Missouri Road trip 1999:
Lured by the smell of fresh popcorn we pull over at a small roadside store. A glance out the back door reveals a man leaning over a HUGE cast iron kettle over an open wood-burning flame, stirring popping corn with a shovel. It dances and floats over the kettle, then falls back down as he stirs the pot. It smells divine. We buy not 1, but 2 large bags and eat them both before we hit Kansas City. The next day we buy 2 more bags at the farmer's market and devour them as well.
How have we not heard of this amazing Kettle corn (click on the link to read about it's origins)? It's salty and sweet at the same time.
Fast forward 2 years to another vacation 2001:
On a Cody, Wyoming street corner we see Original Kettle Korn being made and sold from a propane-sourced commercial kettle. We find out that the company making the commercial machines (they pioneered the modern day ones) also makes a home popper and just so happens to be headquartered in Cody. Our plans change. We stay overnight until the warehouse opens and we become the
happy ectastic owners of this popper. Now we could make kettle corn whenever we wanted.
Kettle corn finally reached our part of the country and has been sold at fairs, rodeos, and farmers markets for years. There are several different brands of this kind of popper, but it must have a stirring arm in the bottom. They are inexpensive and worth every penny. And you cannot make kettle corn without one. You can try but it won't be pretty.
Kettle corn is a big hit with everyone we know and has become a staple at the girls' parties. We always serve it because if it isn't on the table we have
demands requests for it from guests. The best part......it's inexpensive and makes up quickly so it's great for a crowd. It's also fairly low in calories
So you can eat it and not feel quilty.
Which is a good thing
Because you will
2 Tablespoons of canola oil
¼ cup of granulated sugar
2/3 cup of unpopped popcorn
Kosher salt to taste
Heat oil in kettle corn popper just until the oil shimmers but is not smoking (about medium heat). Pull off the heat.
Add the sugar, stir, just until the sugar is slightly melted but not browned. Put the kettle back on the stovetop.
Add the popcorn kernels and put on the lid. Set heat to medium low. Stir continually until kernels stop popping. Do not let the corn burn.
Immediately turn out into bowl and season to taste with kosher salt.
*Note: I use Orville Redenbacher's Gournet Popcorn which pops larger so I only use 1/2 cup of unpopped corn instead of the called for 2/3 cup but if you are using regular popping corn you will need the larger amount.