March 29, 2011 | | Comments 26

Meat Glue

Someone sent me a link to a video about Meat Glue and the application of it in the food industry.

Having never heard of it before, I was certainly intrigued by it. Here watch this:

 

I did a search on Wikipedia to find out more. Meat Glue has a sexier name. It is called Transglutaminase. Apparently this is not new. Meat Glue had been discovered since … 1960s. As a matter of fact, Heston Blumenthal introduced the Meat Glue in the Fat Duck restaurant (was #2 best restaurant in the world after El Bulli). I am trying to find out more about this. I read that Blumenthal uses Meat Glue to bind different meat together (like chicken with pork, etc). Read more about this here and here.

It seems like, as a product, Meat Glue is safe. It is the application of it that is the problem.

Is Meat Glue something you would be concerned about?

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  1. TimeToChow says:

    I’ve used TG. Mainly to bind seafood and chicken. You can make really nice presentation. Only need to use a sprinkling. Manufactured by Ajinomoto. They have a few versions of TG. They are used in making sausages. But there might be some deceitful advertising by manufacturers thus giving this a bad name.
    I don’t think it would be a concern locally as only a handful of Chef’s use this here.

  2. Oliver says:

    I think this is similar to veneer in the wood industry. It can make good wood stretch a lot more than using solid wood everywhere.

    It is a bad thing if they use meat glue to front beef stew as good steak. However, if they use it to make sausages bind better or if they tell buyers that this is stewing beef but in better presentation then the buyer can make the intelligent choice.

    In this case though, they still have to handle the bacteria issue with rare meats since exposed meat surfaces are now buried in the middle.

    More knowledge should always be better than ignorance, shouldn’t it? Or do we prefer bliss?

  3. Buddha Boy says:

    I have some meat glue, but have yet to do anything with it. Probably going to work on something the next long weekend.

    BB

    • Ben says:

      Hi Buddha Boy: Looking forward to read about your experiment with the meat glue. Have decided how you are going to use it? Where did you buy it from and how much was that? I thought one could easily buy it from eBay but they don’t have any. Maybe eBay does not want people to sell these? Ben

  4. Eric Y says:

    Oh wow. Thanks for the posting Ben. Opens my eyes a bit on this one. I guess it’s like anything…there’s a lot of food out there we consume where we (general public) don’t have much insight on how it’s produced, and it doesn’t dawn to think twice once it hits the plate. Kinda like the chicken nugget or hotdog, to use as a very weak example.

    Just amazed somewhat (and bit horrified at times) at how produce and meats are generated for consumption. On a passing thought, I always wondered of the Costo chicken thighs are water injected. They are so large and plump looking =)

  5. HR says:

    it appears you can buy it off Amazon.com … but they don’t ship to Canada

    • Ben says:

      Thanks HR. It is not cheap it seems — about $50 a pound. Have you tried using it before? Ben

      • HR says:

        yeah…

        no, i have not tried it yet ben, i’m sure if you look around hard enough on the web you can probably find it a bit cheaper…

        i’m still working with the jars of sodium alginate and calcium chloride i bought… lol, one step at a time…

        • Ben says:

          Hi HR: Sodium Alginate? What is that? I am curious. LOL! I just checked wikipedia to learn a bit more. I am wondering if it is the same technique used to make the “olives” in this post of the elBulli meal we had in Spain.

          • HR says:

            Hi Ben,

            i’m pretty sure it’s the same technique, though i’ve only used it to make caviar sized juice spheres for drinks…. i’m not sure what i would use to make such large drops of liquid… hmmm… interesting… i’ll have to think about it….

  6. Jacob says:

    Ben, maybe I’m showing my cheapskate colors, by I think this is a great idea — we get more “mileage” out of every cow, because we’re able to reconfigure the scraps into a fully-integrated product again. People can’t tell the difference, so there’s no loss of value. As long as the binding agent doesn’t cause health problems, I think it’s a pretty wise logistical solution to maximizing the value of what would otherwise become wasted food.

    It’s very economical is what I’m getting at.

  7. HM says:

    Seen this awhile ago & was quite intrigued by the technique. BB, waiting for you to post your experiment! Still owe you the AKC distributor’s address, will inbox you.

    • Buddha Boy says:

      For the meat glue, it was my friend Little Lee that purchased it, we went halfers because it cost $90US, he picked it up from the states, shipping from Amazon to a US mail box. Little Lee also likes to play with alginates, he’s been doing it for a few years already. Funny thing is, Little Lee has never worked in a restaurant and is not in the industry, yet he has a sous vide surpreme and many other food related gadgets.

