Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Porker Jack" a.k.a. Popcorn Pig Candy

Here's another one of our snacks from our tailgate at the Carolina Cup this past weekend. I knew I wanted something that people could easily grab and munch on all day, and I instantly thought of caramel corn. But I knew that I wanted to make it slightly better and super unique. I did this by adding lots of crispy bacon and roasted peanuts. Then to top it all off, I added in some cayenne and red pepper flakes for that signature kick. It was delicious. I mean any popcorn that is popped in bacon fat is a winner in my book. It tasted almost exactly like my bacon peanut brittle that I was raving about a couple weeks ago. The popcorn was smoky, sweet, spicy, and crunchy... and we just loved it!! Enjoy :)
"Porker Jack" or Popcorn Pig Candy
If you look up close, you ca see the pieces of bacon and peanuts hiding in the caramel
For the Popcorn Pig Candy:
Nonstick Cooking Spray
10 Strips of Thick Cut, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Pieces & Fried until Crispy
3T Reserved Bacon Fat
½C Popcorn Kernels
2C Unsalted Peanuts, Roasted
1 ½t Baking Soda
¼t Cayenne & Cinnamon
½t Red Pepper Flakes
3C Sugar
3T Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt

1. Lightly coat two large, heatproof rubber spatulas, a very large mixing bowl and two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or a thin slick of oil.
2. In a sauté pan, fry the bacon pieces until cooked and very crispy. Strain from the fat onto a paper towel and set it aside. Use 3T of the leftover bacon fat for the popcorn kernels.
3. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared bowl, removing any un-popped kernels.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda, cayenne, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.
5. Have the two large baking sheets ready. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and ½C of water. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up). Add in the crispy bacon pieces and roasted peanuts and stir quickly to combine.
6. Immediately pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and don’t fuss if it doesn’t all come out of the pot — you’ll have plenty. Working quickly and carefully, use the prepared spatulas to toss the caramel and popcorn together, as if you were tossing a salad, until the popcorn is well coated. Spread the popcorn onto the baking sheets and quickly separate them into small pieces while still warm, and then sprinkle the surface with sea salt to taste. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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