Published April 20, 2009
Here's how to fry your own bacon — and the pan it's cooking in too.
Popular Science columnist and author of "Mad Science" Theodore Gray has built what he calls the "Bacon Lance" — a complex arrangement of pork that, when coupled with a blast of pure oxygen, can cut through steel.
As Gray explains, regular "thermal lances" are bundles of iron and magnesium pipes that, when lit as oxygen is pumped through them, release huge amounts of heat — or, as he puts it, thermal energy.
He realized that certain foodstuffs might work as well. So he took several slices of prosciutto — "a superior engineering grade of meat" — rolled them around fiberglass rods and baked them overnight. Then he bundled those, wrapped more prosciutto around it and baked that.
An additional layer of fresh prosciutto for insulation, and the Bacon Lance was ready.
Attached to a high-pressure blast of pure oxygen and lit, the meat weapon did quite well in cutting through a baking pan.
A vegetarian option, hollow bread sticks packed inside a cucumber, didn't work as wonderfully, mostly because the bread burned too quickly.
"The pressure-containment capacity of a standard cucumber is remarkable," Gray added.