10 March, 2009

How Do Mad Scientists Grill?

Figure A: Like this.

I am Toaster, and I enjoy barbecue immensely. If it's been fried and then barbecued, it's even better (can Toaster has OKRA and CORNBREADS?). However, I am also a Mad Scientist, and connoisseurs of barbecue are generally known as rednecks. These labels are not exactly compatible. While it is true that I will quickly and invariably develop a red neck if left out in the sun for too long, I do not drive a pick-up truck or think that country music is palatable. I have never gone turtle stomping, square dancing (although my high school required us to learn how to do so in gym class), slough hollerin', swamp boating, or had a moustache. However, in the interests of disclosure, I must admit that I have occasionally been known to let slip a "ya'll" or an "ain't", sometimes even a "y'all'rnt".

Ahem. Don't judge.

Anyway, given the above conflict of labels, I of course started to ponder how I might prepare barbecue and retain my Mad Scientist Street Cred. The answer, of course, is to build an overly complicated device to barbecue for me. Naturally, the answer is a Tesla coil:

However, this Tesla coil is cooking hot dogs in a row. That's the voltage arcing between the hot dogs that you can see flashing in the lower right quadrant of that video. I also remember that in the hometown of Dumpling Toaster (i.e., Young Toaster) there was a hot dog stand guy who electro-cooked the hot dogs he sold. He had a little breadboard set up with exposed metal pegs spaced a little less than the length of a hot dog. He'd impale each end of a hot dog on those pegs and run current through it until it was cooked and somewhat singed. It worked well and the end result was somewhat tasty, I mean, about as tasty as a hot dog can be.

But I don't want to Teslacue hot dogs. I want to barbecue whole motherfucking chickens and turkey breasts at once! So this brings up some practical considerations:

1) In order to cook the flesh, I'll need a complete circuit. Most of the time with Tesla coils one can come into contact with 1000s of volts because the amps are low and the circuit isn't complete. This means I'll need not just one, but two Tesla coils! However, this means that I can't just stand between them and hold the meat, because then I'd either a) get cooked as well, which I do not wish to do or b) have tachycardia and possibly cardiac arrest, neither of which seem particularly pleasant. This is somewhat disappointing, but understandable.

2) Hot dogs are made from chopped up processed meat, usually beef, pork, or turkey (fish dogs?), that has been pressed into a mold. What muscle fibers remain in hot dogs has been completely chaos-ified and as such no contractions will occur. But in a whole chicken, muscle fibers remain in their original orientation. As such, is it possible that, when zapped with thousands of volts, they'll twitch and spasm horribly and cause everyone buy me to lose their appetite, and maybe even spatter delicious barbecue sauce everywhere?

Figure B: Luigi Galvani beat me to it. But he was Italian and this was 1771, so I don't think he had barbecue in mind when he conducted these experiments. His frog legs twitched and he figured out that nerves are electrical.

I searched the Internets for information on this in barbecue, but to no avail. Based on the experiments of Luigi Galvani (above), it looks likely that they will. Gross as it may be to think of, this isn't much of a disincentive for me.

3) What is the probability that the flesh I intend to be barbecue will instead be reanimated into horrific, yet tasty, zombie barbecue chickens? I think that, so long as the flesh has been deceased for a sufficiently long time, say, a week refrigerated, that no reanimation would occur because the cells of the flesh would be far too degraded to jump up and wreak evil. However, it is also possible that this effect could be desirable, especially should I wish to ever conquer Kentucky (which is unlikely in any event).

4) Cornflower + cayenne = purple barbecue!

5) Who wants to come to a barbecue? I'll even make some without heat (= only 1% cayenne powder) for the wusses out there.


Ambivalent Academic said...

I'm totally coming! When and where? If the chicken gets up and runs, can we chase it and "kill" it again? I think that this would add a sorely-missing component of entertainment and primal instinct to the barbecue experience.

Toaster Sunshine said...

AA, I don't know yet about when and where. I don't own property or have a yard, so Tesla coils become problematic very quickly. We'll figure that out later.

Meanwhile, I'm in Michigan and a Mad Science 4th of July sounds awesome (although the 7th would be better because all numbers involved would be prime).

As for chasing and re-killing reanimated chickens: certainly! We should get some new pitchforks and build a fire to keep them clean so that we can chase and spear the zombiecues without getting grass and dirt all over them.

PhizzleDizzle said...

You really are a mad scientist! I love it. :):)

Toaster Sunshine said...

I find that scientists and a state of madness are generally mutually inexclusive. After all, why else would we put up with it?

It pleases me that your smiley emoticon is mutated. Maybe you're slightly madder than you thought?

DuWayne Brayton said...

As such, is it possible that, when zapped with thousands of volts, they'll twitch and spasm horribly and cause everyone buy me to lose their appetite, and maybe even spatter delicious barbecue sauce everywhere?

What self respecting mad scientist cares about anyone else's appetite?

I can ask about a yard or large field in your area. I can't say for certain, but I should be able to manage a yard close to you (I haven't seen my localized friends in a few years). However, I fear the occupants of the home it's attached to might object to large Tesla coils being erected.

OTOH, I know several people from about the halfway point, on into the Lansing area, who have plenty of space. And I have at least one friend in Lansing who has her own Tesla coil (about the size of a small child).

And I'm with AA, if they get to moving, it just makes it more fun...

Toaster Sunshine said...

What can I say? I'm a Compassionate Mad Scientist.