In Exploding Steak—a MythBusters episode set to air late this summer—Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman use a PAC Machinery Group's (PMG) VMS 163 Vacuum Chamber to explore explosive steak-tenderizing methods.
The Discovery Channel show, which sets out to confirm or "bust" myths, will examine a commercial meat tenderizing process that uses explosives. Yes, explosives. Lower grades of beef have lower fat contents, which make the meat less tender when cooked. The aforementioned commercial tenderizing process uses an explosion's supersonic pressure, which reportedly uniformly tenderizes the beef. To prevent the meat from damage, the beef must be vacuum packed.
Naturally the MythBusters' experiment would be filmed, thus the show needed a vacuum chamber that would allow viewing of the vacuum cycle in action: The VMS 163's standard configuration includes a clear acrylic cover.
Additional features include the machine's compact, table-top size and its digital controls, which the manufacturer says enables fine adjustments to the level of vacuum. Savage was impressed with the machine's construction: The VMS 163 has a stainless steel chamber and double 1/8-in. seals. "This equipment was terrific, it really saved us a lot of time and hassle," Savage said at the blast site.
PAC Machinery Group, 415/302-4874.