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Ovens & Ranges

Forget Charcoal: Lava Is the Ultimate Grilling Solution

Seriously, though... don't try this at home.


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There are some foods you simply must cook over high heat, and if you're like me, you're probably frustrated that your stove just can't get hot enough.

High-end steakhouses, for instance, use salamander broilers that can get up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Just try hitting those temps in the ancient oven that came with your house.

Well, pro-grade restaurant appliances are one way to get a great crust on your steak, but they're not the only way. Just ask professional foodie-raconteurs Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, who recently journeyed to Syracuse University to cook over hot lava.

Yes, lava.

Syracuse professors Robert Wysocki and Jeff Karson have modified a bronze furnace to turn basalt—an iron-based rock found mostly at the bottom of the ocean—into lava. Most of the time, this device is used to study the fluid-dynamics of lava flows, but as it turns out, it can also grill a mean steak.

With a cooking temperature of around 2100 degrees Fahrenheit, lava instantly charred the two ribeyes and corn cobs Bompas and Parr laid out on what looks like a standard Weber grill grate. Sadly, one piece of corn was lost to the fiery tide, but the rest came out looking pretty tasty.

Don't believe us? Check it out for yourself: Professor Wysocki helpfully captured this video of the extreme grilling in action. There's just so much lava.

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But as awesome as it must be to cook a steak with lava, I guess it must have been a bit of a letdown for Bompas and Parr. After all, the duo had just gotten done cooking with lightning.

What's a measly 2100°F when you're used to cooking at fifty thousand degrees? You know, hotter than the outermost surface of the sun.

Hero image: Bompas & Parr

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