In the wide cornucopia of different profiles a flavorist will work on in a lifetime, there is no question that heated flavors in general, and meat flavors specifically, are the most complex and challenging. Good, realistic, meaty notes are not exactly abundant and, unfortunately, most of the best meaty notes have quite a high degree of profile specificity—an ingredient that will work well in chicken may prove to be of limited use in roast beef and vice versa.
2,4,6-Trimethyldihydro-4H-1,3,5- dithiazine (FEMA# 4018, CAS# 638-17-5; F-1), sometimes called thialdine, is one of the few exceptions to this rule. It is generated naturally by the combination of acetaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia formed in the degradation of sulfur-containing amino acids. Hence it is found in nature in a very wide variety of cooked foods, ranging from beef and pork to shrimp and squid, although in some analyses it may actually be an artifact formed during the extraction process. Perhaps the most obvious profile affinity for this chemical is roast beef, but it also fits very well into the meaty aspect of a wide spectrum of flavor profiles. It can variously be described as meaty, roasted, cooked and eggy, and forms a central component of many “heated” flavor profiles.