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Popcorn.

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1. What's the best brand of popcorn, and what's the best place to get it?

Pop Secret, Orville Redenbacher, Act II, other.

Include specific variety.

2. I like the taste of popcorn at movie theaters. I know many of them say they use Orville Redenbacher, but it doesn't quite taste the same.

What brand comes closest?

3. What is the difference between Butter Lovers, and Movie Theater Butter? I've noticed most brands offer both varieties. And in some cases, the nutritional content appears exactly the same.

I've noticed a few brands include milk as an ingredient, in their Movie Theater Butter flavor. But I can't say that for every one I've studied.

4. What's the best brand of caramel popcorn?

I liked Act II: Caramel, but it was discontinued a long time ago.

I haven't tried another brand's caramel, although I hear good things about the Orville Redenbacher one. The caramel varieties seem harder to find, lately, though.

Thanks!

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  1. "I like the taste of popcorn at movie theaters. I know many of them say they use Orville Redenbacher, but it doesn't quite taste the same."
    ~~~~~~
    preparation method makes all the difference. they may use Redenbacher kernels, but they're popping them in one of those huge hot-air poppers. there's no chance a preserved, pre-seasoned bag of kernels that you nuke in the microwave is going to taste the same.

    46 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      So even if I buy a jar of kernels, and try popping them, it won't taste the same?

      Is there anything I can do, or should I just save my popcorn cravings for the movie theater?

      I recently tried Target's popcorn, in their food court. It's decent, but I'd rather eat something else that tastes the way I want it.

      1. re: nuraman00

        oh no, you can make popcorn at home that tastes better than the stuff at the movies - i just assumed you were only talking about the pre-packaged microwave stuff because those were the only specific varieties you mentioned. sorry for the misunderstanding :) there are numerous existing threads on the topic. take a look at these:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/316085
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/282203
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/337830
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/431681
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669199
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/541429

        and once you've got the method down, there are also threads about Chowhounds' favorite ways to flavor their popcorn:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573051
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694477
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/283619
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/283407
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/695774

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Thanks. I've always thought about trying to pop my own popcorn, and now that I see a lot of other people do it, I'll try.

          While I'll eventually try to custom-flavor my popcorn, for the time being, I think I'll just try to master the butter flavor.

          I did like the powdered white cheddar idea.

          And I'm always a sucker for garlic.

          Does it matter what brand kernels I buy? Is there any you recommend?

          If I just try just popping it in butter and oil, will I achieve that good buttery taste (not the fake bagged popcorn kind)?

          I know movie theater butter isn't that much more natural, but it still tastes better than the bagged kind.

          What do you like?

          BTW, I think it was my fault, I did start out talking about bagged popcorn, because I thought that was the most common way of making it. It turns out, a lot of people pop their popcorn.

          1. re: nuraman00

            call me crazy, but *i don't like* movie theater popcorn! it always seems stale to me, and i don't like the flavor - most places toss it with canola or soybean oil, both of which i dislike, and that Flavacol artificial butter flavor is nasty.

            in terms of the type of kernels, i like the hulless - they're not REALLY hulless, but the hulls are more fragile and not as likely to get wedged so painfully in your teeth & gums. you can order them online from sites like Amish Mart (http://www.amishmart.com/hulless-popc...).

            for standard kernels Redenbacher is a good choice. i really like White Cat, which comes in a large mason jar, but it can be hard to find - Sur La Table sometimes stocks it, and i've found it at random Whole Foods Markets. occasionally i'll spot it at an independent gourmet market.

            for that "good old buttery taste" you want, it's not just about what you pop it IN, you have to flavor it afterward. i like to pop it in rice bran oil, and then flavor according to my mood - butter & salt; freshly ground pepper & cheese; sriracha...heck, you can even toss it in some bacon fat if you have it in the house!

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Right now, I only have 2 oils available, vegetable and olive. What would you recommend?

              How do you apply the butter? Do I slice some thin layers from a stick of butter, and put them in the pot, on top of the popcorn, after the popcorn has popped? Do I melt the butter?

              What type of cheese do you use, and do you shred it? Should I try shredded cheddar cheese?

              I think I'll try Redenbacher kernels for now, because they're easier to find. And I'll probably try this within 1-2 days, and report back.

