By Mike Pomranz
Updated June 10, 2015

Not all steaks are created equal. Some, in fact, might not really be “steaks” at all.

The YouTube channel Ballistic BBQ just put together a demonstration on transglutaminase – street name: “meat glue.” Transglutaminase is a naturally occurring enzyme found in animal blood, but for culinary purposes, it can be used to bond meat together.

Despite the somewhat off-putting nickname, meat glue has been used for decades for a wide variety of legitimate purposes. Things that obviously aren’t fresh cuts of meat like chicken nuggets and imitation crab meat often use meat glue as a binder. The enzyme has even entered the world of molecular gastronomy, allowing chefs to create unique dishes by bonding meats in ways nature never quite intended (like the shrimp noodles at Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50).

But there is a dark side to meat glue. Some restaurants use it to reconstitute meat scraps into something resembling an actual steak. Ballistic BBQ shows off the how that process works, creating a fake ribeye out of diced brisket. If you’re a conspiracy theorist you might not want to watch. It could have you calling every steak you’ve ever eaten into question.