Möbius Bacon





Introduction: Möbius Bacon

It's bacon with a twist!

For generations, crazed dreamers and bold pioneers have searched for a method to turn ordinary bacon into a perfect loop of uninterrupted beauty. A loop with a single, seamless, salty surface. Never ending or beginning. Ever continuing, ever bacon.

For just as long, mathematicians and butchers alike have sworn it couldn't be done.

"No," they said.

"We won't give you a research grant," they said.

"There's no such thing as a Department for Experimental Topo-charcuterie," they said.

Today, with the unveiling of the astonishing Möbius bacon, I intend to prove them all wrong.

Read on to find out how to make your very own delicious edible bacon Möbius strips at home! All it takes is a little bit of planning and a little bit of meat glue...

Step 1: Wait... Meat Glue?

Yes, that's right. Meat glue. It's wonderful stuff.

Meat glue is the common name for an enzyme* called transglutaminase. Transglutaminase has the rather amazing ability to irreversibly bond animal proteins. In other words, it can permanently glue two pieces of meat together, leaving almost no trace of a seam. The enzyme is denatured by any temperature high enough to cook meat, so becomes completely safe to eat after cooking.

As well as being able to bind or thicken animal ingredients, meat glue is often used industrially to combine smaller scraps of meat into larger, more appealing pieces which can be sold as single cuts to the consumer. Ethical and safety issues aside, this is a very clever trick which opens doors to some intriguing cookery possibilities.

With the rise in popularity of molecular gastronomy, meat glue has recently made its way into the home kitchen and can now be bought online very cheaply. I highly recommend having a play around with some if you get the chance.

In this Instructable, I'll show you how to use meat glue to fuse together the ends of a slice of bacon, creating marvelous Möbius bacon.

*Actually a whole family of different enzymes.

Step 2: What You'll Need:

  • Bacon! The thicker the better. Bacon fat is delicious, but make sure your bacon is not so fatty that it just falls apart.
  • Meat glue! A few teaspoons will be enough to glue about a dozen strips of Möbius bacon.
  • Scissors! Because carefully tearing apart raw bacon with your teeth just delays the eating of bacon.
  • Oven! This uses heat to turn raw bacon into awesome bacon.

Also useful:

  • Rolling pin, or similar cylindrical item, to help shape your Möbius bacon strips.
  • Aluminum foil, to support the bacon while it cooks.
  • Needle and thread, in case you need to stitch any seams back together.
  • Cooked bacon, to snack on while you're waiting for your bacon to cook.

Step 3: Trim Your Bacon

Begin by snipping off the ends of your pieces of bacon. This is particularly important if the ends of your bacon are very fatty; be sure that each end contains a bit of sturdy pink meat rather than just flab. Try to make your pieces as uniform and symmetric as possible so you can join them almost seamlessly later.

Choose a bacon strip and carefully cut a half-inch notch inward (lengthways) from the end, creating a pair of flaps. Repeat this for both ends of every strip of bacon. Each piece of Möbius bacon will be made from two slices of conventional bacon, joined in a loop at these flaps..

Step 4: Interlock Your Pig Slices

Place two pieces of bacon end-to-end, then slide the notch on one piece into the notch on the other piece so that the pieces interlock. Pair up all of your bacon slices in this way, laying them flat as you go. If you're careful, you'll be able to line up areas of similar color or complementary thickness/shape so that the seams become almost invisible. Trim away any inconvenient nobbly bits as you go.

Press the seams firmly together with a rolling pin to make sure everything is flat.

Step 5: Retopologize Your Rashers

It's time to do the Möbius twist!

Twist one end of each pair of bacon strips 180° and join the two loose ends just as before, creating a closed loop with a turn in the middle. Do this to each pair, then carefully roll the whole pin over the new seams, taking care not to dislodge the seams you made earlier. This is where you might find a needle and thread (or safety pins) useful to hold the seams in place temporarily.

Step 6: Unleash the Enzymes

When you're happy with how all your pieces of bacon are lined up, you can glue them together. One at a time, lift up your bacon flaps (now there's a phrase you don't hear very often) and sprinkle a little bit of the meat glue powder onto the two surfaces you want to stick together. Rub it in with your finger, then press the two flaps back together.

Don't worry about gluing yourself together with transglutaminase; the enzyme takes about 24 hours to work and would most likely bind to the layer of dead skin covering your fingers rather than the gristly meat contained within them. If you're very concerned, wear gloves.

