Forget Thanksgiving. The most gluttonous day of the year is Super Bowl Sunday, where bowl after bowl and paper plate after paper plate is filled with finger-food bacchanalia that would make even the mad genius responsible for the TGI Friday’s appetizer selection blush (and certainly the ancient Romans). And so, all week leading up to game day, we’ll be offering up our own menu of scientific investigations, origin stories and majestic feats of snacking that not even the biggest sporting event of the year can top. Read all of the stories here.
Meet Kendrick Lobstar. That’s not his real name, but it’s the preferred moniker for the former cop and law student who recently found himself going viral on Twitter two years in a row thanks to his legendary stunts with his air fryer. First, it was a hot dog, which he placed in the contraption for a staggering 120 minutes, tracking his progress in 10-minute intervals (a normal hot dog cook time is just five minutes in the air fryer). The exciting, daring and disgusting saga climbed the heights of Twitter on January 1, 2021 thanks to Lobstar’s vomit-inducing pictures and his chronicling of his wife’s annoyed disposition throughout the process.
Then, on New Year’s Day 2022, he outdid himself by placing a Big Mac in his air fryer, also for 120 minutes. The response was even bigger this time, and was covered by a few news outlets, one of which categorized the stunt as, “an air-fried take on, ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.’” And while Lobstar’s wife was warned this time around, she still wasn’t happy about it.
Lobstar insists he’s doing all of this elongated air frying in the name of research, and has even gone so far as to refer to his fried stylings as the work of a “food scientist.” And so, I invited him to officially report on his findings, as well as his wife’s reactions.
Experiment #1: The Hot Dog
Date: January 1, 2021
Air Fryer Cook Time: 120 Minutes
Motivation: “I was so unemployed at the beginning of 2021. I’d gotten out of law school and didn’t want to be an attorney. I was at home and so bored. One day, I was making my kids’ lunch, and there was one extra hot dog. I thought to myself, ‘What if I put this in the air fryer for two hours just to see what happens?’ That was it. There was no bigger plan than that.”
Observations During the Experiment: “About a half hour in, I knew where it was going, but I didn’t know how bad it would get. I really really thought the hot dog was going to catch fire, but instead it just charred all over. The smell was awful. It was so bad; the scent felt heavy. There’s also nothing I could do to undo the smell. No amount of candles or air fresheners would touch it.”
How It Tasted: “It tasted terrible. It was just burnt carbon on the outside and on the inside it was like a spongy texture. I could only do one bite and that was it.”
Twitter Response: “I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did. I went from 11,000 followers to about 26,000 just from the hot dog thing. That was surprising. I was especially surprised at the amount of people who were genuinely upset with me for wasting a single hot dog. Truth be told, I was probably just going to throw it away or give it to the dog.”
What His Wife Thought: “My wife was so pissed. She puts up with a lot of my bullshit, and she’s mostly onboard with whatever stupid things I do, but the hot dog thing was real bad. The whole house smelled like thick hot dog for eight to 10 hours. Even 24 hours later, you’d still get a little bit of that smell.”
Experiment #2: The Big Mac
Date: January 1, 2022
Air Fryer Cook Time: 120 Minutes
Motivation: “I didn’t plan on doing another one this New Year’s, but my wife asked me a couple of weeks beforehand, ‘You know, you’re unemployed again, are you going to do another one?’ I said, ‘Yeah, probably.’ So, on New Year’s Day, I bought a Big Mac, but I ordered it without lettuce because I didn’t want it to catch fire and ruin the experiment too early on.”
Observations During the Experiment: “Again, I didn’t know what to expect, but I guess I just don’t understand the science behind bread, because the bun got so much harder than I ever could have imagined.
“The smell was awful. It was like the ghost of a McDonald’s — like a McDonald’s had burned down a couple of blocks away and this was the smell. It was strangely sweet-smelling too. Maybe it was the sauce just boiling in there. Whatever it was, it really caught me off guard.”
How It Tasted: “It tasted terrible. I took one bite, and it was hard to get down. The pickles were kind of still just pickles because they’d been insulated so much. The bun was so burnt it had almost a biscotti texture, and the hamburger tasted kind of sugary. I didn’t feel great after that. I didn’t quite throw up, but I did feel sick to my stomach.”
Twitter Response: “I went from 26,000 to 58,000 followers from this one. I couldn’t believe how many people interacted with me over this and sent me messages telling me they can’t wait for me to do it again. I still got some hate for it, though. People were saying, ‘You need to kill yourself’ because of this.”
What His Wife Thought: “She was home the entire time. She just rolled her eyes and was like, ‘See you in a couple of hours.’ The smell wasn’t quite as bad as the hot dog. Still, it was gross, and she tried lighting a candle, but that just made it worse.”
“I’ve done this now two years in a row, so I’ll probably do it again next year,” says Lobstar. “I have an idea of what I can do, but I also have probably 2,000 replies telling me what to do next. Whatever it is, it won’t be fish. My wife has made that very clear.”