Casual Evangelist

A mission to learn a little about a lot…

The Zen of Kettle Corn

Posted by Andrew on August 10, 2008

A few people have inquired about my kettle corn recipe, so I thought I’d share it here. As some of you may be aware, I take popcorn seriously and don’t take lightly such abominations as microwave popcorn and that stuff that comes in a foil skillet.

Note: I don’t measure anything out, and getting this right often require some failures. It did for me 🙂

  1. Start with a large stainless steel pot w/ a glass lid (something quality).
  2. Light the burner under the pot (hopefully you have a gas stove…works better). Just a hair under the hottest flame.
  3. Pour in oil so once you move the pot around, the oil covers the entire surface. You don’t want waves, but you need more than a thin coating.
  4. Get the oil shimmering hot. Viewing the oil while moving the pot around will reveal the right shimmery-ness.
  5. Pour in the Orville Redenbachers (c) Gourmet Popping Corn. (Casual Evangelist Alert: The branding emphasis may be a joke, the quality isn’t. Don’t mess w/ anything less). Immediately bubbling should commence.
  6. Wait about 10-15 seconds, and slowly pour a little of the sugar into the pot using wavy back and forth movements.
  7. Shake pot around a few times to distribute sugar and avoid clumping.
  8. Add salt as if you were adding salt to any good-sized recipe (chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.). A good amount is needed, but beware about over-doing it. (You can always add salt after serving if needed. With sugar, this post-cooking option isn’t available to you).
  9. Shake again.
  10. Add more sugar. You should see the sheen reduced to a dull sugary appearance.
  11. Shake vigorously and don’t stop until completion. It’s important to keep contents in motion or clumping and scorching can occur.
  12. When there is still popping, but has approached the top of the pot, remove the lid (this will also will help prevent scorching by releasing heat).
  13. If you have bowls that are large enough, pour into bowls when you sense any significant popping is in the past.
  14. If you don’t have large bowls, pour into a paper grocery bag and shake up. Then distribute to smaller distribution mechanisms.
  15. Enjoy…

You’re ultimately looking for something that has a light texture and delivers a pleasant balance between sugar and salt. It’s not caramel corn, and it shouldn’t leave your guest reaching for water.

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3 Responses to “The Zen of Kettle Corn”

  1. Velma said

    I make kettle corn at festivals. The trick I’ve noticed is to get the sugar and oil to melt completely before it pops. You want to get it to a point where you’ve almost browned the sugar, and not just have it melt and stick to the popcorn. It’s tricky, because the sugar just loves to burn and stick to your pan.

    Velma’s "Wicked Delicious" Kettle Corn popcorn

  2. Andrew said

    @Velma Good point. I will incorporate. Thanks. 🙂

  3. mammaloves said

    Just tagged in delicious for future reference.

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