Pork and Beef Fusion
Pork belly fused to the outside of a beef tomahawk steak, that’s what’s happening here. Turf and turf. Almost-bacon wrapped ribeye. How many ways do I need to spin this for you? It’s freaking delicious and you should think about trying some.
That’s right, the pork belly was fused to the outside of a beef ribeye. Why? Honestly, because it’s epic and delicious. I didn’t think this was going to be a hard pitch. You’re here to look at new and delicious recipes, so this fits the bill.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Actually, you have many questions. The first one is probably, how?
I promise there’s no toothpicks or string involved.
Transglutaminase: Meat Glue
How appetizing does that sound?!
Transglutaminase (TG) is known as “meat glue”. It’s an enzyme that helps proteins bond permanently together through covalent bonds. Unpacking the nerd speak: irreversible process of gluing meats together.
Most TG is created from the cultivation of different bacteria using plasma from cows or pigs. There are a number of variations of TG, including one made from plants. Each formula is designed for different purposes: textural improvements, super strength, low fat, kosher, etc.
The most commonly used is the TG-RM Formula. Applied as either a dry powder or mixed with water, this version is flexible with most proteins. The everyday person (like you and I) would be looking for this version:
What does this exactly do?
This powder glues one protein to another, and it just takes about 4 hours. You want to make sure that there’s a meat-to-meat connection so that you’re not trying to adhere meat to fat, or fat to fat. The proteins need to react and bond to each other, and you’ll likely have a failure if you’re trying it on fat.
Don’t forget: this is irreversible. The proteins literally bond to each other, which is a huge benefit! Think about bacon-wrapped filets and how easily they can fall apart.
Porky, Beefy Temperatures
This idea for a pork belly beef tomahawk was inspired by simply making some bacon-wrapped tenderloin. I worked on a project earlier this year and happened to be using TG, wondering how I take this cook to the next level.
The biggest challenge with cooking 2 completely different meats comprised of 2 completely different sizes is the internal temperature. Pork is considered safe to eat at 145°F, but you won’t catch me eating a steak like that. More like roughly chewing a steak.
Cooking the pork belly beef tomahawk low and slow is the best option. Really low. The worst thing you can do is cook the ribeye too fast and the pork is not cooked enough. Even a pork belly at the barely-safe temperature of 145°F isn’t the most tender, it’s best closer to 165°F.
Read more about the Reverse Searing method HERE which will walk you through the entire process and target temperatures. Here’s also a few recipes that use the process:
I got lucky. This might be obvious to you, but clearly the smaller cut of meat is going to cook faster. I tested this out by bonding a small piece of pork belly to a large filet, and sure enough there was a large discrepancy. The pork was 10-15 degrees warmer after the first 30 minutes and continued to climb as the cook went on.
The image below was about 2/3 of the way through the cooking process, where the spread of temperatures started to increase. I planned to hit this with a torch to sear it off and focus on the areas I needed to after, so I just needed it to be really close.
After about 90 minutes the final temperatures were 127°F for the ribeye and 160°F for the pork. Time to let it rest for a few minutes while I crank up the torch to sear it off carefully and finish.
Flavors that go with both pork and beef might stump you at first, but stick with herbs and chiles. I used a combination of some BBQ rubs by Reload Rub & Seasoning, but don’t be afraid to experiment on your own. My overall flavor profile was chiles, chipotle, mustard, garlic, onion, and a variety of dried herbs.
Please keep coming back! Also check out my Instagram where I’m regularly posting fresh content that doesn’t always make it to the website. I tend to post a lot of my daily creations and experiments there: