Abstract The gelation and rheological properties of minced beef frozen and stored at −18°C for 6 months without additives, with salt (1·5% NaCl), tripolyphosphate (TPP 0·5%), sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP 0·5%) and an antioxidant mix (BHA + BHT, 200 ppm) were studied. The relationships between shear rate and shear stress for the different treatments were nonlinear and resembled the Bingham pseudoplastic behaviour. Continuous evaluation of the modulus of rigidity (G) during cooking (0·5°C/min) revealed higher G values for the unfrozen phosphate treatments. Salt addition resulted in significantly lower G values of the stored meat compared to the control. Antioxidant addition retarded some of these effects. Among the phosphates, TPP was the best in maintaining the same G values as the control. Water-holding capacity (after salt addition) was increased after phosphate addition in the unfrozen meat and did not change after storage. The control, NaCl and antioxidant treatments showed an increase in WHC during storage.