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Will an Egg Fry on a Sidewalk?

Double Yoke Eggs
Ben Davis

Have you checked out the forecast for this weekend yet? Yikes! It’s going to be a little warm for early June I’d say.

Our friends over in the KDLT Weather Center are predicting temperatures near 100 on Saturday, and just a tad bit cooler Sunday, with the high temp hovering around the 96 degree mark.

Whenever it gets really hot like this during the summer months you inevitably run into some chucklehead that says something like, “boy, it’s so hot today, you could fry an egg on your sidewalk!”

So, that begs the question: will an egg really fry on a hot sidewalk, and how hot does it really need to be?

According to the Library of Congress, in theory, yes, an egg will fry on a sidewalk. However, it would have to be one scorcher of a summer day! A hell of a lot warmer than it’s going to be this weekend in Sioux Falls.

Science has proven that an egg needs a temperature of 158°F to become firm. For an egg to cook properly, proteins inside the egg must modify, then coagulate, according to the LOC, and that will not begin to happen until the temperature rises enough to start and maintain the process.

While it’s true sidewalks in South Dakota get a little toasty during the summer months, good luck trying to find one that reaches 158°F.

Author Robert Wolke’s book, “What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained” says, sidewalk temps can vary depending on a number of different factors.

For instance, the composition of the sidewalk, whether it is in direct sunlight, air temperature, etc. In his book Wolke claims, a really hot sidewalk might only get up to 145°F.  You can try frying an egg in that temperature, but it’s likely not to cook evenly since pavement of any kind is a poor heat conductor and the egg itself will actually help cool the sidewalk surface slightly. 

Your finished product might resemble something more like scrambled eggs, instead of one that’s nice and sunny-side up.

If you really feel like Mr. Wizard, and you’re bound, and determined, to conduct an experiment of this nature. While it’s hot this weekend, try frying an egg on the hood of your car that’s parked in the driveway. Metal is a good heat conductor, you might have better luck.

Hey, I’ve got a great idea, tell your husband that you would like to rustle him up some eggs and bacon on the hood of his Yukon this Saturday afternoon. I’m sure he won’t mind.

To clinch the deal, tell him you’ll even do the dishes.

Source: Library of Congress

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