JBT Wolf-tec is one of the true innovators in the JBT family of companies. The company, which is probably best known for the Polar Technology brand, revolutionized deli and cured meats through the development of its own, patented Temperature Guidance system, which has helped processors deliver products with exactly the right color, flavor, texture, yield and temperature that customers demand. But more than this, Wolf-tec continues to be an innovator in ensuring product flavors remain intact despite any cooking failings a consumer might have.
The Kingston, New York-based business joined JBT in 2014 after close to four decades producing quality-constructed and precision-engineered solutions for the meat, poultry and fish industries. As division product manager Chris Mason explains, Wolf-tec provides system solutions covering everything from whole muscle processing to standalone machines for brine mixing, injection, maceration, massaging.
“We marinate meat and poultry products to add yield, flavor and tenderness, using injection or massaging technology. In addition, we create high quality deli and cured meats using our whole muscle processing systems incorporating brine injection, maceration and massaging,” he says.
Wolf-tec works closely with the deli meat industry, providing massaging, brine mixing and injection, and maceration systems to producers of ham, chicken and turkey deli meats with anything from simple, standalone machines to fully-automated solutions, both of which are highly efficient in terms of both time and yield.
Temperature Guidance is Wolf-tec’s patented, signature system, which is used to add warmth to products during the early part of the massaging cycle. This, says Mason, helps delay protein extraction and enhance the water holding capacity of the product. It also helps accelerate color development of cured meats.
The system then reduces product temperature towards the end of the cycle. This is where JBT Wolf-tec extracts protein and facilitates water binding in order to deliver products in the correct conditions for customer needs. “This is a pretty unique system and where it really scores is that a traditional ham operation would generally need 24-48 hours in a cooler for that color development to take place; in this case, we’re accelerating that whole process, so customers can go direct to the next stage,” says Mason.
Polar Technology is another Wolf-tec brand, which has made a profound impact on the meat processing industry. Developed as the Polar Massager in 1997 when the company was a small, family-owned business, Mason says the system revolutionized the industry by putting an emphasis on temperature management. Although created for a single product, the name stuck and has since been expanded across a range, which now includes the Polar Dissolver brine mixing systems, the Polar Massager and the Polar Flexcarve Macerator. In fact, Mason says many customers now simply refer to the products as ‘Polars’.
Wolf-tec’s injection and marination systems are used by a wide range of customers including meat factories injecting beef steaks for foodservice and others adding flavor or moisture to chicken products for retail. “A lot of the chicken you buy in store is already injected with a brine solution that helps to extend shelf life and add moisture to the product,” explains Mason. “Typically, a lot of people don’t know how to cook these days, so thermal abuse of products is something we are trying to avoid by adding moisture into the product. This means that by the time it’s cooked, it’s still a moist, tender and flavorful piece of meat.”