The objective of this study was to evaluate the carcass suspension method concerning quality of sheep meat. Ten discard ewes were used, with approximately 62 kg of body weight. After slaughtering, flaying, evisceration and removal of head and paws, carcasses were longitudinally divided into two parts. Alternated sides of half carcasses were hanged by the tendon of the gastrocnemius (Treatment 1 - T1) and by the pelvic bone (Treatment 2 - T2) in cold store for a 24-hour period. Subsequently, the Semimembranosus muscle was removed from all half carcasses for meat quality analyses. The Semimembranosus muscles from the carcasses hanged by the pelvis suspension method presented higher softness than the same muscles from the carcasses hanged by the tendon of the gastrocnemius, with values of 1.99 kgf.cm-2 and 3.15 kgf.cm-2, respectively. Treatment 2 presented lower meat cooking losses than Treatment 1, with average values of 32.14 and 33.44%, respectively. The remaining meat quality parameters evaluated were not influenced by the carcass suspension method. We concluded that the carcass suspension method influenced meat softness and losses by cooking, with better results for carcasses hanged by the pelvic bone.
meat softness; sheep; tendon of the gastrocnemius