Two professors from Syracuse University, Robert Wysocki and Jeff Karson, dreamed up — or we should say, ignited? — a project to create manmade lava three years ago.
They customized a 3 million BTU bronze furnace they had bought used in Canada for $2,500.
To create the lava, they start with Dresser trap rock and use the furnace "like a Crock-Pot" to melt it. It takes about 60 hours to melt enough materials to create a flow that lasts seven to nine minutes.
The school's department of earth sciences Lava Project has since discovered interesting facts about how lava interacts with different materials. The team has done 100 lava pours so far, for artistic and scientific purposes, but had never actually used the lava's 2,100°F heat to cook before.
In a recently released video, British chefs Sam Bompas and Harry Parr demonstrate that the lava can be used for more delicious purposes. They had the professors set up the furnace, pouring the manmade basaltic lava onto dry ice, and put two steaks and two corncobs on a grill above it.
The food didn't take long to cook. The temperature of the lava is about 1,148°C. Apparently, it worked quite well.
"When you cook on a barbecue, you get a lot of smoke," Bompas told the Daily Mail. "Because lava is pure heat, you get meat sealed very quickly, and with a very even char."
The team developed a special technique, sealing the meat with an initial blast of lava, letting it rest, then finishing it off, resulting in the best steak they'd ever eaten.
And here I am thinking it was going to be too well done.
Bompas and his team would like to create special events to share their delicious discovery using these techniques.
Is this setup too elaborate for your taste, or are you craving some lava-style barbecue out of curiosity?? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
- Syracuse University