Cooking With The Awesome Power Of Plasma!

There is something special about food that has been cooked in a grill, barbecue, or broiler. The charred surface brings both flavour and texture to the food, that other cooking methods fail to emulate. Of course, should you come from a part of the world in which the locals steam their hamburgers those are fighting words, but for [Robots Everywhere] the prospect of a flaccid patty cooked in a microwave oven was too much.

His solution? Broil the microwaved meat in double-quick time, using a plasma arc generated with a high voltage supply. The patty is placed in a grounded metal frying pan, and the high voltage probe is run over each side with accompanying plasma and sparks to lend that essential grilled exterior.

The power supply is a fairly simple affair, if a little hair-raising. A simple push-pull MOSFET oscillator drives a pair of flyback transformers whose secondaries are connected in series. It’s not the most efficient way to generate high voltages with a flyback transformer – the key is in the word “flyback” – but it generates enough juice for the job in hand.

It’s hardly the safest cooking method, and we’d be worried about contamination from whatever metal the electrode is made from. But it’s entertaining to watch, as you’ll be able to see from the video below the break.

This is our first forray into plasma cookery here at Hackaday, but we have shown you a rather impressive plasma speaker.

Thanks [spiritplumber] for the tip.

23 thoughts on “Cooking With The Awesome Power Of Plasma!

  1. An idea for a new cook book, “Cooking with Tesla coils”. Seriously though, if he’s cooking the meat prior in a microwave, why not use the microwave to generate the plasma. construct a couple small plates made of a dielectric material to go on top and bottom of the patty and arrange a pattern of dipoles on the dielectric material with spark gaps between them. As for the concerns about the metals, either use a noble metal of something non-toxic. Though this will still likely produce some nitrosamines in the meat, which in the long run may not be healthy, but that’s also true with grilled meat.

  2. Hi, this bit of silliness is mine :) I bought a flyback driver kit on Amazon, but the driver kept killing the transformer if fed 24v. Turns out that the easy fix for this is connecting two flybacks in series and having each be driven by one half of the driver. This basically makes it so that each flyback is running (roughly) half the time, giving its internals time to cool down.

    You also get a longer arc this way, but not twice as long.

    Please take my word in that the salmon itself came out tasty, the surface broiling “feels” the same as if it had been grilled. I guess there’s less CO involved?

    1. Oh wow. Now THERE is some nostalgia. Completely forgot about that site.
      I think it was one of the sites that lead me to Mike’s Electric Stuff or the other way around.

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