Meat Glue Week: De Bakon

If you flip through Momofuku, you see that you need a lot of ingredients you may never have heard of: shiro shoyu, usukuchi, and Tokyo turnips are a just a small sampling. I’ve been pretty determined to find as much as I can and so far I’ve been pretty lucky. The one ingredient that got me really worried was the meat glue.

I looked everywhere for it. I tried to have a specialty store order some in for me, but it was a no-go. I even considered buying the 1 kg bag on sale at Amazon. Then one day, my buzzer rang. The UPS man handed me a thin bubble wrapped envelope and left before I could even ask where it was from. Mail always makes me excited and surprise packages are even more exciting.

I wasn’t expecting anything, so when I ripped into it and found a silver foiled pouch labeled Activa, I did some very appropriate jumping and squealing. At that point I wasn’t sure who answered my meat glue prayers, but after I was done squealing, Mike turned to me to say, “Oh, the sample came?”

Apparently he had emailed Ajinomoto to see if we could get a sample. There was a bit of back and forth – they usually only give samples to restaurants and specialty food stores, but eventually the agreed to send us some. Meat glue isn’t very common, except in chicken nuggets, so I was thrilled that Mike managed to get some sent our way.

Meat glue is a powdery enzyme that has the ability to link proteins, which means, you can wrap a scallop in bacon without any messy toothpicks or you can create monstrous multi-meat roasts.

I wanted to start small so I decided to glue bacon to bacon. There’s a cute little breakfast diner chain here in Vancouver called De Dutch Pannekoek House that serves round bacon that they call “de bakon.” With a name like de bakon, even non-bacon lovers can’t help but order it. Case in point: one of my friends who doesn’t like bacon ordered de bakon based on it’s name alone the last time we were at De Dutch. Unfortunately, he didn’t actually like it, but I still believe in the awesomeness of de bakon.

I’m not completely sure, but de bakon is probably Canadian back bacon cut into rounds. For my version of de bakon, I used regular maple glazed bacon. Meat glue is easy to use: sprinkle a bit of it on, leave it in the fridge overnight and the next day you should have solid pieces of whatever meats you glued together. For the bacon, I just rolled it in on itself. Chang tells you to rub the meat glue in with your fingers for the brick chicken, but I used gloves mostly because there’s a no hands warning symbol on the package. Plus I was worried I’d glue me to myself.

The de bakon came out awesome. I was worried it wouldn’t hold together but after unwrapping it was clear that the bacon was solidly stuck to the other bacon. After a brief freeze to make it easier to slice, I sliced it and put it in the pan.

There was a lot of curling, which happens when you cook regular bacon as well, so I used a pot to weigh everything down. The bacon was amazing: crispy, smoky, and novelty-filled. I used some in some round BLT sliders, which seemed to taste better than ever.

Also, a shout out to Thomas, Large & Singer Inc. who sent me the sample. Their customer service was phenomenal and if I were a large industrial food operation, I’d buy all my meat glue from them!

41 Comments add yours

  1. These are the cutest BLT sliders in the world.

    Thanks! They were tasty too!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  2. squee! i’m sad to hear meat glue isn’t more widely available; i’d just started dreaming of the franken-loafs i could create.

    You could always see if you can get a sample!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  3. Hooray for glue in all it’s forms!

    And yes, that de bakon experience a while ago was disappointing. Although I think my stomach was still in recovery from a separate food episode at the time.

    Over the years I’ve gotten better with my tolerance for tofu and sweets, however, so maybe it’s time to give de bacon another try!

    Come over and we’ll cook you some de bakon!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  4. For a moment I thought you had made pork roll ( which I’d never heard of until I moved to Philadelphia.

    I’ve never heard of pork roll either, probably because I’ve never been to Philadelphia!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:42 am
  5. Are those home made English Muffins?

    I look forward to a glorious period of frankenmeat. I bet tofu would stick too.

    The bread is just bread cut with a cookie cutter and pan-fried. No more English muffin making for me!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:44 am
  6. Rumaki would certainly hold together with this. And bacon wrapped pork loin would certainly take care of the flavor issue, although brining would still be needed to keep the meat from going dry.
    Barding would be a more practical technique with this and larding wouldn’t need a needle. Just cut the meat open, put in fatty pieces, glue back together.
    Which gets me thinking that a jelly roll form would be easy to play with. Cut something, like pork loin to be flat or take something already flat like pork belly and start gluing proteins to it. Roll it up and glue, cut and cook slices. Nice pin-wheel pattern too.

