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Barbecue by Meteorite

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One of the best kept secrets of the aficionados of the meteorite world is the incredible culinary delight to barbecue by meteorite.

It was back in August 1993 during the Perseid Meteor Shower that I was first tasted the succulent savory flavor of a barbecue by meteorite. World renowned amateur astronomer, Gerry Rattley, led thirty of us from the East Valley Astronomy Club to an abandoned cattle ranch in a pine forest penned by gnarled wooden fencing deep in the remote Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, Arizona to view the Perseid Meteor Showers and taste the most amazing barbecue by meteorite I could have ever imagined.

Gerry’s observing skills and knowledge set him apart from the average amateur. He was the first person in the world to see all 110 Messier astronomy observing objects in one night in what has now become an annual event called the Messier Marathon in late March. Worldwide annually now a half million others try to match his observing prowess. Then he became the first amateur to prove that asteroids had moons when he observed and timed an asteroid and its small moon occulting a bright star even before NASA even believed asteroids had moons. Gerry was finally the first person to discover the cooking properties of fresh meteorites. He knew exactly what was in store for us this night more than we could have ever realized.

Earlier that evening Gerry had set up a super tall wood bonfire complete with kindling with a cooler full of top steaks, ribs, and shish kebabs off to the side. He had figured out in advance the exact spot where the incoming meteor would land to place the bonfire. He was like an old sage fishing buddy who always knew the best spots to reel in the biggest bass.

The Perseid Meteors were expected to put on their best display of the century that year as Comet Swift-Tuttle, which produces the shower, had just passed by Earth in its once every 133 year orbit laying down a stream of new meteoritic particles guaranteeing a storm to be remembered with one special out-of-this-world treat. The meteors began right on cue flying out like spokes in all directions but pointing always backwards to the source radiant in the Constellation Perseus.

Finally, just after midnight, a spectacular Perseid fireball came absolutely straight towards us exactly out of the center of the radiant shining like the full Moon. The meteor grew three-dimensionally and exploded in a great flash. The desert lit up all around us. It then dimmed to a flaming brand, but it kept on coming finally developing an arc just before it hit. Gerry yelled, “Incoming!” and we all ducked. It exploded smack dab in the middle of the bonfire instantly setting it ablaze.


Suddenly, the most amazing aroma I had ever smelled swept over us. It was a rich, sweet, woody carbon smell emanating from the center of the bonfire. Gerry quickly set up the grill on the bonfire, which had burned down quickly, with the meteorite embers in its center and put the steaks, ribs, and shish kebabs on the fire. A great feast was had by all.

 meteorite ribs.jpg

I later discovered myself that only very fresh carbonaceous meteorites are good for cooking after I had found my first fresh carbon Tagish Lake Meteorite in the Yukon Territory of northern Canada in 2001. The smell of the first meteorite was so amazing that I learned to find them by my nose. I tossed some of the smaller ones I had found into my campfire and enjoyed a fabulous cookout. There have been over 500 scientific papers written up about what the Tagish Lake Meteorite teaches us about the origin of our solar system, but not a single one yet describes its sensual aroma or its culinary cooking properties.

It takes a certain type of fresh meteorite to get the best flavor. Irons meteorites and most stoney meteorites are far too sulfurous and smelly, like rotten eggs, to be used for cooking. The sweet smell of a fresh fallen carboniferous meteorite though sends the taste buds into ecstasy. Random sporadic carbon meteorites are far too unreliable to know where they will land to set up a barbecue pit. But the special class of carbons that are found in the cometary dust of the largest annual meteor showers are amazing. You need to locate the shower sky radiant and set up your bonfire in a remote area where the largest meteor will come exactly out of the center of that radiant to hit your target.

Like the the master teacher Gerry Rattley, I have learned where to set up the next bonfire for my own Barbecue by Meteorite feast. You are all welcome to join me this coming August for the Perseid Meteor Shower deep in the heart of the Superstition Mountains for the best barbecue you will ever have.

Let’s enjoy some good eats this summer!

RSVPs welcome,


Edited by billpeters
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It's my understanding that the extraordinary flavor added to the meat from a barbecue by meteorite is from the extra carcinogenic properties added to the meat, the only other way I have found to even come close to that taste short of the proper timing to have the correct type of meteorite land in your bonfire is to add several carats of high quality diamonds to your coals 15 minutes prior to grilling your steaks but the taste still isn't quite the same but as close as you can get otherwise!  

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  • 11 months later...

Had a great Barbeque by Meteorite feast Sunday night during the Geminid Meteor Shower. The annual Geminids produce on average the highest count of meteors of any meteor shower. Nearly 100 meteors can be seen per hour during the peak night of December 13/14. The good news is that the Gemini twin stars where the radiant of meteors seem to originate are at a north celestial latitude and rise earlier in the evening than nearly all other meteor showers making barbequing and observing much less late night. 

I set up my barbeque wood pile on the dirt hill just beyond the cul de sac at the dark desert intersection of the Beeline and Bush Highways northeast of Fountain Hills, AZ exactly where I knew that special ember would land. The shower produced a steady stream wheel spoke of meteors all night long. Then about 10:45 p.m. two simultaneous meteors in tandem in an absolute straight line precursed the main event.  Right on queue just afterwards a magnificent fireball came straight out of the radiant as a glowing brilliant orb coming right at me lighting up the nearby desert and I knew we were in for a treat. It landed smack in the center of my woodpile bursting it into flame. The Geminid Meteors produce those savory carbonous embers that add that special out of this world flavor. I waited for the wood to burn down and put the grill over the fire. Then I grabbed the beef ribs and put them on the grill adding my own special sauce.

There were about ten of us properly masked waiting for our taste buds to be tantalized. We were not disappointed.

A great feast was had by all.



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