              1. re: nuraman00

                use the vegetable oil. the olive oil may smoke/burn.

                melt the butter, then drizzle over the popcorn & toss well.

                use whatever cheese you like. white or sharp cheddar, Parmigiano, Romano...just be sure to grate it finely so you can distribute it evenly over the popcorn - shreds will be more likely to clump.

                go with your instincts and your preferences, and have fun! it's not rocket science, and it's very forgiving ;)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Thanks. I bought a bag of Jolly time yellow kernels, and I'll use the vegetable oil.

                  1. re: nuraman00

                    I just threw away a full bag of Jolly Time because the kernels did not come out very fluffy, and there were tons of un-popped kernel after wards. I will go back to Orville Redenbacher.

                    PS: I pop mine on the stove with corn oil.

                    1. re: HungryRubia

                      I'm sorry to hear that, HungryRubia .

                      I usually seem to get most of the Jolly Time kernels popped.

                      When you said they weren't fluffy, did they turn out mushy? Hard?

                      Mine seemed to turn out fluffy.

                      1. re: nuraman00

                        I think it's very possible that the popcorn was stale as Ruth mentions below.
                        The kernels popped, but had a styrofoam-like consistency.

                      2. re: HungryRubia

                        That sounds like stale popcorn. Did you check the dates on the package?

                        BTW, nuraman00 I really appreciate you posting back your reports and comments on this thread.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Thanks Ruth Lafler. All the helpful suggestions by you and others, in this thread, have made it easy for me. Once I've seen that others do it, and how they do it, it makes it easy for me to try these things too.

                          I also liked the discussion about how popcorn can come in different shapes.

                          BTW, about the Cabot Cheddar Shake, I can't believe I've used so much. When I saw the size of the 8 oz jar, I thought it would last a while. It turns out, I'm almost done, in 2 months. Haha. It was good.

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I think I used to not like the artificial butter flavor at movie theaters, and then recently I've started liking it. Haha.

                  Or, maybe it's hit-or-miss for me. Maybe I just really didn't like it some of those previous times, and I've liked it the last few times, but still not enough to make me forget about the times I haven't liked it.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    sriracha, that's interesting, I'll have to try that.

                    I tried Parmesan cheese, it was ok. I tried lemon pepper seasoning, it was ok. I'm a big fan of lemon pepper flavor in general, but this didn't hit the spot as well as other lemon pepper food items have done. Worth doing from time to time, but not something I loved.

                    What other toppings do you or others like?

                    1. re: nuraman00

                      It's in one of the other threads, but (here I show my once-hippy-dippy vegetarian leanings) nutritional yeast on popcorn is absolutely awesome. It's a little tiny bit like Parmesan, but with a flavor that's hard to describe. It was always something I could whip out to prove that my vegan food was really as good as vegans always claimed it was. (Most of it wasn't.)

                      You have to pop in oil for it to stick, I've found. Buy it in the bulk section of a lot of health food stores or co-ops. I don't know if Whole Foods keeps it or not. And it's good on all sorts of starches, especially those refined ones I try to avoid, like mashed potatoes.

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        Whole Foods does stock nutritional yeast. the stores that have bulk sections usually offer it in the bulk bins, they also have containers of it in the Whole Body section with the supplements, and occasionally you can find shaker jars of the Red Star brand on the shelf in the baking aisle next to the regular yeast packets.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Well, I bought some nutritional yeast, from a health food store that had it in one of those bulk bins.

                          I popped the popcorn, poured some melted clarified butter on it, then sprinkled it with the nutritional yeast.

                          It doesn't have much of a taste. Maybe something slightly bitter.

                          I'm indifferent towards it, I think I would use it again as a change-of-pace from other toppings.

                          I also placed an order for extra virgin coconut oil, I should get it by next week.
                          I do like it better than Parmesan cheese, though, for some reason. Maybe the lack of strong flavor is what I liked.

                          1. re: nuraman00

                            nutritional yeast should have an almost cheesy, savory/umami flavor. sometimes it can even taste mildly nutty. it shouldn't be at all bitter - i'm afraid the stuff you bought may not have been fresh.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Hmm, I kind of see what you mean by "almost cheesy".

                              I just tried a spoonful of it.

                              How can I tell if it's fresh?

                              While I think I sprinkled a lot, next time I'll sprinkle even more on the popcorn, and see what I think.

