Final internal cooking temperature of pork chops influenced consumer eating experience more than visual color and marbling or ultimate pH

Lauren T. Honegger, Elaine Richardson, Emily D. Schunke, Anna C. Dilger, Dustin D. Boler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was to determine the effect of “quality grade” (combination of visual color and marbling) or ultimate pH on consumer eating experience of pork chops cooked to different final internal temperatures. The hypothesis was that consumers would rate a greater percentage of pork chops as acceptable when graded “choice,” had a greater ultimate pH, or when cooked to 63 °C compared with chops graded “standard,” had a lesser ultimate pH, or when cooked to 71 or 82 °C. Consumers (264 total) were served chops in 1 of 2 experiments. Chops in Exp. 1 were classified as “choice” when NPPC visual color score ≥3 and visual marbling score was ≥2 or “standard” when NPPC scores did not meet the qualifications for “choice” and were cooked to either 63 or 71 °C. Chops in Exp. 2 were categorized as high pH (5.88 to 6.23) or low pH (5.36 to 5.56) and cooked to 63, 71, or 82 °C. Chops were cooked with a sous-vide device (ANOVA Precision Cooker, Anova Applied Electronics, San Francisco, CA) in a water bath. Consumers used a 9-point Likert-type score system where scores 1 through 3 were considered not tender, not juicy, not flavorful, or unacceptable. Scores 4 through 6 were consider neutral for tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall acceptability. Scores 7 through 9 were considered tender, juicy, flavorful, and acceptable. Data were organized as a percentage of responses and analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure of SAS for both experiments with models including treatment (quality grade, ultimate pH, and final internal temperature) and all interactions. Quality grade did not affect (P ≥ 0.30) consumer ratings for any sensory trait. More (P < 0.01) consumers rated chops with a high pH (36.07%) as juicy compared with chops with a low pH (24.29%), but pH category did not alter (P ≥ 0.13) perceptions for tenderness, flavor, or overall acceptability. In both studies, a greater (P < 0.001) percentage of consumers rated chops cooked to 63 °C as acceptable compared with chops cooked to 71 °C. Therefore, internal cooking temperature has a greater impact on consumer eating experience than “quality grade” or ultimate pH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2460-2467
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 30 2019


  • Color
  • Consumer preference
  • Degree of doneness
  • Marbling
  • Pork
  • Ultimate pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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