Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I know of at least one BBQ competition team that uses this product to glue chicken thigh skin to the meat after the skin has been scraped of fat. In fact, I tasted the end works like a charm.

The video mentions the possibility of food contamination if the end result isn't cooked past 140. In the case of the chicken, it wasn't an issue.

No doubt, at some point down the road, meat glue will come up in KCBS board discussions as to it's legality. Thoughts?

Developed in Japan about two decades ago, the Ajinomoto transglutaminase was approved as a U.S. food ingredient around 1998. Originally, it was a means of creating solid meat products (as with the bits in Chicken McNuggets) and improve the sometimes unappetizing sausagey texture of sausage.

If it's in Chicken McNuggets it's probably in a mcRib also.
Meat glue, or the enzyme called thrombian or transglutaminase(TG), is some pretty interesting stuff, and more widely used than most people would think. Unless you're a long time vegetarian (not many on this forum), you've probably have eaten a food product containing it - McNuggets, imitation crab, those oddly perfect chicken and turkey rolls at a deli, etc. It's appears to be impossible to determine if it's contained in a food product, as TG is used as a part of the initial processing, not the final formulation. As I understand it, the final ingredients are the required label ingredients. However, if you see a meat item with the the term "Processed Food Product", it's a good bet you have an item with TG.

Though the formulation or manufacture of TG seems disgusting to many, it's generally regarded as safe. For a while, the use of TG was banned in EU nations, but I believe that ban was lifted recently.

Though originally developed for the food manufacturing industry, it's usage has become somewhat popular in restaurant settings recently, typically those flying under the "Molecular Gastronomy/Cuisine" banner. I've had at least 3 dishes in the past couple years that highlight the usage of TG. WD-50 in NYC features a dish known as shrimp spaghetti. They mix fresh shrimp with the appropriate amount of TG, and blend or process the mixture into a puree. They then pipe or extrude the puree into forms identical to the shape and size of spaghetti. I don't know what else they do, but the final dish was outstanding.

At Momofuku in the same city, I had a dish that was a play on the traditional scallops wrapped in bacon. They sprinkle bacon slices with TG then roll each slice into a small log. Once the log is set, they cut small slices and "glue" the slices to the tops and bottoms of the scallops, then prepare the scallops for service. A seemingly simple and great tasting dish.

Finally, A chef friend of mine who hosts an annual holiday party at his home last year prepared, among other things, an interesting and outstanding play on turducken. Using loaf pans, he created a form for each pan using stacked layers of chicken scallopine, sliced turkey thigh, then used skin on duck breasts for the tops and bottoms. All of the meat had been treated with TG prior to assembly. He applied weights to the loaves for 2 days. Once cooked and out of the pans, the duck skin was removed and the "turducken" was served in slices. It was easily the hit of many excellent dishes.

Having no concern about safety, and inspired by these dishes, I decided to buy the Activa product. I was a little put off by the price, but decided that if I didn't use much of it, I could always sell or barter the remainder to my chef friend. I aborted the project when I couldn't find any solid info on the appropriate quantities or ratios for safe usage at home. I may have to revisit my research.
Last edited by dls
Well, it was a slow Sunday morning so I decided to reactivate my search for more info Activa. Got lucky and found this article/blog on The French Culinary Institute's website that addresses all of my questions and concerns about the product. It's very well done in a professional manner with a ton of good information.

Not wanting to forget the fact that this forum is focused on smokers and BBQ, I continued my search and found a very creative use of meat glue for bonding several different items in preparation for smoking them. It's featured in a YouTube video entitled "Nothing has EVER made me want to join PETA before. Until now!" Enjoy.
Last edited by dls

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.