                              When I just tasted it right now from a spoon, I can understand the appeal of it on popcorn. I just have to try to get the same taste now, when I actually use it as a popcorn topping.

                              Hmm, I just read this part again, from dmd_kc :

                              +++++++++++++

                              You have to pop in oil for it to stick

                              ++++++++++++++

                              So, does that mean I mix the nutritional yeast in the popping oil, when popping the popcorn?

                              1. re: nuraman00

                                no, it just means that you still want a little bit of the popping oil to be on the popcorn when you add the yeast AFTER it's popped. or you can just mist the popped corn with a little oil if you have a Misto or other oil sprayer (but don't use cooking spray - you'll ruin the flavor of the popcorn with the additives & propellants in the spray!)

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Update:

                                  1. I received the coconut oil! I made a batch, and split it in 2 bowls.

                                  # 1: I used the clarified butter, and this time, used table salt. I had been using sea salt before. I'm not sure why, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But then I remembered that even at movie theaters, they don't seem to be using anything other than table salt from shakers.

                                  I was very happy with the taste, to me, it pretty much achieved that "movie butter" taste I had been looking for. I guess I had been using the wrong salt.

                                  #2: For the 2nd bowl, I used the nutritional yeast again. It was a little better, but I still can't figure out why I can't get it closer to the way nutritional yeast tastes, when I try a spoonful. The flavor is just not coming out.

                                  2. I could smell the coconut oil on the popcorn, after it was done. And I didn't use much at all, maybe 1.5 teaspoons. I'm not sure if it made a huge difference in taste, but it worked, and it's healthier, so why not?

                                  3. I had contacted Gold Medal, and they told me where I could find a store that sold Flavacol. Unfortunately, it's far (30-33 miles), and I'd have to do some planning if I want to go by that area again. (I.E. do a few errands in that area).

                                  Plus, since I just tried the table salt, and I got the taste I was looking for, I don't think I'm going to pursue the Flavacol too hard. I also dont' want to order it online and pay $11-13 for a carton.

                                  4. I do need to search for additional healthier topping options, other than the butter/salt combo. I can't do that every time.

                                  goodhealthgourmet mentioned sriracha, that sounds appealing to me.

                                  Someone mentioned dried white cheddar in another thread, but I don't know where to find that. The only dried white cheddar product I can find, online, is dog food.

                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                    I appreciate you continuing to post your experiences on this thread. I don't know what kind of sea salt you were using, but for this use you want a fine salt that's going to distribute evenly and combine with the butter. Your sea salt may have been too coarse.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Thanks. If it weren't for all the helpful suggestions in this thread, I wouldn't have tried some of these things. The good explanations and suggestions gave me good reasons to experiment.

                                    2. re: nuraman00

                                      instead of looking for "dried cheddar," you need to search for "cheddar powder" or "powdered cheddar."

                                      http://www.google.com/search?q=chedda...

                                      http://www.google.com/search?q=powder...

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Thanks a lot, that helped! I think I saw something I liked, I'm going to keep searching for a few more days, before finally ordering something.

                                        A question: Do I need to apply butter, before applying a powder like white cheddar?

                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                          Cabot Cheddar Shake is the best powdered cheddar I've found. Easily found online for those not living in parts of New England where you can find it in stores.

                                          Unless you've air-popped your popcorn, you don't need to add butter, though you may do so to your heart's content.

                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            Is it White Cheddar or regular? Just curious.

                                            http://www.yankeeharvest.com/Merchant...

                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              White.

                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                I got the Cheddar Shake. I knew 8 oz was a lot, but it's even more impressive to see the shaker in person.

                                                I tried it on the popcorn, it's good.

                                            2. re: Karl S

                                              Hush your mouth, honey chile! Of course, you HAVE to add butter. Why have popcorn otherwise? :)

                                        2. re: nuraman00

                                          I'm made this caramel chocolate popcorn recipe.

                                          It's really good.

                                          http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Pr...

                                          But I can't finish it all. Is there any way I can store it? And if so, how should I reheat it the next day?

                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                            of course you can store it - use an airtight container or ziplock bag, and try to keep it in a dry place. humidity is the enemy with things like this - too much moisture and it'll turn rather sticky & soggy. oh, and i don't know that i'd reheat it - might get mushy. just enjoy it at room temp.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Thanks. The ziplock bag worked great.

                                          2. re: nuraman00

                                            I have a question about the coconut oil.

