Make popcorn at home with Alton Brown’s popcorn hack. The longtime Food Network star, who has shared plenty of cooking tips over the years, whips up boiled corn in just 10 minutes. And, perhaps best of all, it does without a popcorn machine or a kettle. Instead, Brown receives help from a metal bowl and the sound of kernels popping.
Brown explained his hot corn hack on his official site. He shared his homemade hot corn recipe, providing details on why a metal bowl does the job.
“It’s my thing for making sweet and savory popcorn at home,” he said. The cookbook author went on to say, “Temperature control is key, and the eponymous container goes a long way in making this miracle possible.”
“As I don’t have a large copper kettle, I use an unorthodox method of popping a small amount of corn and using that beep to add the remaining kernels along with the sugar,” he said. Explain. “It’s not a fancy hack, but it gets me where I want to go: on the windy roads around Lancaster, PA.”
In an episode of his cooking show, Good food, Brown went into even more detail. Making a batch of his “perfect popcorn,” he described a “thick” six-quart stainless steel mixing bowl as the “perfect popcorn.”
“Oil and unpopped pits collect at the bottom where the heat is highest,” he said, pointing to a diagram on a board. He went on to say that “the popped kernels stand up to the sides, away from the heat so they don’t burn.”
“And, of course, once the popping is complete and the vessel is allowed to cool briefly, it can be used as a service platform,” he added.
Keeping the bowl moving is key, says Alton Brown
The dance is part of Brown’s hot corn hack. Well, sort of. The Food Network star explained on Good food that once the bowl is on the heat and covered with foil, it should be in constant motion. Hence his so-called “popcorn dance”.
“45 seconds to a minute will pass and nothing will happen. It doesn’t matter if you cook with gas or electricity, that’s how it is,” he said. “But it’s important that you keep the vessel moving so the heat can develop evenly around the grains.”
Brown went on to explain that when the slamming slows down, that’s the signal to shake the bowl faster. “This will keep the popped bits from burning and help the few remaining kernels get the heat they so desperately need,” he said.
How to Make Hot Corn with Alton Brown
Brown’s Hot Corn Hack is part of a four-step process for making homemade hot corn. He starts by putting a neutral oil (his recipe calls for canola) in a metal mixing bowl with mushroom popcorn kernels. Then he lines the bowl with heavy-duty aluminum foil before punching holes in the top to allow the steam to escape.
Then he does the “popcorn dance”, putting the bowl on the stove and using tongs to get it moving. Next is Brown’s hot corn hack. When he learns that the kernels have popped, he adds what is left of the kernels, sugar and salt.
He puts the foil back on the bowl and continues to shake the bowl until the popcorn is done popping. Finally, he removes the bowl from the heat and adds chili powder to it.
How to Make Alton Brown Popcorn Salt
Brown doesn’t skip salting the popcorn. “I want to pass on the kernel flavor but, let’s face it, there are few things on earth that you could put in your mouth that are more disappointing than unsalted popcorn,” he said.
His favorite salt is popcorn salt, or pickling salt, a fine salt that he says sticks well to the “nooks and crannies” of popcorn.
The instructions for doing this are simple. Brown puts kosher salt in a food processor. Then it does three 10-second pulses to “pulverize” it.
RELATED: Alton Brown’s Easy Pancake Mix Has 5 Ingredients