Thoughts for new recipes and blog posts usually evolve like this:
- I’m sitting at my desk at work, possibly craving a snack or just generally thinking about food.
- I begin fixating on a very specific thought about something sweet or savory or salty.
- I turn to one of my coworkers and ask, “what if I…?”
- I jot a note down in my notebook or on a post-it.
- I go back to work, and then the A-HA! moment hits me. I feverishly search for the note I made a few minutes or hours ago and scribble out how to make my “what-if” idea a reality.
This week, my “what-if” idea was, “What if I pop popcorn in bacon fat?” I mulled over the idea a bit, randomly poking my head out of my cube to get opinions as the idea evolved. Since my ideas frequently revolve around “what if I add bacon?!”, my coworkers were likely not surprised that I wanted to make bacon popcorn…
Personally, I am a HUGE fan of the salty-sweet combination, so I included some brown sugar in the recipe to resemble a homemade kettle corn. And I remembered seeing smoked salt at a camp-out this Spring, so I went on a search at Whole Foods, where I found one brand of Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt. (The one I originally saw was from Trader Joe’s and was possibly a store brand.)
With all the other elements gathered, I settled on a solid idea and a recipe. Then, I went to Harris Teeter for bacon, ate BLTs for dinner for a few nights, and saved the bacon fat in my fridge till I was ready to do some popping. I’ve popped popcorn once before on the blog, and this method very closely resembles the one in the Rocky Road Caramel Corn post with a few changes to account for the added sugar in the recipe. The result is a slightly sweet and salty popcorn with a hint of smoke and bacon. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments! And thanks for reading! 🙂
Yield: 24 cups (about 6 servings)
Begin by assembling your ingredients.
You are going to need:
- 1/3-1/2 cup liquid bacon fat, strained
- 1 cup of popcorn kernels
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Smoked sea salt
You are also going to need:
- A very large pot with a lid (a soup pot works really well)
- Small bowl
- Large bowl
- Wooden spoon
First, in a small bowl, stir together the popcorn kernels (all but 3 kernels), dark brown sugar, and one teaspoon of the smoked salt. Set aside.
Next, place your soup pot on the stove. Pour in the bacon fat and three popcorn kernels.
Turn the heat on to medium, and heat until the first kernel pops, which will take about 3-5 minutes. Swirl the bacon fat occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Pour in the remaining kernels and give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon. Put the lid on the pot.
Slide the pot back and forth on your burner to evenly distribute the heat as the kernels begin to pop. Keep sliding the pot back and forth until the popping slows down and the kernels are all popped. Quickly remove the pot from the heat.
Pour the popcorn in to a large bowl. Let the popcorn cool slightly, and then remove any overly browned or black pieces and any un-popped kernels. Sprinkle on a little more smoked sea salt, to taste, and serve.