                                            When I bought it, it was in a solid state.

                                            I hadn't used it in about 2 weeks. When I opened the jar today, it was in a liquid state. Is this ok?

                                            I store it in a food cabinet, so it's not in a hot place.

                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              I bought a cheese cloth, I'm going to use this time to strain the clarified butter.

                                              How exactly should I use it? Should I just take the container I'm going to store the clarified butter in, and expand the cloth so that it covers the top of the container? Then pour the butter onto the cheesecloth?

                                              Do you know how long this process takes? Do I have to hold the cheesecloth tightly, in it's expanded state, during the whole time?

                                              To clean the cheesecloth, do I just stick it in the washer? I didn't see cleaning instructions on the package.

                                              1. re: nuraman00

                                                From my limited experience with cheesecloth, yes, if the container is small, and you can still protect your hands from contact with the hot liquid. This is usually not the case.

                                                If not, then you need to line a strainer with the cloth, and pour slowly out onto the cloth, through the strainer, and into a bowl. You can then gather up the edges of the cloth, and tie it onto the center of a wooden spoon that spans the width of the (deep) bowl, remove the strainer, place the spoon over the bowl and let it do it's thing. You just have to make certain the cloth has space enough to drain in, so that you are not soaking the tied-off cloth in the liquid you mean to separate. If you have a two basin sink, you can put the bowl into on of the basins, and use an implement long enough to span the distance from divider to counter edge: this usually works, providing an extra few inches between cloth and bowl (I hate my huge one basin sink).

                                                Cleaning cheese cloth doesn't often merit its limited use and low cost, but I have done it. I use hot water and dishwashing liquid (I would never toss a cheese cloth in with my laundry), scrub with my fingers, rinse very well, and then soak in a very hot water, to make it kutchen friendly. I make certain that there is no soap residue left in the cloth. I hang dry, and examine it for any wear and tear that might screw up the next project. Which, in this house, is once every five years.

                                                Good luck. I admire anyone who engages in relentless research for something that most accomplish in under five minutes. Your movie nights are going to rock.

                                  2. re: dmd_kc

                                    Yes, nutritional yeast is our standard for flavouring popcorn. It tastes great!

                              2. re: nuraman00

                                I think the key to good popcorn is freshness. Popcorn pops because the moisture in the kernel turns into steam and the steam pressure pops the outer shell open. The fresher the popcorn, the better it pops. After the corn has been popped, the moisture continues to steam out, so the longer it sits, the more dried out and cottony it gets. Bagged popcorn doesn't taste as good because its gotten to that dry, cottony stage.

                                Popping corn yourself is easy. People have been popping corn for centuries, long before there were microwaves, air poppers, or even stoves. Buying popcorn and popping it on the stove or in a popper is also much more economical and environmentally friendly than the prepacked microwave popcorn. Don't buy more than you think you're going to use in a few months -- I popped some corn the other day that had been sitting in the cupboard for a over a year and it was definitely not as good (and had many more duds) as when I first bought it.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Thanks, I'll stick with a smaller jar.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Well, I did it. It was a lot of fun, especially watching it pop against the glass pan cover.

                                    Ruth Lafler is right, the freshness made it taste good. I didn't get that buttery taste I was looking for when I first started the thread, but what I did get was fresh tasting popcorn, which beats all that bagged popcorn. And it did have a natural buttery taste, which was a good fresh-butter taste.

                                    Right now, I'm just using normal Challenge stick butter.

                                    I will try that clarified butter, at some point.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Didn't you just revive a thread by posting that you mixed soy sauce with butter for your popcorn? I wonder what the late, great Dr. Fujisaka would think of that?

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I did indeed. I hope that in the great hereafter Sam said, "sounds delicious, I'm going to try that!"

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Did Dr Sam pass away?

                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            Unfortunately, yes.

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7014...

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              How sad.

                                              This will very very very incidentally teach me to read "Site Talk" more than a few times a year.

                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          We store our popcorn in the freezer. Keeps better that way.

                                2. You need Flavacol, coconut oil, and clarified real butter.

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    How do you make clarified real butter? I read a little about it, but I'd like to hear your way.

                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                      Take unsalted butter, heat it up using a double boiler until the milk solids separate and fall to the bottom of the pan. Skim off the foam from the top and strain through a cheesecloth and voila! Clarified butter.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Agreed. The clarified butter is THE key to good popcorn. The milk solids will make your popcorn soggy, so you do need to skim them off.

