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The Popcorn Thread

21047 Views 79 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Bob in St. Louis
I looked for an existing thread about popcorn, and much to my surprise, there isn't one (that I could find).
What's more natural than eating popcorn while we watch movies, right?

So what's your secret? Everything from nuked popcorn to "regular" popcorn. How about some fancy popcorn?
Are there any "popcorn-o-philes" out there? What do you get and where do you get it. How about fancy salts and flavorings?

In a pinch (when we're particularly lazy), we'll use microwave "Pop Secret" brand. Most of the time it's their standard flavor, but occasionally we find the "Movie Theater Butter Explosion" type in the store, but that's pretty greasy.

90% of the time we buy the bulk (no name) stuff in the store and pop it in a Presto brand popper (pictured below).
The unit works great and pops the vast majority of the kernels, but can be a little messy. If you use real butter in the upper chamber, it has to be brought down to room temp, because the unit doesn't get hot enough up there to melt butter that's fresh from the fridge. For a hungry family of four, the unit produces just the right amount of popcorn.

As far as flavorings are concerned, we use a powdered white cheddar cheese from a shaker (Kernals Season's brand), and a salt called 'Salt-o-Riffic' (Jolly Time brand).

Ok...that's our secret. How 'bout you?

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Indeed. You can't beat coconut oil. I think our tubs are 9# each?
Yea, much better than any other oil I've tried.

I've got a 1# tub that I refill from the 9# one.
When the little one gets low, I fill the sink in the HT room with hot water and put the big tub in it while we watch a movie. By the time the movie is over, I'll pour the oil into the little tub. Since the melting point of coconut oil is just under 80 degrees, it doesn't take much to get it liquid. I do this because it's MUCH easier to spoon out of the little one pound tub that sticking half my arm down in the big tub.

Love this thread ( infact I made an account because of it). I'm surprised that no one has any dedicated countertop popcorn makers in their HT rooms. I plan on putting in a theater style one...

Like this: www.amazon.com/Great-Northern-Popcorn-6010-Roosevelt/dp/B000QWE6S4/

I've recently been on a bend to make movie theater popcorn at home. I tried coconut oil, but ...well it tastes like coconut. The theaters used to use refined coconut oil, which has little coconut taste. Also getting butter flavored oil gets it pretty close to what it tastes like at the movies.

My wife likes layered, "butter" on her popcorn. Application was an issue so I got a spray bottle and it works pretty well but it can be a hassle to get an even coat while tossing and not losing half of the popcorn. I bought a gallon sized bottle of the flavored oil topping and a bottle pump (also like what I've seen at theaters). It's much faster, a couple of squirts and toss the popcorn to coat. Then sprinkle some Flavacol on top and toss again.

Anyway to summarize, I've found three things give popcorn that dead on movie theater taste.

1) Cook in butter flavored refined coconut oil (1Tbs per 1/4 cup)
2) Toss with butter flavored oil topping (if desired)
3) Toss with Flavacol butter flavored salt
4*) "Gourmet popcorn", it doesn't taste any different but it pops larger; similar to movie theater popcorn.

From reviews I've read, I'd recommend the Westbend Stir Crazy (http://www.amazon.com/West-Bend-82306-6-Quart-Electric/dp/B00004RC6R/) for a popcorn popper, the countertop versus air poppers seem to have a better taste. The best taste I've found was from a stovetop popper. (Yes, I bought three for testing, but not at the same time ok :R)

Anyway, I'll post some links to the stuff I've found if you're interested in trying it. Most of it is Great Northern because it's usually the cheapest, but there's similar products linked on each page if you don't like Great Northern for some reason.

(Note: All of the butters and oil are colored with beta carotene like what colors carrots, it's nothing harmful like Yellow 5 or something.)
Butter flavored coconut oil small: amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-Farms-Popping-Oil/dp/B002EITVVA/
Large: amazon.com/Snappy-Popcorn-Colored-Coconut-Gallon/dp/B003C4UDEY/

Butter flavored oil topping: www.amazon.com/Snappy-Popcorn-Butter-Burst-gallon/dp/B00AXK9ROC/

Flavacol butter flavored salt: www.amazon.com/Gold-Medal-Prod-Flavacol-Seasoning/dp/B004W8LT10/

Stovetop popcorn popper: www.amazon.com/Great-Northern-Popcorn-Stainless-Stove/dp/B00608D66G/

Popcorn bags: www.amazon.com/Northern-Duro-Bag-Bags-500/dp/B003XZGXCS/

This is the best one if you have a countertop/stovetop popcorn maker (not an air popper)


This adds everything together and it's actually cheaper than buying it separately (someone check my math), except for the oil topping if you want extra, or the salt if you want extra.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone who is trying to get that full movie theater taste at home like I was. Though I've noticed different theaters use different brands with a slightly different butter flavors, so if you're trying to replicate your favorite theater flavor, ask them what brand oil they use, or if they wont tell you, try a few different ones like Paragon, Snappy, Great Northern...etc.
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Love this thread ( infact I made an account because of it).
Wow, I'm impressed! Welcome to The Shack!
That's a great first post, and very helpful. A lot of good information in there. Thank you for that!

