Broiled, deep-fried, steamed, stewed, grilled. These are just some of the ways you can cook a chicken. But have you heard of the guy who tried a new cooking method? It’s called slapping the chicken (no, it’s not a euphemism).
The physics behind the idea is actually sound – according to a 2019 Reddit post where someone questioned if kinetic energy (movement) can be converted into thermal energy (heat) to cook a chicken. The answer is yes. A physics student suggested that one slap would do it – if that slap had a velocity of 1,666 m/second or 3,726 miles/hour.
Of course, that solution wasn’t exactly viable. So YouTuber Louis Weisz set out to find out if a chicken could be cooked by being slapped at a reasonable speed, and how many times it would need to be slapped to be cooked.
The slapping experiment
The first step to the experiment was to figure out what temperature and duration would cook the chicken – it turns out to be around 55-60ºC for at least an hour. To get those results, Weisz calculated that the chicken would need a minimum of 135,000 slaps across as many as 8 hours to cook it.
And so Weisz took two months to construct the super-speedy chicken-slapper and test out the theory. Here’s what the result of his slap-cooking contraption looks like:
As long as the slaps are fast and hard enough to heat the meat without causing it to disintegrate, you can actually slap-cook a chicken! It may sound bizarre, but at least now we can add ‘slapping’ to the list of methods to cook a chicken.
If a chicken can be slap-cooked, then the same principle can apply to other meats – Weisz even cooked a steak using the same method. It would seem that as long as doing something produces heat, you can cook any meat, right?
Dropping meat from space to cook it
Since we’re talking about ridiculous ways to cook meat anyway, another question that people asked about cooking meat was: From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?
We’ve seen how meteors and space debris tend to burn up as it enters the atmosphere – if it can burn stone, it can surely cook meat, right? The answer to that is almost definitely not.
If you drop the steak from 250km (low earth orbit), the steak reaches a top speed of Mach 6 and the outer surface may get pleasantly seared. The inside is still uncooked. From higher altitudes, the heat reaches thousands of degrees, burning the surface layer completely (it’s charred similar to an overly-barbecued meat).
According to calculations by What If: The charred layer doesn’t have much structural integrity, and is blasted off by the wind—exposing a new layer to be charred. Even if most of the steak makes it to the ground, the inside will still be raw.