                                        I'm a popcorn fiend, I have far too much adoration for popcorn. Most of the time, I just buy or the Orville Redenbacher kernels at the store. I've tried many of the gourmet popcorns, but they're either not as light and fluffy or they're the same and not worth the price.

                                        1. re: Azizeh

                                          Just for clarification:

                                          1. Is the clarified butter, the milk solids that separate at the bottom of the pan, or the liquid portion that's in between the milk solids, and the foam layer at the top?

                                          Which part do I get rid of, and which part do I keep? Do I keep the middle part, and get rid of the foam and milk solids? Can I strain using a tea stainer?

                                          2. If I refrigerate the clarified butter, what should I do to get it to room temperature, so I can pour it on the popcorn?

                                          Just take it out of the refrigerator 10 minutes ahead of time? Is that enough time? Is there another process I should try?

                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                            Clarified butter is the middle part -- discard the milk solids and skim off the foam.

                                            Yes you can strain through a tea strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth.

                                            If you refrigerate it, you can warm it up by leaving it outside or use a double boiler, or use your microwave (on very low setting).

                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              You could also skip all this and just buy some ghee, which is fairly widely available in most urban areas; ghee has a somewhat more toasted flavor than merely clarified butter, but many like it for use with popcorn.

                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                After reading this discussion, I almost bought some ghee that came in a plastic bottle that looked perfect for squirting on popcorn (at a Middle Eastern market).

                                                Also, if you're looking to replicate the taste of movie theater popcorn, I saw cartons of the stuff they use at Smart and Final.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  Do you remember the brand? Was it popcorn oil, or popcorn butter?

                                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                                    They had the Flavacol -- comes in a carton that looks like a quart of milk. I think they had another one as well. I was sort of kidding -- I'd go for the ghee myself.

                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                      Well, I went to Smart and Final for the first time. They didn't have Flavacol. I was also unimpressed with most of their prices for normal grocery items, I could find things a little cheaper at other places, save for 1-2 items.

                                                      They also didn't have coconut oil. However, I think I read in one of the threads, that someone bought coconut oil at Walmart, so I will try that next.

                                                      Any other places where I might find Flavacol?

                                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                                        S&F has really gone downhill the past 5 yearsor so. They've eliminated a lot of food and hard goods items, and they're not even available in their catalog. urf! Their prices aren't even all that good anymore.

                                            2. re: Azizeh

                                              Well, I tried clarified butter this time.

                                              I almost bought 56 oz of ghee from Costco, but I decided to buy sticks of unsalted butter, and make clarified butter myself.

                                              So, I took 1 lb. and made some.

                                              I don't know if it tasted much different than when I tried melting regular butter.

                                              Overall, I do think I like the fresh popped tasted of popcorn, vs. the bagged kind.

                                              I'm going to try one of the healthier toppings, the next 1-2 times, like Parmesan cheese, so I don't use butter every time.

                                              It might take a few trials, for popcorn with clarified butter, before I decide if I think it's different/better, or not. I'll probably have to make adjustments to get the portion correct too, so it's not too greasy.

                                              1. re: Azizeh

                                                Can someone help me find Flavacol at a retail store? The places online charge too much for shipping.

                                                I couldn't find it at a Smart & Final, and I tried calling another "party supplies" store, but no one answered the phone.

                                                1. re: nuraman00

                                                  contact the manufacturer - i'm sure they can direct you to a local source:
                                                  http://www.gmpopcorn.com/about-us.cfm

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    If there's a GFS around you, they have it - that's where I buy it.

                                                    1. re: Missy2U

                                                      GFS?

                                                  2. re: nuraman00

                                                    I know this is an old thread, but just wanted to post that I bought some Flavacol today at Cash & Carry, which is the Northwest version of Smart & Final (same ownership & product mix, generally); it's $2.69 for one and about $30 per case of 12. They're in NorCal, OR, WA and ID.

                                                    http://www.smartfoodservice.com/locat...

                                                    However, I've noticed that the product mix varies by location so I would definitely call ahead.

                                                    So it's possible that S&F may have it again as well.

                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                      Thanks! I just called the Smart & Final near me, and they said they had it.

                                                      I'm going to try and pick some up soon. They have the normal Butter flavor.

