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Perfect Popcorn


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A couple of weeks ago, I happened to randomly catch an episode of Good Eats on the Foot Network, and Im so glad I did. This particular episode was all about Popcorn.



Perfect Popcorn


The actual recipe for Perfect Popcorn is insanely quick and easy. All you need is:


  • 6 Quart metal mixing bowl
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter




As far as I know, Popcorn salt is just essentially salt with really small grains, and I also think its not iodized. I've heard of some other people using sea salt as a substitute. I had some, but went for the Morton's Popcorn Salt instead.


Of the butter I looked over, there werent many choices in the unsalted category, but this Land O Lakes Whipped had less fat than the others, so I went with that.



All you do is mix the Peanut Oil, Popcorn, and Salt in the bowl.





Cover with Aluminum Foil, cut 10 holes in the top, and turn the heat to Medium.





When the popcorn starts popping, use tongs or pot holders to continuously shake the bowl over the heated stove (this can be a little noisy and is the most annoying part of the recipe). Keep moving the bowl until the popcorn stops popping, which should be right around 3 minutes.


Remove the foil from the bowl, stir in any salt from the side of the bowl. Then melt the butter in the microwave and drizzle over the popcorn. That's it!





When I made it the first time, I was really impressed. It reminded me of the popcorn I'd get from the movie theater. This stuff is so quick, easy, cheap, and tasty that I will never make microwave popcorn again.


I also learned from the show that there are a variety of popcorns our there. I'm going to start looking for some and trying them out to hopefully add to a running collection.


The Food Network had two other recipes that I havent tried yet:


Savory Herb Popcorn


3 tablespoons peanut oil

3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup

1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 tablespoons unsalted butter


Place the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife.


Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.


Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil. Stir in any salt that is on the side of the bowl. Sprinkle the herbs on the popcorn and gently stir to coat.


Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn, while spinning the bowl. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.



Slacker Jacks


3 ounces popped popcorn, approximately 3 quarts

1 cup salted peanuts

4 ounces unsalted butter

16 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 2 cups

1/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.


Spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray as well and set aside.


Combine the popcorn and peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Set aside until ready to use.


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla and stir until combined. Heat the mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F, approximately 10 minutes.


Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir to combine. You will need to work quickly because the syrup hardens rapidly. Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Cool completely.


Break into pieces and serve immediately or store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

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My wife and I gave up on making microwave popcorn over the summer (now the primary use of the microwave is for cooking bacon). That episode of Good Eats was a damn good one. I didn't realize that salting the kernels before cooking was so important. We still use a large, heavy pot with a lid, though.



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You're kidding right? :)


Scarily enough, I am not kidding. We use it for center cut bacon on our microwave bacon cooker. Cover it with wax paper, cook for a minute a slice and it drips all the grease and you're left with some nice crisp bacon. Now when we cook up some gourmet bacon (from butcher shops) we fry it in a skillet 'cause it needs to have a fine coating of the grease.


Our microwave gets used about 8 times a month between the bacon and leftover reheats. I find them to be basically useless with my lifestyle. Now if you take away my blender, I'd go ballistic. Caesar salad dressing (garlic, anchovy, worcestershire, lemon juice, olive oil, raw egg, pepper) emulsifies perfectly to coat the lettuce and croutons.


Damn now I'm hungry.



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My microwave has a popcorn button. Put in the bag, press the button. When the microwave turns off, eat perfect popcorn.


I don't pretend to know how it works, but rumor has it that there are sensors that detect humidity levels and adjustments are made to the intensity of the microwaves, yada yada.. Point is, one button to press and viola!

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I think it has ears and waits to stop popping when there is more than 5 seconds between pops.
Mine must do something like this, because I've tried it with those snack-size bags that have dire warnings against using the popcorn button. After having a go with trying the cooking times they suggested, the next time I just used the popcorn button and it worked perfectly.


I'll definitely have to try this sometime though, because despite all the promises of "Movie Theater" popcorn from the various microwavable brands, none of them really come close. Also because Alton Brown is awesome and has never done me wrong. His method for cooking steaks will leave you wondering why you ever did it any other way.

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I think my mom had some sort of air popper when I was a kid, but I've been strictly microwave only most of my life. I always thought it was the easiest, most convenient way until I saw that episode of Good Eats and decided to try it.


It tastes much better this way and it's extremely easy to make once you have the ingredients. I mean, if it wasnt so good, I wouldn't have gone through the trouble to post this on LCVG, much less with fucking pictures and multiple recipes. ;)

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Just by coincidence I got everything the same as what's in your first picture (even the Hollywood peanut oil, lol), except I had some sticks of unsalted butter in the fridge so I didn't buy the whipped tub. Also, my wife wouldn't let me use her metal mixing bowl so I used a big stock pot instead. I expect the flat bottom of the pot isn't as ideal as the rounded bottom of the bowl, but it definitely did a great job. :tu

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I thought the popcorn button is just a generic time cycle targeted to the average bag of microwave popcorn.



There's definately something going on with sensors involved. (Of course, I imagine on the lower end of the product line, the microwave button may just be a macro of some sort. /shrug)


It's a great time to be alive.

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We cook popcorn in a similar way except we use a Whirley Pop which was all the rage on the HT forums for a while. Since I'm usually in a hurry with popcorn, I stick with the microwave stuff(MT butter).


My father has a stand up machine that you see at the movie theaters and that's as close to MT popcorn as I've had. He buys the supplies at the local Popco which is a bulk popcorn seller here.


In case Kelley from Tulsa is reading this thread, they are just north of admiral and Sheridan

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