Transglutaminase TG2N (similar to Activa RM) meat glue is particularly effective for binding food products that have lower protein content. Transglutaminase TG2N is well suited for binding difficult proteins such as chicken breasts and cooked meats. To bind large pieces of meat, such as two tenderloins, Transglutaminase TGF is mostly recommended. Read this to learn more about transglutaminase applications in modernist cuisine.
Transglutaminase TG2N contains milk protein so it does carry an allergen and will activate much quicker than Transglutaminase TGF. Transglutaminase TG2N meat glue needs to be used within 20 minutes or the product will begin to bond to itself.
Transglutaminase is an enzyme that stimulates a bonding process at the cellular level with the amino acids lysine and glutamine in proteins. Pure transglutaminase is too concentrated to use easily so the Activa products are blended with other ingredients to make it adequate for specific applications.
The main components in TG2N ‘meat glue’ are transglutaminase, maltodextrin and sodium caseinate. Casein is a milk protein so this product does carry an allergen for people with dairy sensitivity. However, the sodium caseinate gives a real boost to the bond, so it’s much stronger than it would be without it.
Transglutaminase TG2N will activate much quicker but will need to be used within 20 minutes or the product will begin to bond to itself.
This 1.76oz package of Transglutaminase TG2N is enough to bind 7-10 lb of food protein.
Both Transglutaminase TG2N and TGF will do the bonding job well in most applications. But according to the manufacturer, Transglutaminase TG2N is particularly suited to bond products that have lower protein content. Transglutaminase TG2N is well suited for binding difficult proteins such as chicken breasts and cooked meats.
You can use TG2N in three different ways.
Sprinkle Method: Sprinkling is the most common method. Simply sprinkle enough on the surface to completely coat the pieces of meat that you’re binding. You can also dip the protein directly into the Transglutaminase. Do your best to get all forming and shaping done within 20 – 30 minutes then let the meat sit wrapped or weighted in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.
Liquid Slurry: mix Transglutaminase TG2N with 4x its weight in water to make a slurry. You can also add marinades or liquids such as wine to the mix as long as they don’t contain fat. You can then simply paint it onto the surfaces that you’re binding, dip it in, or you can add it directly into a meat mixture that you’d like to bind. The slurry will need to be used within 20 minutes or the product will begin to bond to itself. Once you’re adding it to a mixture, the typical amount is .75% to 1% of the weight of the meat though chicken breast will require up to 2%.
Keep in mind that when binding meat, the Transglutaminase enzymes have a tendency to firm and toughen the flesh so it is important to use just the minimum necessary quantity and no more, especially with delicate ingredients such as fish. The presence of salt increases the bond strength of Transglutaminase but if the bond is too strong, it will make the food taste rubbery. In such situations, reduce the amount of Transglutaminase.
The enzymatic reaction necessary to bind two proteins takes some time. Standard procedure is to prep the day before you plan to use the bound meat. Since it’s an actual chemical reaction instead of instant glue, you need to allow 4-24 hours for the meat to bind. Typically there is a hold time of 12 hours or overnight and the pieces to be bound need to be placed in a tight package or held under pressure to help keep the surfaces aligned, without air bubbles trapped in between. This allows the bond to form tightly.
To remove all air bubbles from between the pieces that you’re binding, you can vacuum pack it if local food ordinances permit, or roll it in plastic wrap in order to hold it together in the desired shape until the chemical process finishes.
Mixer addition: Transglutaminase TG2N may be used in chunked and formed applications. Typically, mixing is used to incorporate a marinade into meat trimmings or coarse ground products. After the marinade is adequately absorbed, TG2N meat glue may be added as a dry powder during mixing. Transglutaminase should be mixed with a product until dispersed. Once Transglutaminase TG2N is added, the product should be formed, stuffed or molded within 20 minutes. Typical usage level: 0.75-1.0% of formula weight.
As with any food product, you need to be careful about cross-contamination issues. Gluing meet puts the outside of the meat, which usually has higher content of bacteria, on the inside of the restructured piece. Be particularly careful when cooking to rare temperatures. Use fresh products, with low bacteria content and do not glue them warm. Chilled cuts will slow the bacteria growth. Treat glued meet as you would ground meat.
TG2N has an unopened shelf life of several months but as soon as you open it, it needs to be wrapped tightly and frozen. Only take out as much as you’ll use in a 30 minute period. For convenience, break a batch of transglutaminase into small vacuum sealed packages and store them in the freezer.