Cook Your Popcorn in Bacon Grease

Illustration for article titled Cook Your Popcorn in Bacon Grease

Photo: Brent Hofacker (Shutterstock)

Something primal has awakened in me, and my devotion to the bacon fat lifestyle has been renewed. I don’t know if it’s finally getting a fridge that’s big enough to accommodate my vintage grease crock, or the cold, rainy weather, but something has got me cooking everything in rendered animal fat. My current favorite snack is “meaty popcorn,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

My bacon-fat popcorn tear began because it was the only cooking fat I could find after my recent move. Though I had thrown all my bottles of cooking oil in a box, I transported my bacon grease by hand to prevent it from spilling or spoiling. I have found since found my oils, but I don’t foresee returning to my meatless popcorn ways. Like all good popcorn, bacon fat popcorn is crispy and crunchy; unlike other popcorn, bacon fat popcorn is permeated with meaty, salty flavor. (Especially once it cools a bit—then you really taste the bacon.) Duck fat popcorn is similarly excellent, though not nearly as cost effective. (Finance tip: Never toss your bacon grease.)

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I make my meaty popcorn like I make all of my popcorn—with “too much” fat. I take the Cameron Diaz-approved, measure-free approach, and let gobs of rendered grease melt until it comes up “around the curve of the pot,” then add popcorn until the liquid fat barely covers the kernels. I cook it covered, over medium-high heat—without shaking—until the popping slows down substantially (when there’s a couple of seconds of silence in between each pop, you’re done).

Finally, to accentuate the popcorn’s meaty qualities, I season with MSG. Though you may be overcome with the desire to start eating immediately, give it a couple of minutes—the popcorn crisps up best after it cools a touch. If you want meaty, cheesy popcorn, you can add shaker parm or nutritional yeast, or both. I usually add both.

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