EGG JERKY PRODUCT AND METHOD OF PREPARATION
VALERIE A. PROCTOR AND FRANKLIN E. CUNNINGHAM
Patented August 27, 1985
FIELD OF INVENTION, BACKGROUND, AND PRIOR ART
The field of this invention is the preparation of jerky-type products, and
more particularly products of this kind which can be prepared without using meat
as an essential ingredient. Meat jerky products are a well known type of snack
food. They are marketed in sticks or strips which can be stored without
refrigeration. These products have a moisture content at which they are storable
while retaining a malleable, chewy character. They are usually very highly
seasoned, and commonly are smoked or have added smoke flavor. They are packaged
in moisture-retaining casings or wrappers to maintain the desired consistency.
While the formulas of such products have varied with respect to ingredients
and proportions, it is believed that jerky-type products have heretofore
included meat as a principal ingredient, and they have not, as far as is known,
included eggs as an essential component of the formula.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
This invention is based on the discovery that a simulated meat jerky product
can be prepared without using meat as an ingredient, providing that whole eggs
are used as a major component. Surprisingly, a chewy malleable texture can be
obtained by forming the base mixture into sheets or other shapes, applying heat
to coagulate the egg protein, and drying the sheets or strips made therefrom to
a storable moisture content. The texture is further improved by incorporating
textured vegetable protein. By adding flavoring ingredients to the base mix of
the kind used in jerky products, a taste very similar to that of meat jerky
products can be obtained. The products can be packaged in vapor retaining
packages and marketed in a manner similar to meat jerky.
The novel method of this invention can be used to produce a highly nutritious
shelfstable snack item in which the eggs provide a rich source of high-quality
protein. In comparison to beef jerky, the egg jerky products of this invention
can be produced at a lower ingredient cost. Relatively low cost egg sources can
be used such as pasteurized whole frozen eggs. The egg jerky products can be
smoked or smoke added to the formula as with meat jerky products.
A preferred formula for the egg jerky products of this invention is as
|Textured vegetable protein||10-30|
It is believed to be important to employ whole eggs, including both egg
protein and egg lipid components. When whole eggs are employed in the amounts
specified, some additional egg whites may be added. The preferred formulas
utilize only egg ingredients in the form of uncooked hydrated whole eggs. If
dried whole eggs are used, they should be rehydrated before use. From the
standpoint of cost and convenience, pasteurized whole frozen eggs are
The textured vegetable protein (TVP) selected from the commercial products
currently available in which the vegetable protein, such as soy protein, has
been processed, such as by extrusion, to impart a fibrous structure. Textured
soy protein (TSP) is preferred. Such TVP products are prepared by extruding
vegetable meals of high protein content (viz. soybean, peanut, and cottonseed
meals) under head and pressure to restructure the protein to a fibrous
condition. See U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,940,495; 3,480,442; and 3,488,770. Commercial
TVP products are available from Ralston Purina Company, St. Louis, MO, and ADM
Company, Minneapolis, MN. In certain embodiments the textured vegetable protein
can be omitted, since the whole eggs provide a chewy type consistency when
processed as described herein.
The seasoning ingredients are those commonly employed in jerky products, such
as beef jerky. They include spices like paprika, coriander, black pepper, etc.
Salt may be added and may be hickory flavored slat, and also monosodium
glutamate (MSG) may be used. Vegetable seasonings may be used such as onion
powder, chili powder, etc. as well as prepared seasonings like Worcestershire
sauce and soy sauce. Sweetening ingredients may be included such as corn syrup.
Smoke flavor may be obtained by adding liquid smoke, or by smoking the product.
For protection against microbial contamination, calcium propionate may be added
to the base mixture, or the products may be dipped in a potassium sorbate or
As a first step in the process, a blended fluid mixture is prepared
consisting essentially of uncooked hydrated whole eggs, textured vegetable
protein, and flavoring ingredients. The mixture should contain at least 1.5
parts of the eggs per part of TVP, and preferably at least 2.0 parts. In one
procedure, the liquid whole eggs are blended, and then the seasoning ingredients
are added, which may be in the form of a dry spice mix or a liquid spice mix. If
the textured vegetable protein is dehydrated, it should be rehydrated, and
thereafter added to the egg-spice mixture. After further mixing and blending,
the formulation is ready to be further processed.
The fluid mixture formed as described above can be formed into flat sheets or
strips either manually or mechanically. For example, shallow trays can be used
to provide the means for forming the mixture into sheets. The thickness of the
sheets can be controlled by the depth of the mix. In general, it is desirable to
produce thin sheets, such as sheets of a thickness less than 20 millimeters. To
permit the sheets to be handled, a thickness of at least 1 mm is desirable. The
general range of advantageous thickness is from 1 to 10 mm, such as 2 to 5 mm.
As the next step in the method, the mix is heated to solidify and integrate the
sheets. In general, the heating should be at a non-burning temperature
sufficient to coagulate the egg protein. Suitable temperatures range from
about 150o to 200o F., depending on the time of heating. It may be advantageous
to use a two stage heating, such as an initial heating at a temperature of
around 200o F. for a time of from 10 to 20 minutes to coagulate the egg,
followed by a longer heating such as at a temperature of around 150o F. for
several hours, to evaporate water. The degree of heating should not be such as
to produce undue discoloration or offtastes due to burning of the protein or
lipids. After a first period of heating, it may be desirable to turn the sheets
for subsequent drying. The heating and drying should be controlled, to avoid
forming tough or case hardened surface layers.
