Boil Over!

“Boil Over!”

That’s the call made before kerosene, yes, kerosene gets thrown on an open fire. The subsequent fireball is the last hurrah before dinner is served.

The fish boil is a Wisconsin tradition dating back to the 1800’s when Great Lakes Whitefish was a major export. Fish boils are still common in many lakeside towns, but nowhere are they as popular as in Door County.  The process is somewhat similar to a Louisiana craw fish boil — until the end.

When boiled, fish give off their oils, which float to the top of the water.  This oil doesn’t taste very good, so you really want to remove it.

Fish isn’t particularly appetizing when overcooked, so it can’t take very long to skim that oil off the top.  But how?  That’s where the kerosene comes in.  When the fish, potatoes, and onions are done cooking, a little bit of kerosene is flung onto the open flames.  The sudden increase in heat causes the water to boil over and the oil on the top flows down the outside of the kettle.

Come and get it!


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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • Josh Bulloc

    I want some

  • Raun Lauterbach

    Anything that requires kerosene to be thrown at an open fire has to be good, right?

  • Josh Bulloc

    I agree