Chef Kevin Gillespie
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From Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim / Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC
Makes about 12 cups
Save your bacon grease! My granny kept hers in an old Folgers coffee can and used it for all kinds of frying. It turns out bacon grease makes phenomenal popcorn. You might think the popcorn comes out overly bacony, but it just gets a light bacon flavor. For a little more bacon, I add pieces of cooked bacon to the popcorn here. Truth be told, I was never a huge fan of popcorn. It gets stuck in your teeth and there always seem to be too many unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl. On the other hand, my wife loves popcorn. So I developed this popping technique for her. Follow the directions here and most of the kernels should pop. Then I toss the popcorn with pieces of bacon and Parmesan cheese to boost the savory umami factor.
8 slices Belly Bacon (page 132)
⅓ cup yellow or white popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the bacon into 1⁄4-inch pieces.
Heat a 5 to 6-quart Dutch oven (with a lid) over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until browned and crispy, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Increase the temperature to medium-high and add a kernel of corn. When the corn pops, add the remaining corn and put the lid on, slightly ajar. Once the corn starts popping, shake the pan constantly. When the popping slows, remove from the heat and immediately pour into a large bowl. Toss in the bacon, cheese, salt, and pepper.
If you’re making bacon anyway, throw it in the popcorn as directed. It’s an added bonus. But if you just have bacon grease, the popcorn will taste great without the pieces of bacon.