The internet is a weird place, to put it mildly. A quick glance at trending stuff leads you to TikTok dances that all look the same, three-ingredient meals that you can never replicate because you’ll never find those ingredients at your local grocery, pictures of frog cakes and of course, Salt Bae.
You will also find a viral video of a guy slapping a chicken… a lot.
Louis Weisz is a 23-year-old content strategist and digital content creator from Columbus, Ohio. His YouTube channel which is at 470,000 subscribers has mostly educational content. His videos are usually him trying to build the boat from Minecraft and making pasta with alcohol but now, he's the chicken slapper guy.
Two of his videos featuring the extensive rig that he built aptly titled “the Meatbeater” which he used to slap the chicken until it was cooked have reached a total of 18.5 million viewers.
The idea came to Weisz after he saw a Reddit post in 2019. “It was probably someone who was high on weed and decided it was fun to ask Reddit if you can cook a chicken by converting kinetic energy to thermal energy,” he told VICE. The post reasoned that by slapping a chicken, the kinetic energy trapped inside the chicken can be converted to thermal energy to help cook it. Deep in the comments section, nerds took out their calculators and reasoned that while it's possible, it's beyond human strength. What a shame.
But Weisz took it upon himself to prove them wrong. Over two months, Weisz designed, theorised, and came up with prototypes that failed. “I’d discuss it with the members of my Discord, I came up with several ideas but later scrapped them,” he said. His Discord server is filled with science geeks, physics nerds, and amateur engineers. “No one's an expert here, we're doing this out of our own passion and love for science.”
Ultimately, Weisz built the “MeatBeater 9000”: a slapper made of wood and motors. “It wasn’t an easy process, the slapper came apart several times while testing,” Weisz recalled. The first time he live-streamed the slapper was in December 2020, where his attempt was mildly successful.
The chicken slapper worked, kind of. But was it able to cook the chicken? Umm, no. "In order to cook the chicken, the temperature needs to rise constantly, but the temperature kept dropping and the rig broke apart several times." The biggest challenge was getting the temperature of the chicken to increase. A chicken is usually fully cooked at 75 degrees Celsius, and Weisz’s raw chicken was at the base temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. A Bluetooth thermometer was inserted inside the chicken so he could live track the temperature of the chicken as it slapped.
Weisz later posted the video on TikTok in several parts, which later reached celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey who called him “a fucking donut”. Soon enough, the video had gained several millions of views on TikTok. “I wasn’t expecting that, but then again, it’s not particularly difficult for videos to go viral on TikTok.” Weisz said. “But it was a mess [his first attempt], so I decided to try again.”
Weisz then built a modified version of the Meatbeater called “The Poultry Punisher”. This rig showed some promise, but failed entirely. Instead of cooking the chicken, the rig’s repeated slaps left a glaring hole in one part of the chicken and spilled small bits of chicken everywhere. “There were bits of chicken everywhere, on my face, my outfit, the floor… it was as gross as you think it was.”
Weisz is not the first YouTuber who has tried cooking a chicken by slapping it. Several have given it a go before and failed. All of them were slapping the chicken with their own hands, but Weisz decided to build an automated slapper to speed up the process and keep the temperature intact.
After the success of the first video, Weisz was determined to actually cook a chicken with the MeatBeater. “I had spent so much time on it already, I decided why not give this another go?” He reworked the MeatBeater with a better motor, an arm that gave him more impact control, and adjustable speed settings. He livestreamed the process on YouTube, Discord, and Reddit. “My videos used to get 10,000 views on a good day, and my streams were filled with a couple of hundred people but this time, I had 50,000 viewers watching,” he said. As thousands of viewers waited for the MeatBeater to work its magic, the rig failed multiple times. Ultimately, Weisz replaced the chicken with steak. “I crossed my fingers and waited for it to cook.”
But after hours of slapping and almost failing, the steak was finally cooked. “I don’t have the words to describe the feeling, it was emotional,” said Weisz, who ate the steak and described it in his video as: “The texture is pretty bad, like you’ve been chewing it for sometime already but if you can get past that, it’s pretty good!”
While editing the video, Weisz discovered that the chicken that he had later swapped out for the turkey had also actually reached the optimum temperature and was cooked. However, he could not eat the bird. “I’d love to eat it but unfortunately due to a leak in the insulated balloon, the chicken was contaminated with fiberglass and aerogel. I couldn’t risk eating that for a YouTube video.”
Weisz is not the first human to cook meat by converting kinetic energy to thermal energy. In 1987, researchers from the University of Ohio flung a turkey off a ledge 72 times over the course of six hours and recorded the temperature of the “slow cooked” turkey.
Now that we know how the MeatBeater works, and it’s actually possible to beat the meat to cook it, how long does it actually take to cook? “Hours, literally hours,” replied Weisz. With the rig breaking apart several times, it almost took him a whole day to cook the steak.
Is it possible for him to season the meat with salt and spice before putting it through the slapper? “Absolutely, I mildly seasoned the meat and coated it with a little bit of oil so that it’s easier for the slapper to move.”