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Chicken sausages

Sausages containing meat mixes including chicken meat

Chicken meat is often used to partly substitute the more expensive red meats in meat products especially of the raw-cooked type such as luncheon meat, bologna or hotdogs. In such cases the chicken meat percentage can vary substantially. As a good manufacturing practice, the percentage of chicken meat should be indicated for consumer information, as such products are normally perceived as pork or beef products, not containing chicken meat. Also some liver sausages can contain larger quantities of chicken meat. These products are commonly labelled as “Chicken Liver Sausage”, although in many cases the liver and animal fats derive from pork.

Sausages and other products with 100% chicken meat

Besides the use of chicken meat in mixed red meat products, there are many well established and popular products which contain chicken meat only. When processed chicken and turkey meat products were introduced on a broader scale a few decades ago, traditional red meat recipes where simply modified and red muscle meat was replaced by poultry meat and pork fat by fat rich chicken skin. For these poultry products such as chicken frankfurter, chicken bologna etc., non-meat ingredients and the processing technologies remain basically the same as for the corresponding processed red meat products. Manufacturers even endeavour to make chicken and turkey sausages similar to red meat sausages in taste and flavour, but point out the health benefits of poultry products (low fat, low cholesterol, see table 1 on page 2).

Chicken frankfurter and chicken bologna are finely comminuted products, which can be considered as raw-cooked products (see page 127). Lean chicken meat provides the proteins and chicken skin replaces the fat to be finely dispersed in the sausage batter. Filled in small casings (18-22mm), this typical raw-cooked sausage mix is the basis for chicken frankfurters (Fig. 232), when filled in larger casings (40-60mm), for chicken bologna (Fig. 233). The mix also serves as the basis for products where coarse chicken meat (either diced or ground) is blended with batter and filled in casings of 60-80mm or cans. These products may be named chicken or turkey ham sausage, chicken or turkey roll etc. (Fig. 236). Chicken meat balls, a product in high demand in the Asian region, are also of the same category. They are manufactured based on the method used for traditional meat balls from red meat (Fig. 237).

Another chicken meat product, which resembles the cooked hams made from pork in both manufacture and appearance is called chicken ham (raw meat material may come from all parts of the chicken carcass) or chicken breast (in this case only chicken breast parts should be used). The meat material is tumbled together with brine containing curing salt, phosphates and spices, and either pasteurized when filled in casings or moulds (Fig. 234) or sterilized when filled in cans. For canned and sterilized chicken products see Fig. 238 and 239.

Fig. 232: Chicken frankfurter

Fig. 233: Chicken bologna

Fig. 234: Chicken ham

Fig. 235: Turkey ham

Fig. 236: Chicken roll

Fig. 237: Chicken meat balls
Steamed (left) and oil fried (right)

Other chicken meat products

Coated / breaded products

In addition to chicken sausages, the chicken meat industry also developed new products, which contributed significantly to meeting the global increase in demand for poultry meat. These can be compared to a few examples from the red meat and fish sector, e.g. breaded and fried meat slices of pork or mutton known as “Escalope” or “Wiener Schnitzel” and in the fish sector as “fish fingers”. The characteristic of such products is the coating of meat surfaces with flour, fat/flour mixes and/or breadcrumbs etc. In the poultry sector, similar products include chicken nuggets (ground meat mix), chicken sticks or fingers (muscle strips) or chicken schnitzel (breast muscle slices).

After the meat or meat mix is portioned, each portion is pre-dusted by applying a thin layer of dry flour on the meat surface. This serves to firmly absorb the batter and the breading in the following steps of the processing. Battering consist of dipping the meat pieces in a semi-liquid mixture of oil, eggs, water and spices. Breading is the coating with flour, fat/flour mixes and/or breadcrumbs. The final step in this process is heat treatment to stabilize the coatings on the meat surface. This short heat treatment in hot fat/oil (approx. +175°C) as part of the processing must be seen as a pre-treatment only and does not cook the product. The final heat treatment is carried out by the consumer right before eating.

In large chicken industries, the above processes have been automated by using continuous processing lines. This industrial level processing mainly focuses on comminuted and reconstituted meat parts, in some cases mechanically deboned meat (MDM) is used for cost reduction. Some examples of industrially manufactured chicken products are shown in Fig. 240 to 243.

Fig. 238: Canned chicken frankfurters

Fig. 239: Canned chicken chunks in different gravies

Fig. 240: Chicken nuggets, small size

Fig. 241: Chicken wings with bones

Fig. 242: Chicken drumsticks (below), Chicken nuggets, large size (above)

Fig. 243: Chicken 'tocino' raw (left) and fried (right).
Philippines delicacies with high sugar content

Even though the large poultry firms dominate the markets, there is still scope for small manufacturers to produce and successfully market similar products of high quality standards using manual processing methods. Examples of technologies and products suitable for the small-scale sector are:

Chicken burgers, chicken longganisa

These two products are easily made from spiced ground chicken / poultry meat mixes. The mixture for the burgers is portioned into the desired weight and shaped using a hand-held moulding device (Fig. 245). The longganisas are also portioned and rolled into plastic wrapping.

Fig. 244: Raw material (ground chicken meat)

Fig. 245: Moulding chicken burgers

Fig. 246: Chicken burgers, left fresh, right fried

Fig. 247: Skinless chicken longganisa, made of ground meat, left frozen/fresh, right fried

Chicken nuggets

Also chicken nuggets can be manufactured at the small-scale level and a simple method is shown below (Fig. 248).

Fig. 248: Small-scale manufacture of chicken nuggets

(a) Ground chicken meat with salt and spices, to be frozen for chicken nuggets manufacture

(c) Materials for pre-dusting (left) and coating with egg batter (right)

(d) Coated for frying

(b) Raw chicken nuggets cut-out from frozen block

(e) Arrangement for coating and frying of nuggets

The meat selected for the chicken nuggets is mixed with spices, salt and herbs and ground to the desired particle size (1-5 mm). The ground mixture is spread in a tray to the desired thickness covered with plastic foil and frozen. After freezing the nuggets are cut out and breaded (Fig. 248 a-e).

Methods of processing chicken filets (to chicken fingers) and of chicken wings (to spicy marinated products) are shown in Fig. 249 and 250.

Fig. 249: Method for pre-dusting, battering and breading of chicken filets

Fig. 250: Marinating chicken wings for fried products

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