This is probably my most creative, albeit difficult,
(though rewarding) cooking endeavor. It takes a few attempts to get it just right, so don’t be discouraged. If it ain’t your first rodeo at making caramel corn then you should be just fine.
The recipe came to me when I was thinking of this new series of posts. They revolve around a simple concept. Popcorn and wine. I love popcorn. Not the shitty microwave kind but the actual stuff. It’s simple and lends itself to a lot of unique flavors. And those flavors pair well with a nice glass of wine. Thing is, I’m no wine connoisseur. Take my suggestions as simply that and feel free to use your own instincts when pairing wine and these popcorn recipes.
The recipe works just like caramel corn. It’s full of sugar and the end result leaves your popcorn with a nice crunchy coating. The world is filled with all kinds of BBQ sauce, which makes experimenting with this recipe endless. I was standing in the aisle of the grocery store for well over half an hour, painstakingly trying to decide which sauce to go with. I finally settled on the smokey mesquite flavor of Stubb’s BBQ sauce. God bless ya Stubb. It has brown sugar, molasses, and cane sugar, which were all great for getting the sauce to caramelize on the popcorn.
But think of the endless flavors. In Stubb’s line alone they have a Sticky Sweet, Spicy, a Sweet Heat, Hickory Bourbon, and Honey Pecan. All sound like they would make a hell of a sauce for the popcorn.
And for the wine? Well, I’m no fancy man. I paired this delicious summer snack with a Franzia chillable red.
- 1 1/2 cups of popcorn seeds
- 4 strips of bacon
- 2 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce of your choice
- 1 cup of peanuts
- 1 tbsp of baking soda
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (to pop popcorn with)
- 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- 2. Pop the popcorn your preferred way, stove top or in one of those cool microwave safe popcorn bowls.
- 3. Once it’s popped, sift out any remaining seeds and set the popcorn aside.
- 4. Start cooking the strips of bacon.
- 5. Grease a 15×10 casserole baking dish. Add the peanuts.
- 6. Once the bacon is done, cut the strips into small pieces and add to the baking dish.
- 7. Now the fun part. Put the BBQ sauce in a small sauce pan. Cook it over medium heat. It will start to bubble up, let it get to a boil, and let it sit at a boil for 4-5 minutes.
- 8. Once the time is up, add the baking soda. The sauce will bubble up like a science project. Stir it for a couple seconds.
- 9. Lightly drizzle some of the sauce onto the baking sheet, then add the popcorn.
- 10. Lightly drizzle the rest of the sauce over the popcorn. If you are using a pyrex baking sheet, the ones with the lid, put it on and shake everything up.
- 11. Remove the lid and bake the popcorn for 45 minutes. At 15 minutes intervals take out the popcorn and stir it up.
- 12. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before eating.
Take extra caution when pouring the sauce over the popcorn. Don’t just dump it on, or it will leave it soggy, shrunken and gross. Drizzle it very carefully, or try using the brown paper bag method – pouring the sauce into a paper grocery bag with the popcorn and shaking it up that way.
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the first time. It took me several attempts. Most of my issues were burning the BBQ sauce. Be very careful not to let the sugar burn.
Try with different flavors of sauces. And remember the Franzia is just suggested. Use whatever wine pairs well with your sauce!