Yield, Composition and Acceptability of Meat from Chukar Partridge

ABSTRACT Battery-reared male and female Chukar partridge were processed at 14, 16 and 20 weeks of age. Ready-to-cook yields (from live weights) were similar for male and female birds, averaging 73.5%. Meat yields and compositions, cooking losses and panel acceptability were determined for oven cooked birds. Total cooked yields, which varied from 80 to 85%, were similar for males and females and remained fairly constant for birds 14-20 weeks of age. Boneless cooked meat yields were high (75% of cooked carcass weight) with slightly less than one half from breast muscles. Cooked meat plus skin samples contained 25% protein, 5% crude fat and 69% moisture. Oven cooked partridge were found acceptable by the taste panels.


THE number of avian species used for production research and for gourmet foods is increasing. Availability of the birds and need for information concerning yield and quality of meat has stimulated research in this area. Processing characteristics, yield, composition and acceptability of meat from Bobwhite quail were reported by Dawson et al. (1971a, b). These quail produced meat with excellent yield and quality characteristics.
Sarvella et al. (1973) reported palatability and meat quality of chicken-pheasant and chicken-Japanese quail hybrids. Meat from hybrids was similar in acceptability to that from chicken and in most cases, more acceptable than samples from pheasant or Japanese
This study was conducted to evaluate the yield, composition and acceptability of meat from Chukar partridges.

Battery-reared male and female Chukar partridge were obtained from the Poultry Science Department. The birds were processed using modified chicken processing procedures as reported by Dawson et al. (1971 a), except that use of Duxwax (Val-A Company, 700 W. Root Street, Chicago, Illinois) was not considered necessary. Since sex was not readily distinguishable in the live birds, sufficient birds were processed to give 10 male and 10 female partridge for each age group (14, 16 and 20 weeks).
Each carcass was warm eviscerated by splitting down the back, removing the viscera, including crop and esophagus, and removing the head and neck. After ice water chilling of all carcasses, five of each sex were halved to provide one half for proximate composition of raw meat and one half for taste panel evaluation. The remaining five birds of each sex were reserved for cooking loss, meat yield
and proximate composition of cooked meat. All birds were packaged individually in heat shrinkable plastic bags (Cryovac, type S 503, Cryovac Division, W. R. Grace & Company, Simpsonville, South Carolina) and frozen at -24° C. (-11° F.) for later evaluation. Each bird was thawed at 3° C. before testing. Birds used for panel evaluating were held one month before thawing, cooking and evaluating. Those used for meat composition wereheld 2-4 months before all evaluations were completed.

Partridge evaluated for cooking losses were placed in Glad® oven bags according to directions and onto a previously weighed aluminum pan plus rack. After reweighing, all birds were placed in a preheated Etco convection oven at 121° C. and cooked 50-60 min. In preliminary trials, center breast muscle temperature reached 85° C. and meat was visually cooked after 50 to 60 min. The cooked weights, drip weights and volatile losses were measured or calculated.
The breast portion of each bird was separated from the bone and remaining carcass and weighed. Meat from remaining carcass was separated from bone and weighed. Yields of boneless breast meat, total meat and total bone were calculated.
Composite samples of cooked light and dark meat plus skin were analyzed for moisture content by drying 5 g. of finely ground sample in a convection oven for 4 hr. at 125° C. A.O.A.C. (1965) procedures for determining ash, crude fat (Goldfish extraction) and protein (micro-Kjeldahl) were used. The same procedures were used to determine proximate composition of finely ground composite samples of raw light and dark meat plus skin.
Partridge for sensory evaluation were also cooked in Glad® oven bags as described above. Birds of the same sex from each of the age groups were evaluated together. Each bird furnished two samples from the major breast muscle, one from the minor breast muscle and two from the thigh. The cooked pieces were warmed and served to a 20 member taste panel randomly selected from available students, faculty and staff. Each panel member received samples of similar muscles from birds of each age group, each

evaluation time, and samples were evaluated for flavor, texture, juiciness and acceptability based on a 9-point descriptive score sheet.
Meat Yields. Table I shows live, dressed and ready-to-cook weights of C h u k a r partridge at 14, 16 and 20 weeks of age. Males were heavier (live) than females in each age group. Previous studies with Bobwhite quail (Dawson et aL, 1971a) indicated that females outweighed males at 18 weeks of age and older. Weights of dressed and ready-to-cook partridge followed similar patterns, with males outweighing females. Percentage yield of dressed and ready-to-cook birds from live weights and ready-to-cook yields from dressed weights are shown in Fig. 1. Average percentage yields of males and females for all age groups were essentially the s a m e . Average yield of ready-to-cook carcasses from live weights was approximately 74%. T h e s e yields are slightly higher

than values for Bobwhite quail reported by Dawson et al. (1971a). Yields are comparable to yields for most chickens, ducks and geese (Swanson et al., 1964), especially considering that these latter included necks and giblets.
Cooked Meat Yields. Cooked carcass yields, based on ready-to-cook weights, were quite uniform at more than 80%, with only minor differences between sexes and among age groups. Cooked meat yields, based on cooked carcass weights, averaged 75% (Fig.2). Breast meat averaged about 35% of the total cooked carcass weight and nearly one-half of the total meat weight. The total cooked meat yield was slightly lower than that for Bobwhite quail (Dawson et al, 1971b), but the proportion of breast meat was similar.
Meat Composition. Table 2 shows proximate composition of raw and cooked meat, averaged for birds 14-20 weeks of age. Bird variations were not determined, since only
composite samples were analyzed. Raw (whole bird) samples from females contained about 3% more fat than samples from males.
No significant differences in protein content were found between meat from males and females, or among age groups.
Other data, not shown in tables, revealed that fat content (raw meat plus skin) at 14 weeks averaged 8.4% for males and 12.0% for females. Fat contents increased slightly in samples from both sexes with increase in age. These differences in fat content among samples were influenced by the fat content
of raw skin, which, from males, increased from 22% at 14 weeks to 33% at 20 weeks.
The fat content of raw skin from females increased from 33% at 14 weeks to 41% at 20 weeks.
The percentage of fat from whole birds (skin on) decreased during cooking due to loss of fat from the skin into the drippings.

Since moisture was lost during cooking, the base weight declined, thus the fat and protein percentages of the light meat increased during cooking as expected.
Product Acceptability. Average panel scores for juiciness, texture, flavor and general acceptability of Chukar partridge are reported in Fig. 3. The oven cooked samples were found quite acceptable by the taste panels even though no seasonings were added. Average scores, with the exception of juiciness in 14 and 20 week old males, averaged between 5 and 7 on a 9 point descriptive score card. In general, values decreased (less acceptable) with increasing age of partridge and females were generally more juicy than males.
These results indicate that very acceptable high-yielding meat can be readily obtained from Chukar partridges 

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