantly lower in overall acceptability. Base on the results of this study, it is possible to hold hamburgers two hours without significant loss of quality. ^

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