Can you cook a steak by dropping it from a great height?

Entering earth

Most of us have probably seen space capsules returning to earth, amazed at the blazing heat that engulfs the capsule. So the question: Can you cook a steak by dropping it from a great height? is not that outlandish. But why would you ask such a question? Well, if you love physics or science, this is actually an interesting "real world" question. And for the rest of us, many of us have probably run into someone just a little too knowledgable about food - and just a little too obnoxious about that knowledge. So here's the question to ask the next time this annoying person crosses your path. 

And the answer? Well, it's complicated, but you can read the full explanation at What If? The bottom line is you will need to drop it from a suborbital rocket, and even then while the outside will be charred the inside will still be awfully rare - what used to be known as "bleu" (as the inside is that bluish red that pretty much indicates raw). Or, as the article describes it "Pittsburgh rare,"  inasmuch as "steel workers in Pittsburgh would cook steaks by slapping them on the glowing metal surfaces coming out of the [steel] foundry, searing the outside while leaving the inside raw."

The problem is, much simplified,  that it's pretty cold in the upper atmosphere so the steak would be frozen if dropped from there and, if dropped from higher out, it will char totally but actually not spend enough time in the blistering temperatures to be cooked through.

And now that we've brought you back to earth, and maybe inspired you to cook a steak tonight, here are some of our readers' favorite cookbooks on the really classic question: How do you cook a good steak? 

1 Comment

  • ChazBrenchley  on  1/18/2013 at 5:21 PM

    Do people not ask for their steak to be cooked blue any more? Or rather, am I the only one? It's the way I like it, and waiters do still seem to understand, at least in England. (I only say "bleu" in France.)

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