bompas & parr sear steaks in seconds with lava and lightning
bompas & parr sear steaks in seconds with lava and lightning
jul 30, 2014

bompas & parr sear steaks in seconds with lava and lightning

bompas & parr sear steaks in seconds with lava and lightning
photos by sam bompas / courtesy of bompas & parr



a BBQ like you’ve never seen before: london-based creative duo bompas & parr has staged a cook out on an artificial volcano and within a high voltage laboratory, searing their steaks in seconds with lava and lightning.


for their ‘cooking with lava’ project, bompas & parr use 2,100°F molten hot liquid. together with help of professor robert wysock at syracuse university in new york (whose particular expertise lies in creating streams of man-made lava), the team fired up an industrial bronze furnace beside an icy crevasse. using a traditional grilling surface laid on top of the tunnel walls, bompas & parr were able to situate 2 steaks and 2 cobs of corn just above the fiery liquified matter, whose ultra-hot properties nearly instantly roasted the raw meat and veggies. see what happens when the liquid rock meets a a 10 oz ribeye in the video, below.



B&P cook out
video courtesy of robert wysocki

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
raw meat and veggies ready for roasting

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
a raw ribeye sits on top of a traditional grilling surface

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
molten hot lava pours down the tunnel ramp

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
the team watches their experiment take place

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
cooking with lava

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
roasted steaks from the experiment



if you thought 2,100°F was hot, what about 50,000°F? that’s the temperature a bolt of lightening can reach as it passes through air. at five times hotter than the surface of the sun, the super-hot conditions only ignited bompas & parr’s creativity, urging them to use the fiery matter as a cooking medium.


at the university of southampton’s tony davies high voltage laboratory, bompas & parr worked with scientists to generate an alternating current through a transformer, creating a 200,000 volt electrical arc within an 8 inch gap. steaks were placed into the path of the bolt, searing them in mere microseconds. ‘the recipe came to me in a dream,’ sam bompas describes, ‘perhaps in the future lightning will find its way into every imaginable culinary situation.’

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
a steak placed within the electric gap

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
firing up the voltage

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
frying the steak

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
an alternating current created through a transformer

bompas & parr cook with lava and lightning
the laboratory

  • energy waste and barbecue: reproducing a small lava river to cook a couple of steaks (and burn them).
    Is there anything more American than this? I mean, it could have been a Simpsons’ episode: Homer using radioactive slags to heat up his coffee.
    It’s funny, yet there’s art somewhere. It can be a provocative metaphor of the first world energy footprint (which would be rhetorical and banal). I prefer to imagine that the original experiment was to recreate the lava river and then, to take it less seriously, they’ve placed a barbecue on it, as to give it a more domestical look.
    It’s good, in some way, maybe.

    giuseppe says:

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