I cooked a TURKEY using 880 AA BATTERIES!


I know this is a question that keeps you
up at night, so today we’re going to answer the question how many AA batteries
does it take to cook a turkey. Now, I’ve already made my estimates and the number
is probably larger than you think it is. Now, I need to warn you don’t try this at
home, because working with this many AAs is inherently dangerous. Now,
whenever I tackle a project I try to do some estimates to try to figure out if
it’s feasible and this turned out to be a much more complicated problem than I
initially thought. Now, if you’re anything like me you’re
probably already thinking of how you would accomplish this feat so let me
tell you about how I decided on my plan on how to do this. Now, I usually try
something smaller to give a proof of concept, but you’ll find out in a second
why I just went straight for the moonshot. That’s right I’m just going to
build my best effort and see if it works. To start I had to estimate how many
batteries I thought it might take to cook a turkey. Now, there are actually a
lot of variables and it’s pretty complex, so, I created this beautiful spreadsheet.
To start, I just used a simple calculation of how much energy is in
each AA and then how much energy it would take to raise the temperature
of turkey from, say, 32 Fahrenheit 265 degrees Fahrenheit. Using that number I
came up with about 360 AAs. So, you might think, “Yeah, 360 double a’s have
enough energy to cook a turkey. That’ll work right?”
Wrong.
While technically, yes,
there is enough energy in 360 double a’s, you can’t get the power out of a AA fast enough to cook the turkey. So, this is where all those variables come in the
more power you draw from a AA the less energy you actually get out of each
battery. So, this is actually similar to driving down the freeway at 55 miles an
hour vs 80 miles an hour. And, it’s also like the difference between running or
walking. If you’re like me, you can probably walk further than you can run. Originally I thought I’d use a roasting pan, like this. If you check out the
bottom of this thing you can see that it draws 1450 watts.
I even verified how much power this draws with a wattmeter. How that
roasting pan works is kind of like your house thermostat where it turns on
full-blast until it reaches temperature and then turns off. Trying to use a
roasting pan like that would be like pushing our 360 doublea’s at 300 miles
an hour. At that much power, the batteries would
probably only last about 15 minutes, which you might know it’s not long
enough to cook a turkey. I scavenged my entire kitchen and I found one more
kitchen appliance that just might work. I found this slow cooker that actually
only uses 275 watts. To give you an idea about how much power 275 watts is, it’s
about the same as like a desktop PC or the continuous power output of a
professional cyclist. So, I know what you’re thinking, Steve. Why don’t you just
like build this brick oven with like a heating coil around the turkey or like
insert some heating probes and I considered doing that. I looked into doing
that but I thought the fire hazard of having these heated wires exposed and
the cost of all of the brick would actually make it not economical and not
very safe. Now, the average Thanksgiving turkey weighs about 15 pounds, which
obviously isn’t going to fit in our slow cooker but what if I could find a turkey
that fit in our 275 watt slow cooker? Well, I went to the store and found the
smallest turkey I possibly could that fits in my slow cooker. This thing weighs
6.92 pounds and not only is it great that it’s small and it fits in our slow
cooker, it will take a lot less energy than, say, a 10 pound turkey to cook. Now,
in order to reduce the amount of energy I need to cook the turkey even further,
I’m gonna toss this in the fridge and thawed out as completely as I can. It
would actually take a lot more energy and time, and therefore batteries, to cook
a frozen turkey because you have to convert the frozen ice into liquid water
or mushy meat. We still haven’t addressed the problem about how much
power you can reasonably draw from this double a battery, and that’s where my
spreadsheet comes in. But, before we go there there’s one more variable that we
need to figure out and that’s the efficiency of the slow cooker. How much
energy that we use to heat up the slow cooker actually goes into cooking the
turkey? To solve for this variable we’re just going to design a simple experiment
where we take the slow cooker, we put a known mass of water in we measure the
initial temperature, we heat it up measure how much energy we use
to heat it up, and measure the final temperature, and then we can figure out
about how much of the energy that we used actually went into heating the
water. We have the results from our experiment and we can see our best-case
efficiency is about 33% on high and about 39-36% on
low so we’ll have to adjust our estimates based off of these numbers. Now,
to figure out the number of batteries I’m going to put in our 35% efficiency
here. Let’s say our turkey is 6.92 pounds and then let’s scroll
down see this beautiful thing right here. So, you can see here at 275 watt we need
at least 900 batteries and a thousand would put us a bit closer and it
estimates it’s going to be between five and a half and six and a half hours to
cook our turkey. The next step is for me to get comfortable and to listen to some
music while I do the design that build montage There it is.
We’re going to fill this solid with double-a batteries. It’s the moment of truth. This might be a
terrible idea. We have the box completely made. Look! I even put an outlet on it
this will monitor all the voltages, and I really I’m just delaying actually
putting the batteries in, so it’s time. All right, here’s the moment of truth. We
have one row hooked up. Haha! Look at that! Is it reading right?
127 volts! I think this might actually work. I think the tedium starting to set in.
How many batteries in are we? We’re probably about 600 batteries in, maybe
another 300 to go. That still seems like a lot, but we’re picking up the pace.
There is a problem with the design of my spacers that made it so that we have to
snip off certain little tabs of them, but powering through it. It’s going to be a late
night. Finally! Now that took hours. I didn’t do
the last layer so we’re actually only at 880 batteries because the tolerances and