On completion of the coagulation and integration of the mix in sheet form,
the sheets may be cut into strips for further processing. The cut strips can
then be subjected to a drying operation. The drying should be carried out at a
temperature and with drying equipment which avoids alteration of the character
of the products. The drying is for water removal and not for cooking.
Temperatures no more than 135o-150o F. are desirable. Even lower temperatures
can be used with vacuum drying. The drying is carried to a point at which the
moisture content of the sheets or strips is in the range from about 18 to 24% by
weight. To assure stability under non-refrigerated storage, the water activity
should be below 0.8.
In one procedure, the sheets are partially dried to an intermediate moisture
content above 24%, and then the sheets are sliced or cut into strips. The strips
are then subjected to further drying to the moisture content and water activity
specified above. This procedure has the advantage of producing strips with edges
which are sealed and have the same appearance as the top and bottom of the
strips. However, in general, the sheets may be sliced into strips before,
during, or after drying.
Where smoke flavor has not been added to the mix before formation of the
strips, they may be smoked in a smokehouse. On completion of smoking, the strips
should have the moisture content and water activity specified above.
The products resulting from the process described have physical properties
which simulate meat jerky products such as beef jerky. The egg jerky strips are
in a flexible, deformable, chewy condition, and can be maintained in this
condition by proper packaging. A vapor-impermeable packaging material should be
used, which may be in the form of bags, envelopes, or casings. Vacuum packaging
may be desirable.
A presently preferred embodiment of the method of this invention is as
|Ingredients||Parts by Weight|
|Whole homogenized eggs||148|
|Textured soy protein||61.1|
|Dark corn syrup||14.1|
|Hickory flavored salt||0.8|
The above ingredients are blended to form a substantially homogeneous
mixture. The completed mix is then poured into greased pans (12 in. x 10 in.) to
approximate depth of 3.0 mm. The pans are baked in a conventional oven for 15
minutes at 200o F. At this point, the sheets are sufficiently integrated to
permit them to be removed from the pans. The sheets can be sliced, or the sheets
can be dried, and sliced after drying. For example, the drying may be carried
out in a conventional oven at a temperature of around 150o F., the drying being
continued for several hours, such as for 5 hours, or until the moisture content
is around 22% by weight. The final water activity is preferably in the range
from 0.6 to 0.7. As an alternative to oven drying, the integrated sheets, or cut
strips, may be dried in a smokehouse, such as at a temperature of around 134o F.
for 6 to 7 hours. If smokehouse drying is to be used, liquid smoke can be
omitted from the mix. The completed sheets or strips should be flexible and be
deformable to provide a definite chewy character when eaten.
In the formula set out above, and following the process conditions as
described, including the conventional oven drying, products were obtained having
average moisture contents of around 22% and an average water activity (A w) of
0.655. These figures were based on averages of several determinations.
The above formula can be modified by omitting the textured soy protein and
correspondingly increasing the amount of whole eggs. Processing is otherwise
1. A method of producing a meatless jerky-type product from whole
(a) preparing a blended fluid mixture comprising at least about 35% by weight
of uncooked hydrated whole eggs, said mixture also containing flavoring
(b) spreading said mixture in the form of flat sheets having an average
thickness of from about 1 to 10 millimeters;
(c) heating said sheets at non-burning temperatures sufficient to coagulate
the egg protein and integrate said mixture;
(d) drying the integrated mixture to a moisture content of from about 18 to
24% by weight, said mixture on completion of the drying having a water activity
below 0.8 and being further characterized by a flexible, deformable, chewy
(e) before, during or after step (d), slicing said sheets into elongated
strips to produce a jerky-type product.
2. The method of claim 1 in which said mixture contains from 35 to 65%
by weight of whole eggs and from 10 to 30% textured vegetable protein.
3. The method of claim 1 in which said integrated sheet is partially
dried, sliced, and the resulting strips further dried to obtain the moisture
content and physical characteristics specified in step (d).
4. The method of claim 1 in which said sheet has average thickness of
from about 2 to 5 mm.
5. A method of producing a meatless jerky-type product comprising:
(a) preparing a blended fluid mixture consisting essentially of uncooked
hydrated whole eggs, textured soy protein (TSP), and flavoring ingredients, said
mixture containing from 40 to 60% by weight of said whole eggs and from 15 to
25% of said TSP, at least 2 parts of the eggs being present per part of TSP;
(b) spreading said mixture in the form of flat sheets having an average
thickness of from about 2 to 5 millimeters;
(c) heating said sheets at a non-burning temperature sufficient to coagulate
the egg protein and integrate said mixture;
(d) slicing said sheets into elongated strips;
(e) drying said strips to a moisture content of from about 18 to 24% by
weight, said strips on completion of the drying having a water activity below
0.8 and being in a flexible, deformable, chewy condition; and
(f) packaging said strips in water vapor retaining packages.
6. The jerky-type product produced by the method of claim 1.
7. The jerky-type product produced by the method of claim 5.