Here's a link to a fine article in the Atlanta Constitution about why it's a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen. Among other horrors, the article refers to the Great Exploding Chicken Episode of 1982:
Apparently a recipe for Apricot Brandy Chicken published in the newspaper's Sunday magazine blew the doors off at least two ovens in the Denver area.
Though the blame eventually settled on cooks who had a heavy hand with the brandy, the recipe became famous and sparked an informal naming contest at the newspaper, where waggish scribes dubbed the dish Chicken CacciaTora Tora Tora and Coq Au Blam.
I tried to find the recipe that caused the problem, but had no luck. Anyone who knows the recipe is welcome to comment.
On the same subject, I did find this on a German chat site:
"The exploding chicken recipe was a recipe for chicken cutlets which
were marinated in a large quantity of mixed hard liquors - vodka and
gin both figured, as I recall. I had to run out and told the SO and
the two guests who didn't go with me (to the store for sodas) to keep
an eye on it. This they did by lowering the heat.
They were in the living room when there was a sudden very loud sound
from the kitchen; they literally thought that a car had tried to come
in through the kitchen window. One of our cats went scattering out of
the kitchen, wild-eyed, and when they went into the kitchen, they
found the oven door standing open and flames licking over the
chicken. Not realizing what had happened, they figured the cat had
somehow knocked open the oven door; they blew out the flames and
closed it up.
Shortly thereafter there was another, not quite as loud bang and they
found the door open again. At this point I walked back in with the
friend who'd gone with me, to find them all peering intently into the
oven. We pieced together what had happened : the alcohol had
evaporated into fumes, which ignited when they touched the heating
element, and, boom.
The explosion was actually powerful enough to break the secondary
hinge on one side of the oven door. The primary hinge still held, so
the door was able to stay in place (or it might've been the secondary
that held, I forget which way around now, former apartment). We still
joke about opening a novelty restaurant. 'BOOM!'
The chicken itself was very tasty, though. "