Low-temperature long-time cooking of meat: Eating quality and underlying mechanisms

Meat Sci. 2018 Sep:143:104-113. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2018.04.032. Epub 2018 Apr 27.


Heat treatment of meat at temperatures between 50 and 65 °C, for extended periods of time, is known as low-temperature long-time (LTLT) cooking. This cooking method produces meat that has increased tenderness and better appearance than when cooked at higher temperatures. Public concerns regarding this method have focused on the ability to design heat treatments that can reach microbiological safety. The heat treatment induces modification of the meat structure and its constituents, which can explain the desirable eating quality traits obtained. Denaturation, aggregation, and degradation of myofibrillar, sarcoplasmic and connective tissue proteins occur depending on the combination of time and temperature during the heat treatment. The protein changes, especially in relation to collagen denaturation, along with proteolytic activity, have often been regarded to be the main contributors to the increased meat tenderness. The mechanisms involved and the possible contribution of other factors are reviewed and discussed.

Keywords: Colour; Juiciness; Safety; Sous-vide; Tenderness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Cooking*
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / chemistry
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food Quality*
  • Hardness
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Mastication*
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Meat / microbiology
  • Meat Products / adverse effects
  • Meat Products / analysis*
  • Meat Products / microbiology
  • Microbial Viability
  • Muscle Proteins / analysis
  • Muscle Proteins / chemistry
  • Pigments, Biological / analysis
  • Pigments, Biological / chemistry
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Protein Stability
  • Proteolysis
  • Taste
  • Time Factors
  • Water / analysis


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Pigments, Biological
  • Water