The effects of marinating time (30, 60, 120 and 180 min) and acidic marinade pH (3.0, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 4.0 and 4.2) on the instrumental and sensory properties of cooked Chinese-style marinated chicken were investigated. With increasing marinating time up to 180 min, a significant (P<0.05) increase in surface redness (a* value) and the dark pink sensory attribute was observed, along with a corresponding decrease in lightness (L* value) and colour penetration. Increased marinating times of 120-180 min were found to produce more acceptable end products with increased scores for colour, aroma and flavour attributes. Marinade uptake was greater at higher marinade pH levels of 3.8, 4.0 and 4.2, with the highest marinade uptake (3.34%) recorded at pH 4.0. As changes to core meat pH were not observed, the effect of marinating time (up to 180 min) and marinade pH on the instrumental and sensory properties of Chinese-style marinated chicken were located principally at the surface of samples. Consumers considered surface colour as contributing to acceptability of marinated chicken to a greater degree compared to colour penetration.
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