Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn
I almost apologized for posting another Bourbon recipe but I just cannot and will not apologize for this one, my friends. Because, maple, bacon, & bourbon.
You know I love popcorn and as-of late, you know I love Bourbon. And so it goes in recipe brainstorming that you combine your favorite things. And together, your two favorite things just to happen to be the best popcorn recipe you’ve made to-date. I mean, by far, my favorite. It’s not even a contest. And I have a few favorite popcorn recipes. But this one, ladies and gents, is a sure-fire, life-of-the-party winner.
The recipe and method is extremely similar to my maple-rosemary popcorn recipe, except with bacon and bourbon, rather than rosemary. I was thinking salted caramel + bourbon would be the ticket but at the last minute changed my mind when I ran across some pure maple syrup. I don’t absolutely love maple syrup, but then sometimes it’s the only answer. And let’s talk about the bacon. Don’t hate me for this – but I’m not bacon’s biggest fan. I never really have been. It’s not that I don’t like it. But I just don’t think of using it all too often. That is, until summer rolls around and I find myself craving BLT’s weekly. And a good summertime BLT is worth the whole house smelling like bacon. And so is this popcorn.
So craving a new popcorn recipe, and having bourbon in the cabinet, maple syrup in the fridge, and leftover bacon from some weekend BLT’s, Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn was born. It’s sweet, sticky, salty, and crunchy and simply, popcorn perfection.
Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn
Yield: 6 cups
Total Time: 1 hour
Sweet maple syrup, crispy bacon and good bourbon combine with popcorn for a sweet and salty snack!
1 Tbs. oil (I use grapeseed)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup chopped crispy bacon (5-6 strips)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 Tbs. Bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
1 tsp. Maldon (or other flaky) sea salt
Heat one tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. (I use grapeseed, you can use canola, peanut, vegetable, etc. just not olive oil, it will be likely to burn)
Add a few popcorn kernels to the pan, cover and let it heat up. When one kernel pops, add 1/3 cup of uncooked popcorn kernels and cover the pan. Shake the pan a little to spread the kernels in an even layer. Let the kernels pop for several minutes until the pan is full and the popping slows down. Remove from heat and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray a 10x15 baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. When the popcorn is popped, spread into a single layer on the baking sheet. Dispurse the chopped bacon on top of the popcorn. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom saucepot over medium-low heat, melt the syrup and butter together. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the Bourbon and sea salt. Pour over the popcorn/bacon mixture and stir to evenly distribute the syrup mixture.
Bake in a 250 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until very fragrant and the syrup has started to harden. Remove from the oven and immediately toss. Transfer to a parchment-lined platter and break up any large pieces.