Chicken Broth Explosion

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walm25

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Richmond
Hi I actually made an account solely to post this. I have been cooking a lot in my life but I have never experienced anything quite like this and I still haven’t really gotten an answer as to why it happened. I was frying chicken in a vat of boiling vegetable oil, but I had not put the chicken in yet. I was planning on putting chicken broth in to give the chicken a bit of extra flavour. When I put in the broth, my pot exploded enough to send me flying about 5-10 feet back into my countertop. I am a 6’1 175 lbs person so I feel like that’s got to be ridiculous. After that a wave of fire started scaling my wall and has left sot all over my walls and ceiling. For some reason the fire went out on its own which was a blessing because my fire extinguisher was out. But I have no clear answer as to why this would’ve happened and I haven’t found anyone really with a shared experience to that magnitude. I have been terrified to even go in the kitchen until I can figure out what happened and why.
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,909
Are you saying you poured chicken broth in boiling or almost boiling oil?
 

walm25

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Richmond
Yes but I was originally putting a bit into the egg wash for the battering and some spilled into the oil and then exploded which I didn’t expect.
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,909
Water boils at around 212 deg F. Oil is heated to a much higher temperature (350-400?). The oil heated the broth/water/liquid egg solution (quickly) and it expanded so quickly it exploded because the temperature was so high. Water cannot be added to a frying temperature oil.


For instance, water should never be used to put out a grease or oil fire, because it just explodes (the water goes from liquid to gas so fast) and it spreads the burning oil or grease.


I'm glad you are okay! Stay safe.
 

walm25

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Richmond
Thank you so much for explaining I have been so confused since it happened. Probably the scariest moment of my life thought my house was going to come down with that. <3
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,909
You're welcome. Cooking with oil can be a dangerous thing, if it gets too hot, or goes out of control (boiling over), children near by knocking things in the kitchen, or like you experienced with water added. Stay safe and I'm glad your house is still standing and you weren't injured.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,788
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Water boils at around 212 deg F. Oil is heated to a much higher temperature (350-400?). The oil heated the broth/water/liquid egg solution (quickly) and it expanded so quickly it exploded because the temperature was so high. Water cannot be added to a frying temperature oil.


For instance, water should never be used to put out a grease or oil fire, because it just explodes (the water goes from liquid to gas so fast) and it spreads the burning oil or grease.


I'm glad you are okay! Stay safe.

I concur. And I'm glad you are okay and that there weren't worse consequences to this unfortunate accident.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,536
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Hi walm25, Welcome to DC. I hope you stick around now that you've joined. What a dreadful experience! Also glad you are OK. So now you have first hand knowledge of the meaning "Oil and Water do not mix.".... and you could add to that "especially when hot"

To further the explanation, you know how the grease spatters when you are frying something? That is the water in the object being fried exploding. Whether it is an egg being fried, bacon, steak, etc. They are just tiny drops but still exploding and as it explodes it carries some fat that has coated the droplet with it.

When you learned to make pancakes, were you told to flick a drop of water onto the hot griddle? If the water droplets "bounce" across the griddle, you knew the griddle wss hot enough to do the pancakes. Exact same thing is happening, but as you now know, what happened to you was on a grand scale!

You were very lucky in that it was just a "relatively" small amount.

and again, Welcome to DC - hope you stick around!
 

jennyema

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
10,467
Location
Boston and Cape Cod
This is also why you never want to try to put out an oil-based fire with water. It just spreads it.

Also, you never want to cook with oil that is literally boiling.
 

GinnyPNW

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
1,930
Location
Somewhere in the PNW
Wow! Welcome to DC, walm25! Nice to meet you, sorry for the circumstances. Glad you are still here to tell the tale!

I have some lovely "oven fried chicken" recipes, if you would like them?
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
Cooking oil is very flammable. I use it to start my Webber Kettle Charcoal grill. I just pour used cooking oil over crumpled newsprint, under the grate that holds the charcoal. I put the grate in place, load it with the charcoal configuration I'm using, and light the paper. The oil burns long enough to really get the coals lit quickly, and leaves no petroleum after taste like lighter fluid can. Plus, it's a good way to depose of the used oil.

And yes, as the others have mentioned, adding water to hot oil is a sure recipe for a serious reaction, i.e. water explosion that propels hot oil all over the place.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
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