Old World Tradition Meets New World Expertise.



What is Tumbling?

Tumbling involves the result of “impact energy” influences on muscle, such as would occur in allowing meat to fall from the upper part of a rotating drum, or striking it with the paddles or baffles; such action leads to the transfer of kinetic energy to the muscle mass and result in temperature rise of the processing material.

The mechanical agitation by tumbling equipment accelerates the diffusion of curing salts into and salt soluble protein out of the muscle component covers and connective tissue.

In layman’s terms the following happens: A sticky substance known as soluble protein is pulled out of the meat because of the abusive action that happens inside the drum when the paddles or baffles strike the meat. The process is aided by the addition of salt and other meat additives. It can also be enhanced by adding vacuum, helping to suck the soluble protein, or stick substance, out of the meat.

Advantage of Tumbling

  1. Improved brine penetration and uniformity.  Each batch is the same because of mechanical agitation.
  2. Uniform cure color development.  Mechanical agitation provides even distribution of cure.
  3. Improved release of salt-soluble protein enhancing product bind and coherency.  The extracted protein provides the bonding cement for holding the muscle sections together in the finished product during processing and consumption.
  4. Development of a more uniform fine texture.  Tumbling will break down the muscle structure of the product for a finer texture.
  5. Improved Tenderness.  Tumbling enhances tenderness by breaking down the muscle sections, connective tissue and fat, making them more pliable.
  6. Improved yield during processing.  With the combination of added phosphates and mechanical agitation, yields are increased greatly.
  7. Reduced product weight loss during consumer preparation. The extracted exudate coagulates and seals in moisture during the cooking process.
  8. Production of a finished product with very desirable slicing characteristics.  During tumbling, the fibers are broken down and tacky exudate covers the muscle, bundles and fibers. When the muscles are compressed and the ham subsequently is cooked, the exudate coagulated and increases the bind between muscles and their components. This bind holds the product together for complete, whole slices of product.
  9. Savings.  There is usually a 50% reduction in processing materials cost. You will use one half less sawdust, which will produce a 50% savings. There will be a 20 to 30% savings in energy, with one to three less hours of smoke house time. There will be less ecological contamination. No salt, nitrates, phosphates or additives to run down the sewer system. About two thirds less water wasted.