Step 7: Paste Over the Cracks

Once you've powdered all of your seams, mix up some of the remaining meat glue powder with a few drops of water to make a slurry. Smear this over all the seams to make sure they're completely covered.

At this point you might be noticing an alarming smell and wondering if your bacon has already started rotting. Don't worry - it probably hasn't. Well, it might have. If you started out with rancid bacon, you have only yourself to blame. Most likely, though, that smell just shows that the meat glue is working properly.

Just as you've been snipping off the ends of strips of bacon and joining them together, transglutaminase works by snipping off the ends of meat proteins and joining the exposed ends together*. Unfortunately, transglutaminase takes the parts it's snipped off and combines them to make ammonia, which also happens to be the smelly gas produced by bacteria when they feast on rotting meats. So now at least you know why your kitchen smells so bad. Sorry about that.

*Yes, this is a gross oversimplification of the catalysis of isopeptide bond formation. Well spotted.

Step 8: Freestyle Wrap

Cover the bacon and rolling pin in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 24 hours. Open a window to let the smell from the previous step escape the room.

Step 9: Prepare the Rack

After waiting patiently for a day, unwrap the bacon and remove it from the rolling pin. By now all of the loose ends should have melded into each other, leaving you with a series of beautiful twisted bacon rings. Lay these out on a rack on a foil-covered baking tray. Don't worry if they don't hold their shape just yet - raw Möbius bacon is notoriously non-orientable.

Start cooking the bacon in the oven at about 400°F / 205°C.

Step 10: Provide Support

After a few minutes, the bacon will begin to firm up. Before it turns crispy, take it out of the oven and place a rolled sheet of aluminum foil in the center of each loop to provide support. Take this time to pose your bacon into perfect Möbius strips.

Return the bacon to the oven and cook it until it becomes delightfully crunchy at the edges.

Step 11: Almost There...

Remove the bacon from the oven and leave it to rest in the open (i.e. warm but turned off) oven for a few minutes. Take this time to mop off some of the excess fat from the bacon's surface.

Step 12: Victory!

Congratulations! You have made Möbius bacon!

What you do with your Möbius bacon is up to you, but I recommend eating it, sharing it with friends or sending it to the Instructables HQ for rigorous scientific testing. Enjoy!



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    What wonderfully fun reading this was! Wordsmithing combined with an instructable is the best thing I've seen here in years. It is overwhelmingly refreshing to read something written by someone who can actually write well because it is so rare to find these days, especially on the internet. This project might be fun to make for the grandkids, IF I knew where to find the Moo Glue. Does it really exist for the playful and creative culinary creator? One nice thing about it is that if it is a complete failure, one can still eat the evidence. Bravo!

    You took the words right out of my mouth regarding PenfoldPlant's excellent writing. This man is a god of maths and meats (not to mention microbiology), and he may have just presented us with the key to creating real turducken!

    Thank you very much. It's always nice when people appreciate the writing as well as the pretty pictures. You're absolutely right about what happens if this project fails; there was a lot of eating of evidence in the Instructables test kitchen this past weekend...

    If you'd like to get hold of Moo Gloo, I recommend looking on amazon.com or modernistpantry.com - both of those sites will be able to help you out. Moo Gloo is a brand name, so you'll probably be able to find other equally good transglutaminase products with other names.

    It's better when you weave bacon together (so much bacon) This is an interesting trick if you want to make a bacon sculpture (assemble quickly)

    {For Informational Purposes Only- Not meant to harrash}

    This "meat glue" has been used for many years now to rip you off by "gluing" scraps and lesser cuts of meat together and sold to you as eye round, tenderloin, etc. Funny thing is the "butchers" using it are wearing masks and gloves. Kind of like the "farmers" for Monsanto wearing full HAZMAT suits to produce the food we now eat.

    Hilarious! My friend and I just cured our first batches of homemade bacon. I guess this is our next challenge. I actually am interested in many of the molecular gastronomy techniques so Meat Glue yay!

    Haha! Boy you so crazy!

    That glue is very clever until you realize that it is the thing many companies use to trick you into spending extra on their cuts of steak which merely glued together pieces of meat to get extra money out of you... and then if you eat rare steaks, because you assume it is unprocessed therefore uncontaminated in the center, you very well could be eating that crap without heating it enough to make it safe to eat :|

    Cool twist tho... I'm sure it would make it more fun to eat if bacon lasted more than 10 seconds out of the pan in my house :)