Due to the initiative to stop piglet castration, meat from entire male pigs is expected to take important share on the European market which can affect dry-cured ham industry. In the present study, hams of entire males (EM) and immunocastrates (IC) were submitted to dry-curing process. Sex category and salting regime were evaluated using standard (18 days; HS) and shortened salting (6 days; LS). At the end of processing, compared to HS, LS hams had lower (40%) salt content, were more proteolysed, were less salty, and had softer texture and different volatile profile. Sex effect was less evident; still, hams from EM exhibited higher processing losses and salt intake, and were drier, less marbled, harder, and more intensively coloured than IC hams. The panellists perceived higher off-flavours in hams with high boar taint compounds (correlation 0.67 and 0.53 for skatole and androstenone, respectively). The effect of sex category on volatile profile was negligible.
Keywords: Dry-cured ham quality; Entire male pigs; Salt reduction.
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