    Sushi won’t give different flavors, but it could be more interesting. Lay thin pieces, like fillets or cuts of smoked salmon to overlap and glue at those points. Fill from there, leaving at least 1/2 inch on the joining borders. Roll and glue. Slice.

    Nice crispy, fatty chicken skin on the meatier textured fish might not be bad either.

    I was thinking of playing with a pin wheel idea…

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:44 am
  7. Very informative post! Love it. Sometimes I get intimidated by the unfamiliar ingredients.

    Thanks Ellie!

    Meat glue intimidates me too!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:47 am
  8. You know, one of the main problems with the round (top, bottom, eye) cuts of beef is that they are relatively lacking in flavor and fat. They dry easily too. But I think brined eye of round with some bacon disks glued to them might taste good.
    Cut the beef against the grain, not too thick.

    I thought about this with filet mignon. The one strip of bacon people use isn’t enough. Really, they should use a thick cut bacon that isn’t full of water, like Neuske’s. But you actually want some browning of the beef itself, so using your bacon that way wouldn’t be right. But for round, I think it makes sense.

    A bacon disk attached to anything is a good thing!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:49 am
  9. Meat glue! That is such a cute burger. I wish I could some myself too.

    Thanks! You should try and get some meat glue!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:50 am
  10. very cute and dainty BLT sliders :)

    They would be super cute as party food!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:51 am
  11. Meat glue? We’d have a hard time selling that to our customers. But cute BLT sliders…Perhaps consider a 3 min smaller egg? Drippy yolk is the nectar of the gods…..

    Muncha muncha

    Funny, I did make a piece of toast with a quail egg in the middle; a miniature toad-in-hole!

    steph on May 12th, 2010 at 10:53 am
  12. hurrrahhh for food glue – and for Mike Scott for introducing me to it – I DON’T KNOW HOW WE EVER LIVED WITHOUT IT, now stop sniffing it Mike!

  13. Does anyone agree that this glue of food discovery could be more significant than Dally the sheep – clearly someone is going to make an absolute fortune don’t ya think….fab, awaesome, brilliant, best, inspirational, I’m SUCH A GEEK but a huge fan of this site, sometimes I just eat my glue neat – until next time glue of food lovers….

  14. What a fantastic product, hoping to see it in our local supermarket soon. I still think we need a generic food glue product for fixing problems with dropped meringues, cracked pies, bent bananas and for those dreadful moment when you drop an egg just before your friend walks in the kitchen ! I mean food glue is the answer to all of these problems and so many more.

    I back it 100% 1

  15. omg omg omg – I chomped such a mouthful of glue of food I’m all toungue tied – and ‘stuck’ for superlatives – great stuff man, I need more glue of food – I think I’m an addict! ;-)

  16. I used to be a heamophyliac but since I discovered food of glue – I’m bleedin fine now – its a miracle – god must have come up with this idea first

  17. Serious question here! What stops you sticking to the food! I mean what if you get a sausage stuck to your hand, do you end up with a second thumb?

  18. Mike Scott – we love that glue of food use with the eggs, a ‘cracking’ idea m8!

  19. But would you ‘shell’ out for some food glue?

  20. Mike – I always wear my purply blue smurf suit when I handle the stuff so I can’t really answer that – my all my family have 6 fingers and they are fine – so I guess a sausage thumb wont be all that bad – don’t worry be happy ;-)

  21. I am wondering if they could maybe create other products such as food paint, I love porridge but always think it looks really drab, if they could create food paint in say a nice yellow or a pastel shade then I would purchase it.

    If they put it in a spray can then you could graffiti your bread roll !! I love tagging my food….

    It’s called food coloring!

    Boom on April 13th, 2011 at 8:55 am
  22. I am amusing myself with this revolutionary new food paint I’ve got from Duluxe – I am painting Mike Scotts name all over my Weetabix which, as I do most mornings, I have stuck together and made into a huge effegy of Scott the Inventor and Hero, and then I am going to be be mostly gluing my my sausage thumb to a plaster as the Dog keeps biting it….must go glue fans – miss you all awfully – stick with it guys…remember there is a fontune at the end of the gluey rainbow!! ;-)

  23. Meat glue (aka transglutaminase) is very unhealthy, especially when the meat is undercooked. Meats containing it carry more than ten times the amount of bacteria than meats that don’t.

    This is one reason why it is not listed in the packaging of processed meats it which it is used. If you value your health stay away from meat glue.

    Check it out:

  24. You might want to check this out.

    Apparently, there are some dangers associated with “meat glue.”

  25. I’ve not used this possible source but the CIA is a reputable institution.

  26. Oops! That should have been FCI (French Culinary Institute)

    Sorry for any confusion.

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