My popper is nearing the end of its life and I'll be in the market for a new one soon. It's served us well and was very reasonably priced. But that unit you linked to seems like a pretty nice one and priced cheaper than I've seen similar units priced at.
Might have to run that one past the "Director of Financial Expenditures". :rofl2:

Yeah, I actually have a "Kettle Krazy" right now, which is a beefier version of the stir crazy. I went this route because when I get the Great Northern unit setup, the Kettle Crazy will become my dedicated coffee roaster. :T

Which reminds me I'm almost out of coffee, I should go roast some more.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot they have this one in black,
Oh yeah, I almost forgot they have this one in black,
Yea, that's a nice looking unit for sure. Will definitely keep that one in mind. Thanks!
So, my current Cuisnart popcorn maker top has bit the dust (fell off the counter and broke) so I'm looking at getting the Great Northern mentioned above as for the price it will make a lot more popcorn. Any comments on how well it's working for any of you that have ones like it?
I still haven't bought one yet. Unfortunately or fortunately rather, we had some heavy rains in Texas a while ago and we found out that our property we were closing on, floods; severely. So, I never got to build my theater room and thus don't have room for this popcorn machine. The Amazon reviews are good though.
Just a quick popcorn note for me since this thread popped up. I have a 4oz Paragon machine which works well. I wish I had gone for the 6oz, just to have the larger kettle, but this one is still good.

Lately I've been experimenting with bulk corn and oil. My current recipe is 1tbsp coconut oil, 1tbsp canola oil, 1/2 cup kernels, and some Flavacol sprinkled in with the corn. Tastes almost as good as the premixed packs and is much cheaper.
Yay, it's national popcorn day!!
Find and follow posts here

Yumm! Enjoy!! :bigsmile:
Never tried mixing the oils. Hmmmm..... Sounds interesting!
Bob, that was my neighbour's idea. He got a machine after he saw mine, and he uses it several nights a week. He mostly uses canola oil, since I guess it's a little less fatty(?) and he wants to keep things a little healthier since he eats it so often. This was my compromise to do a bit of the same, and also to save on the cost of the coconut oil, which seems to have jumped in price since we bought our big tub at Costco. Still get the flavour of the coconut, which is nice.
Ya know, I actually forgot all about mixing the oils. Thanks for the reminder! Honestly though, I *thought* coconut oil was healthier than canola?
As far as cost, we're paying about a dollar a pound for coconut from Amazon (last I remember).
Bob, I had to look it up, but it appears canola is mostly unsaturated fats, vs. the opposite for coconut. There appear to be other health benefits as well, if this source is actually legitimate. It was just the first one I happened to find when I couldn't remember the reason my neighbour made the switch.

I've seen many articles regarding "CO" (coconut oil) as MUCH better for the human body than the "typical" oils used in modern kitchens.
Folks are using CO as skin cream, they're taking spoonfuls of it as a modern day elixir, spreading it on their hair as beneficial....etc..etc..etc...
Whatever. There's no argument that CO is harmful, and studies show it's actually beneficial, and the best part for me is that it tastes better than Canola.
It makes the popcorn have a sharper crunch, as opposed to canola where the popcorn tastes wet, heavy, greasy, and soggy.

So..... At the end of the day, I'm not overly worried about mixing it with anything else for any reason other than it might be a boost for flavor.
I still haven't torn myself away from a 100% recipe of CO as the mainstay on my popcorn.
But like any other "vice" in life, everything is in moderation.

p.s. In hindsight, I used "CO" as an abbreviation for Coconut Oil, but it dawned on me that "CO" would be used for "Canola Oil" as well.
I meant Coconut.
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Bob, I'm with you for the most part. I'm certainly not trying to push the canola agenda on anyone. lol. We use the coconut in a lot of other cooking, a spoonful goes into the baby's bath to help moisturize, and I need to use at least SOME in the popcorn to get the right flavour. It's great stuff. I might go back to 100% coconut next time to see if I notice the difference. We haven't been making it very often lately, so I'm not worried about the extra fat. :)
Good deal Owen.
By the way, I meant to post the oil I get, in case anyone is interested.
So far, we've been through four gallons since the beginning of this thread.
Well I bought the Black Great Northern 8oz popcorn maker about 6 months ago.

When it arrived from Amazon the top portion was dented in a bit and the bottom tray was also dented. I had to hammer the dent in the other direction so the kernel tray would slide in and out. The warming bulb burned out after about 2 days and I thought it would be easy to replace it, but spot lamp bulbs or even just 60W light bulbs aren't as easy to come by at the store. Everything seems to be getting replaced by LED bulbs. Other than that, it's been great.

I also just bought the box of prepackaged popcorn that I had listed in my earlier post. (Same stuff I've seen at the theater.) It makes a difference; the popcorn seems larger and drier than the Paragon but holy cow is there a TON of salt in the package. I think 3 Tbs is excessive for 8oz of popcorn, so I usually cut the salt portion open and dump about half of the flavorcol in the trash then cut it open and dump it all in the pan. It's quicker and less messy than measuring everything out separately and I think it's really the way to go for a dark theater room setup.

To be honest I think I liked the flavor or the separate components a little better but this is easy enough that the wife doesn't mind making popcorn now. She likes this popcorn better and it's also cheaper to buy this way.

Links below for reference:


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Based on the size of that Flavacol packet, yea... that's a BUNCH of salt!
I use about 3/4 tps of Flavacol to make two large bowls of popcorn.
coconut oil + Himalayan Pink salt the best combo I've had yet
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