Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon Fat Popcorn with Sea Salt

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Stop for just a minute and ponder the title of this post.  Chocolate Covered Bacon Fat Popcorn with Sea Salt.  Is this a thing?  Not to sound presumptuous, but this should totally be a thing.  I first discovered the simple genius of bacon fat popcorn while vacationing in Charleston for my birthday back in November.  Instead of cooking popcorn in oil, you simply use rendered bacon fat.  It’s so basic, the fact that the idea had not occurred to me before is kind of crazy.  The version we had in Charleston at The Cocktail Club had some spicy seasoning on it.  Not long after we returned I made some, and drizzled it with a bit of butter, and then salt & pepper.  It doesn’t taste like bacon, but it has the essence and aroma of bacon.

We cook a lot of bacon in this house, as my dad has taken on the hobby of making his own bacon.  I always reserve the rendered fat, like a good southerner, strained through a mesh strainer into a mason jar.  My original mason jar was full, and I started another.  I began to wonder what I would do with all this bacon fat.  Unlike a good southerner, I hadn’t yet discovered uses for it.  (Though this Bon Appétit article has some ideas I’d like to try!)  Popcorn has turned out to be an awesome use for the leftover fat that might otherwise get thrown away!

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When thinking about doing holiday treats this year, I wanted to do something different than cookies or sugary sweets.  I know people sometimes do popcorn balls, or popcorn treats.  The idea occurred to me to share my love of this bacon fat popcorn with my friends, and I wondered how a chocolate covered version would taste.  It was simple to make, and after I coated it in chocolate, I felt it needed something else, so I sprinkled it with a bit of fine sea salt.  PERFECTION!  This stuff is so addictive!  It really covers the major taste points of sweet, salty, savory.  As I said before, the bacon flavor is really an essence or aroma you get, as opposed to straight up BACON.  I suppose if you really want an extra bacon flavor, you could chop up fresh cooked bacon and toss that in.

Now, one thing I should mention.  As I discovered, this is perhaps best served as a “same day” party treat or snack.  I packaged it up and delivered it within a day or two, and I found the popcorn texture lost it’s texture & crunch.  The flavor was still great, but I think next time I’ll reserve this as a snack I serve the same day I make it.

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Chocolate Covered Bacon Fat Popcorn with Sea Salt

Total Time: about 20 minutes

I used a large stove pot to pop the popcorn, and the largest mixing bowl I own to mix it with the chocolate. For a few batches I used 3 Tablespoons bacon fat, and 1/2 cup popcorn, but it was hard to manage that much popcorn, both in the popping, and in the mixing with chocolate. On subsequent batches I reduced it to 2 Tablespoons fat, and 1/3 cup popcorn, and found this more manageable, and more chocolatey, which I prefer.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
8-12oz semisweet chocolate (depending on how much chocolate coverage you prefer)
fine sea salt

Directions:

Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with wax paper.

In a simmering double boiler, heat chocolate until it softens and melts.

Heat bacon fat in a large pot over high heat. Once the fat has turned from solid to liquid, add the popcorn kernels. With a lid handy, shake the pot back and forth in constant motion. When kernels begin to pop cover slightly with a lid. (This is mainly to protect yourself from hot kernels and grease. I try to vent the lid away from me to let steam out.) Continue to shake the pot as kernels pop, until there is 2-3 seconds between pops.

Remove pot from burner and pour into a large mixing bowl. Dollop the chocolate onto the popcorn and stir with a spatula to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Pour into prepared pan to cool.

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6 Responses to “Chocolate Covered Bacon Fat Popcorn with Sea Salt”

  1. 1
    Lindsay — December 21, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

    Yup. This was pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. 2
    Jen @ BeantownBaker.com — December 22, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    That sounds awesome. I bet it would be good with some caramel in there too.

  3. 3

    Yeah. This is so very deserving of being “a thing”. So I think just by wishing it, it is. This sounds epic and delicious.

  4. 4
    Cheryl K. — December 22, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    Hi! Growing up we always made our popcorn with bacon fat! Yummy! I will have to try adding chocolate. You can’t go wrong with bacon fat and chocolate!

  5. 5
    Kelsey — December 23, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    This should totally be a thing. Wow.

  6. 6
    Amy @ Fearless Homemaker — January 27, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    Oh sweet heavens, this sounds AMAZING. What an awesome use of that tasty bacon fat!

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