Resting of Pigs and Hot-Fat Trimming and Accelerated Chilling of Carcasses to Improve Pork Quality

S. D. Milligan, C. B. Ramsey, M. F. Miller, C. S. Kaster, L. D. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Market pigs (n = 120) were rested 0, 1, 2, or 3 h before slaughter. One carcass side was hot-fat trimmed (HFT) immediately after dressing, and the other was not fat trimmed (NFT). Sides received conventional chilling (CC) or accelerated chilling (AC) in a freezer at -32°C for 100 min. Skin temperatures of live pigs decreased 5°C during 3 h of rest, and resting reduced muscle temperature at .5 and 1.5 h postmortem. Early postmortem muscle pH was .3 higher if pigs were rested up to 2 h if CC was used (P ≤ .01). Resting pigs 2 h decreased loin purge about 1% and increased cured ham yields 6% over those not rested. The AC carcasses had about .15 higher muscle pH from 4.5 to 24 h postmortem than CC carcasses ( P ≤ .03). The AC improved loin quality about 15% and lowered L* values of loins and hams about 4% (P < .04). The AC substantially reduced the incidence of unacceptable quality in loins and hams, with the most effect on hams, and slightly toughened loin muscles but not cured ham muscles. Resting of pigs and AC of carcasses gave superior color of loin chops at d 0 of retail display and lowered L* values during display. The HFT process improved ham quality scores about 8% but not loin scores. Resting pigs for 2 h, AC, and HFT in concert or separately are effective means of improving pork quality; AC had by far the greatest effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-86
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Butchering
  • Chilling
  • Fat
  • Pigs
  • Rest


Dive into the research topics of 'Resting of Pigs and Hot-Fat Trimming and Accelerated Chilling of Carcasses to Improve Pork Quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this