Bar Bacon Caramel Popcorn

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    12 cups

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

We serve bowls of this gratis at the bar at BarBacon. Salty and sweet. Customers don’t know what to make of it, so they just keep eating—and thus, keep drinking. Mission accomplished.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for popping the corn
  • 6 thick slices bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
  • ¾ cup (170 g) popcorn kernels
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (220 g) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) light corn syrup
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Put the oil and bacon in large Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown and crisp and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels and transfer the rendered fat to a small bowl.

Measure the rendered fat back into the pot; add additional canola oil as needed to make 7 tablespoons fat total. Pour the popcorn kernels in an even layer in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the top.

Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until a few of the kernels begin to pop. Once the kernels begin to pop, cover the pot. Once the popcorn begins to pop at a rapid rate, start shaking the pan back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and immediately dump the popcorn into a wide bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda, vanilla, and pepper until smooth.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and gently stir until coated.

Spread the caramel popcorn on the prepared sheet pan in an even layer and bake for 1 hour, stirring once after 30 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the bacon. The popcorn will keep, tightly covered in a cool, dark place, for up to 3 days.