My dad is famous for having a few signature dishes he makes again and again. My favorites, in order, are jerk-marinated grilled steak, popcorn, French toast, and spaghetti Bolognese. Learning to make homemade popcorn was one of my frugal challenge goals, and I finally asked Dad how he makes his scrumptious theater-quality popcorn a few weeks ago. He gladly obliged. I wish I had taped that conversation; he doesn’t measure, so it was lots of “Um, well, maybe 1/4 of a cup. No, probably 3/4 of a cup.” Oh dear. Fortunately, he described how the amounts should look perfectly, and my first attempt turned out just as yummy as I remember his tasting. It’s your lucky day because I’m sharing it with you!
Grandpa Jim’s buttered movie popcorn
4 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. oil (coconut or peanut is perfect!)
1/2 to 2/3 c. popcorn (depends on the size of your pot)
Gather all ingredients first.
Get your large popcorn bowl ready before starting to cook. Melt 2 Tbs. butter and set aside. Using a large saucepan with a long handle, melt remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium-high heat. Slowly sprinkle popcorn while butter is melting. It should coat the bottom of the pan but not be on top of each other or wall to wall. When the butter begins to bubble, add oil. You want liquid to touch all kernels, but don’t submerge them completely, or you’ll end up with oily popcorn. Put the lid on and begin slowly shaking 2 inches in either direction. Do NOT shake vigorously.
Once it begins popping, the rules are the same as for the microwave. Wait until you hear 2-3 seconds between pops, then immediately move to your bowl and pour it in. It’s better to grab it early the first time if you’re not sure than to burn it; burning happens quickly. After you pour it in the bowl, top it with melted butter and salt and toss.
A word about popcorn kernels. My dad has tried ’em all and swears by Orville Redenbacher; according to him, no other popcorn will do. I was skeptical, but I must say that after giving my beloved Trader Joe’s a try and then Orville, Mr. Redenbacher won hands down. Light, fluffy, and not too crunchy. Do you have a favorite popping corn?
Dad is coming to visit in about a week, so we’ll need to conduct some scientific taste tests. I’ll be sure to grab some video to add to the tutorial.