the way it’s built. It’s not precision enough and so it’s sagging in the middle
and the terminals aren’t lining up. So, this is what we got we’re going to try it
with 880. The turkey is a little bit smaller than I expected here goes
nothing. So our nice large turkey here has been
thawing and it’s ready to prep before we cook it in a couple of hours. So, I
brought on a special guest my wife Rachel, who is also The Stay at Home Chef,
what are we cooking today? We’re making a turkey using double-a batteries so this
is something I’ve definitely never done before. But, I’m just going to put some
butter under the skin throw on some rubs. I’m using HeyGrillHey’s chicken rub
which is great for Turkey, too. But, yeah it should be a good one. I’m hoping that
the butter will act as like a heat transfer mechanism to help transfer some
of the heat from the crock-pot to the turkey and make it a little bit more
efficient in cooking. Yeah, you’re not gonna get a crispy skin but the meat
should taste good. Yeah, we should also weigh it now with because it had gravy
and stuff in it. I wonder if they weighed that gravy and the giblets as well, so
we’re gonna weigh it real quick and see how much we took out and that will help us know how
long it should take to cook, and if we’re within the right range for the number of
batteries that we have. 5.98 pounds! That’s gonna make this even better for cooking. All right let’s see what happens! It’s
working! I can’t tell if I’m on high or low anymore oh that’s high
let’s go low 185 watts no let’s go back to high now we wait alright so we’re at
33 degrees as long as the batteries don’t catch fire
I think we’re cooking actually I think the last thing I’m gonna do I’m gonna
build a little box to put around this to help keeping the heat check this out
yeah we can put some insulation around this I think we’re just gonna put
insulation in the box look at this we’re actually cooking we’re up to 43 degrees
we’ve been going for an hour and 15 minutes were already up to 74 degrees
well this wasn’t good because I just came over here and I could hear like a
bubbling and I had some batteries turned in the wrong way and they were leaking
acid so we’re leaking whatever they leak so I need to swap them out and maybe I
can get more power I avoided a little bit of a problem that one was leaking
spewing a little bit of acid I’ll be happy when this is all over because this
thing makes me a little nervous I’m really glad I put this display in
the battery voltage is dropping a lot slower at low we’ve been going for a couple of hours
now and there’s something that concerns me but I think we’re still okay the batteries are starting to warm up
but here’s the progress so far we’re at 112 and we’ve been going for two hours
and 37 minutes we’re still at 98 volts which means that the warming of the
batteries is probably helping them produce more energy but if they get too
warm I’m going to have to put a fan on them and cool them off batteries are
getting hotter because if you compare it to it over here pretty cold so they’re
significantly warmer I think I’m gonna go grab a fan on the irony here with
this fan is it it’s probably using more power than the batteries themselves but
let’s see if it has an effect and it’s cooling off the batteries at all take a
look in the box oh look at that that actually looks like a cooked turkey
give it a little bit longer to make sure it’s cooked through and then we’ll probe
it let’s take the lid off let’s check the different parts see how
we’re doing on the leg there the breast is only at 155 156 160 I think we need
to give it just a little bit longer let’s see if we can move this probe somewhere now our 157 which matches what
we were getting with the little pin let’s give it a little bit more time oh
my gosh check this out 165 here the final numbers 724 watt hours I’ve been
working on this all day and it’s 10:50 it’s time to take this to the basement
and have a late dinner of Turkey it’ll make me nice and sleepy all right
asleep all right last step enjoy the fruits of our labor try pulling this out
here it is actually hot Thank You doublea’s time to carve this magnificent
beast let’s get a slice here mmm
that skin is nice and chewy maybe let’s see here let’s cut into it a little bit
better here it looks cooked all the way through the
last step is to taste the final product it’s not too bad
hey I’m actually amazed that we succeeded this has been going on for all
quite a while I’ve been working on this project for a couple weeks now and I’ve
done all sorts of design engineering and testing and it’s amazing to have it
finally come to fruition and actually succeed with my moonshot and remember it
this was a moonshot like I didn’t do any smaller experiments because the
logistics of doing a smaller experiment wouldn’t work out it wouldn’t be
efficient and effective so we just went straight for it and we hit the moon with
this thanks so much for watching hopefully you enjoy this video hopefully
you learned a little bit and if you want to support me subscribe like and follow
click the notification bell all that jazz and also if you have any other
great ideas for things that we can do with double A batteries I’d love to hear
them because this was amazing oh you thought the video was over and now I
still have to deal with these 860 double a’s you guys don’t have any TV remotes
to need some half-used batteries do you

16 Replies to “I cooked a TURKEY using 880 AA BATTERIES!”

  1. "Leaking Acid" – In a typical alkaline dry cell battery, the electrolyte is a non-acidic basic paste. A typical electrolyte used in alkaline batteries is potassium hydroxide.

    It was leaking its electrolyte, not acid.

  2. I could've sworn this video had a couple million views — look up and.. huh?

    Am I early to witnessing a rising YouTube star?

  3. The Hackaday article about this popped up in my Google feed.
    After watching the video I assumed you were a YouTuber with a few hundred thousand subscribers and Googled your name to come and join them.
    Quite surprised to see rather smaller numbers than expected.
    Keep at it! 🙂

  4. Not that it's super relevant to this video, but slow cookers should be started on high (or automatic) to get the temperature up as quickly as possible – you want to kill bacteria as soon as you can, rather than giving them somewhere nice and warm to live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *