We’re smack in the middle of summer’s stifling heat, and it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. It’s hot enough to boil a monkey’s bum. But is it hot enough to cook meat and vegetables on your car dashboard?

A Chinese team conducted an experiment to find out in Changsha, Hunan Province in July, where the daily average temperature is 32 degrees Celsius. They lined cooking bowls with aluminum foil and placed oil, seasoned beef and pork, potatoes and carrots inside, and then put the bowls on the dashboard of a car at 1 pm on a sunny day. They left them out there in direct sunlight for the rest of the day.

The temperature inside the car steadily climbed, and the dashboard temperature reached a peak of 81.9 degrees Celsius at around 2 pm. That’s nothing that cookware doesn’t get exposed to every time it’s used, but at that temperature, the car literally became an oven.

The sun set at 5 pm, and the experiment ended when the temperature inside the car fell to a mere 45 degree Celsius. The anxious team removed the bowls from the car and were quite surprised to find that the meat had been cooked medium rare and that the vegetables were broiled to a crisp.

Passers-by who hadn’t seen the bowls taken from the car wondered what the commotion was all about and didn’t believe the experimenters when they learned how the food had been cooked. Nobody could argue, however, that the sun-barbecued meat and vegetables weren’t delicious.

This could be the perfect way for busy people to enjoy a summer barbecue on the run. All it takes it about three hours, or a few more if you prefer more well-done meat.  You could drive to work in the morning and take your prepared food with you, leave it on the dash while you work, and return to a savory, hot meal at the end of another long day. Even the environment will thank you for your smokeless, low-waste solution to barbecuing.

We realize that not everyone will be into this idea, but everyone should beware of food poisoning when trying this interesting cooking method. Bon appetit!

Raw meat . . .

. . . looks much tastier after three hours on a car dashboard!