That juicy filet mignon you just shelled out $25 for may not in fact actually be filet mignon. Chances are, it may well be a patty of scraps pressed together and held in place with a powdered chemical commonly known as "meat glue."
Officially named transglutaminase, it's an enzyme that permanently bonds two pieces of flesh when pressed together. It was originally derived from livestock blood, though it is now cultivated from bacterial cultures.
ABC5 News explains the process,
[Chef Staffan Terje of Perbacco Restaurant in San Francisco] took powder and dusted it liberally over the meat pieces. The coated stew meat then went into a circular tin to give it a nice, round filet mignon shape. He was also able to make a New York strip out of thin cuts of round steak. Adding water makes a soupy glaze, and an easier way to coat the meat.
The final steps were to seal the meat in a vacuum bag, adding some pressure to the bond, and then it was off to the fridge to set overnight.
Twenty-four hours later, the humble $4-a-pound stew meat now looks like a $25-a-pound prime filet.
Meat glue is reportedly widely used in the dining industry, most often wherever large amounts of filet mignon are served—big hotels, catered events, and restaurant chains. So the next time you wonder how your preferred dining establishment is able to give away Surf and Turf for $8.99, the answer is in the patty. [ABC5 via Boing Boing - Image: ABC Local]