  8. TimeToChow says:

    Ben u dont need TG to make tur-duc-ken . :-D TG has a limited shelf life esp once it is open. Must be used quickly or it losses it’s binding ability.
    SA and CC are used in ‘sperification’ ie ‘ravioli’ and ‘caviar’
    You dont need to be a chef to do MolGas. If you are successful in the science lab in school, chances are you will have more success more than a chef’s. Just make sure you thoroughly understand food handling and safety. Locally most resto dont bother as it adds food and labour cost. which means higher prices :-(
    This items locally are really expensive so most get it online as suggested.

    one way to tell that ‘meat glue’ is used is by looking at the ‘grain’ of the protein. you can glue protein together but it wont have the same texture as they are not uniform like a steak or fish filet. It’ll look nice but wont be exactly the same since you are using more than one piece of protein.

    i’ve only used it for presentation purposes and TG is brilliant. it would be deceitful to ‘glue’ together pieces and sell it as a more premium cut. i have never seen that locally. again cost prohibitive.

    • Ben says:

      Hi TimeToChow: I gotta tag along you next time you do these sort of stuff. I am intrigued but too bad I don’t have much time on my hands. Thanks for all the info. So what kind of exciting cooking techinques are you working on these days? Oh … yeah … sorry again about the 8GTCC thing. I am just totally swamped and allow myself to get waylaid on my priorities. Ben

    • Ben says:

      Hi TimeToChow: You mentioned that the Meat Glue/TG has limited shelf life. Do you know how long is the shelf life? Ben

  9. TimeToChow says:

    reverse sperification is trickier and may require trying it a few times. you really need an accurate digital scale.
    and it cost over $100/ locally for TG. Cheaper to buy it online.
    besides the ‘olive’ you can encassed a sauce for a better presentation.

    • Ben says:

      Very interesting. All these are new to me TimeToChow. I just checked a few YouTubes about these. I am sure there are a lot more to discover. Say, if I want to get started from basement on these MolGas stuff, where is one simple resource I could get? Ben

      • HR says:

        Ben,

        some of the stuff like sodium alginate and calcium choride you can get from Gourmet Wharehouse on hastings… they have a few other ingredients too.. but some of the other stuff, like meat glue i dont think i’ve seen there…

        • fmed says:

          I have purchased specification stuff at Gourmet Warehouse in the past and have made various “caviars”, etc with my kids. You will also need some other tools like syringes, a good instant read thermometer, etc.

          Playing with hydrocolloids is probably the best entry-point into home molecular gastronomy because the materials are pretty easy to get, are relatively cheap, and have good shelf-life.

          Also there are a number of enthusiast and pro websites that talk about all of this. eGullet has a number of threads, and Khymos http://blog.khymos.org/recipe-collection/ ; Seattle Food Geek http://seattlefoodgeek.com/ and quite a few others.

  10. timetochow says:

    the Canadian distributor for Ajinomoto’s Tg is Thomas, Large & Singer Inc. Ben, you may ask for a sample. I mainly use Activa GS. While tranglutamine(TG) is the main ingredient there are several ‘formula’ may add maltodextrin, gelatin, sodium cassenite, skim milk protein depending on the application.
    TG is an enzyme, subject to degradation by oxygen. Once the TG package is opened it will start to lose its binding ability eventually it will useless. I vacumm seal and keep it in the freezer.

    For sperification(controlled gelification), there are ‘kits’(including a line created by El Bulli, Texturas) you can buy that will include the syringes etc that may be useful to trying it out. One local supplier is Qzina. I think dcduby has an online store and will supply smaller quantity.

    while all this is neat and ‘cool’. it doesnt make the food taste better.

  11. timetochow says:

    I’ve also used the Activa RM for sprinkle method, where I use the GS in slurry form. It is true that you can bind to end of tenderloins and make it appear like a larger more valuable cut. You possibly could line up the fiber alignment to fool most people. Though i personally have not seen it myself.

    Have you heard or seen the PacoJet?

  12. [...] Meat Glue.  The idea definitely sticking in my head. [...]

  13. Lindy says:

    There isn’t anything in this world that would make me say this is okay, are you kidding me. Go to “artificial meat” we have taken crazy ideas and have justified them , bought into ideas and beliefs others have put forward, what in the world has happened to “REAL FOOD”

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