Some food, some drink.
Something Edible on Video: Maple Bacon Kettle Corn (‘nuff said).
Truth be told, I've never been a huge fan of kettle corn. Oh sure, I'll eat the stuff, but I've always thought it a bit monochromatic where taste is concerned. When I came up with this recipe, I was making a lot of popcorn on the stove, and it occurred to me that popcorn cooked in bacon grease finished with some homemade apple wood smoked salt might be a winner. As the fat hit the pan, I made an impulse decision to dump a shot of real maple syrup into the as-of-yet-to pop corn, and after a brisk amount of agitation during the popping process, what I happened to end up with was a kettle corn. Unlike traditional kettle corn, this is not a one-note snack. With the richness of pork fat tempered with the sweetness of maple syrup then punctuated with the deep, smoky saltiness expected from a strip of pork belly, the result is more akin to a jazz quartet (with the popcorn playing those goofy-looking drumsticks that look like brushes).
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
Begin by pulverizing the smoked salt with a mortar and pestle or using a grinder. You're looking for a fine powder. Set it aside.
In a two quart saucepan over medium heat, add the bacon grease. As it melts, you're looking to cover the bottom of the pot 1/8 inch; so adjust the grease if you need to. You'll know the grease is sufficiently heated as it'll just begin to smoke. Add the popcorn and then sloooowly pour in the maple syrup, taking care to avoid any splattering. Lid up the pot (preferably with a lid that vents the impending steam), and give the pot a jiggle every 30 seconds or so with the lid on. For my electric range, I pick up the pot and give it a gentle swirl after each time the burner cycles off.
After about 5 minutes or so, the corn will start to pop. At this point, you'll probably want to shake the pot twice as often, and a little more vigorously. Continue to let the corn pop until things grow relatively silent. Better to under-shoot here than let things burn. Move the corn to a bowl and immediately season with as much of the pulverized smoked salt as you see fit (but I really wouldn't do more than the whole 1/2 teaspoon).
Retained steam is the bane of perfectly textured popcorn. If you'd like to see my not-exactly-predictable-for-video contraption for venting steam from your kettle corn, then be sure to check out my original recipe post!
Also, I should mention that this here video is the last in my 2012 recipe series with the Hays Daily News. If you missed an episode, they're all right here on Youtube for your perusing. At any rate, you'll want to subscribe so that you're sure not to miss any of my new stuff in the year to come!
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