Exploding Eggs!


If you casually toss an egg onto a hot bed of coals, or into a fire, it will explode.

It will explode completely unpredictably. It will refrain from a large explosion if you utter the words “hey watch this!” before hand. It will explode dramatically if you’ve forgotten you put one on the coals or you are talking with someone who is easily frightened.

The goal of coal roasting an egg is not explosions (probably) but controlled cracking. If you managed to make an ash-marbled egg (instead of  high speed compost) it tastes like smoked bre. Worth the risk.

Here we have two recipes from the same cookbook The Neapolitan recipe collection:


Eggs on the Coals. Get fresh eggs and set them on hot coals, turning them often; when they have perspired freely, they are done.

Then further along in the book:

Eggs on the Coals. Get whole fresh eggs, put them on live coals and strike them on top with a stick so they break, and let them cook; when this trifle is cooked, take it out and put a little vinegar and parsley on top. They are good.

I like to imagine that the instructions first given here resulted in the exploding eggs I warned you about. Eggs don’t really perspire either.

If you break the egg, like in the updated recipe, it won’t explode. I think more ash will get into the egg with the pre-cracked egg method, than with roasting them whole with cooler coals.

Another reason to test recipes before writing them down: explosions.

Use a chemical free fire, burning wood of charcoal from non-poisonous trees when cooking directly on coals.

* 1 to 2 eggs per person
* optional: vinegar and parsley


  1. Once cooking other things on the hot coals is done, let the coals cool until you can comfortably place hand 6 inches from coals for 10 seconds, or they are quite grey instead of white but still warm.
  2. Bury your eggs in the still warm coals, off to the side, not in the middle of where your cook fire was.
  3. Let them roast for 15 minutes or overnight. They will crack but not explode. Remove chunks of wood or ash, and wipe off grit, from egg before eating.

2 thoughts on “Exploding Eggs!

  1. Katie Mendelsohn

    Last year I made a lengthy study of roasted eggs eaten at medieval Passover seders. In all my experiments I never had one explode, which surprised me because I expected to have some messy casualties. The recipes you are citing here are what are called rare eggs. Roasted ones are cooked through until hard. The egg white turns the color of tea, and the texture is creamier than a hard boiled egg; the flavor is smoky and salty. There’s no modern equivalent.


    • I had many explosions. The whites didn’t turn colour but I agree they are creamier than a hard boiled egg in the middle, more rubbery on the outside, but the flavour is smokey and salty and amazing. I wonder what we are doing differently?


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