                                                      A few months ago, I was considering just buying it online, for $11, and trying the Better Buttery Taste. But I never did.

                                                      BTW, do you use any actual butter, or just the Flavacol on afterward?

                                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                                        I tried popping it in clarified butter but was disappointed that it actually gave the popcorn no butter flavor. I really think much of what we think of as butter flavor is really in the milk solids. I'm not a fan of putting butter on afterwards, as I think it just makes the popcorn soggy and greasy. But that's just me.

                                                        I tried the Flavacol both ways, both before and after (it's designed to go in with the oil). It was better than normal salt but still didn't dissolve well before and didn't stick after. So when my popper died this week I punted, gave away all my raw materials and will now happily return to microwave popcorn. I give. I know it makes me a heathen but I've been trying for three years and never once came up with a batch of popcorn that tasted like a movie theater's best efforts. Orville's MW MTB I get from Costco by the case comes closest for me. The best popcorn I got out of the popcorn machine was when I opened up the MW popcorn packages and popped the contents in the machine.

                                                        If I were to buy another machine, I'd get a professional hopper type and buy those twin blister packs that have the corn in one pouch and the flavored, salted coconut oil in the other, pre-measured, like the theatres use.

                                          2. I learned a great tip from Emeril. I have a stovetop popper (a pot with a crank on it to agitage the kernels) and I put the popping oil in there with a sprig or two of rosemary. Awesome flavor.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Avalondaughter

                                              Great, thanks for the tips everyone. Can't wait to try it!

                                              1. re: chowingdown1

                                                The movie theatres use a butter flavoured oil to pop the popcorn. I don't know if it is available in stores. Try googling. This gets every kernel coated in a fake buttery taste. I think that is what you are looking for. Add the clarified butter after and it should be perfect.

                                                1. re: julesincoq

                                                  Some of these flavored oils (you can find others easily enough) sound interesting, if not particularly healthful.

                                                  http://www.americanspice.com/catalog/...

                                                  1. re: Muskrat

                                                    Alton Brown has a good method for no fuss micro popcorn. Take a new, small paper lunch sack, pour unpopped kernels to cover most of the bottom (2-3 TBS???)
                                                    Fold the very top of the bag over, and staple. Yes, its safe for your microwave, the staples will not cause arcing.Pour into a bowl and flavor with salt, melted butter or cocount oil, or whatever. Way cheaper and better for you than the pre packaged stuff. Don't want to alarm you, but that fake butter and flavoring in the micropacks are not your friends.

                                                    1. re: MNLisaB

                                                      Not a huge deal, but I never staple the paper bag...just scrunch it closed...either way, the homemade m/w popcorn is boss! Love it!

                                                      1. re: Val

                                                        Yes, I do this, too. I just scruch the bag closed. I put oil on top of kernels before scrunching (usually veg. or corn). It is so easy and tastes great!

                                            2. You want to use Weaver popcorn, red coconut oil, Flavacol, Diamond Crystal popcorn salt and either clarified butter or popcorn specific butter concentrate like Odell's.

                                              Weaver corn, coconut oil and Flavacol at good prices here - http://www.ht-express.com/catalog/cat...

                                              DC popcorn salt at Amazon (or your grocery store) - http://www.amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-F...

                                              Odell's popcorn butter - http://www.popntop.com/popntop_home.html

                                              Experiment with the amounts until you get the exact taste you are going for. For the best quick fix use Naks Paks - http://store.detroitpopcorn.com/ezpop... (Weaver Gold corn, coconut oil and Flavacol).

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: CDouglas

                                                I love the big, high-domed popped kernals that come from movie or kettle-corn operations. Is that what the Weaver brand corn produces? It certainly is inexpensive, but at 13#, too much for me to buy.

                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                  Weaver Gold pops up big and is used in many movie theaters around the country.

                                                  Not to get too popcorn geeky but one usually finds two shapes of popcorn: butterfly and mushroom. Butterfly is the one that has an exploded, multiple-wing look while mushroom has the ball-shaped kinda mini brain look. Mushroom flake tends to be sturdier and holds up better to caramel and candy applications so it is often found used as such. Hybrids exist that produce kernels that are 100% of either variety.

                                                  Here is a link for mushroom flake kernels:

                                                  http://shop.justpoppin.com/gourmet-po...

                                                  1. re: CDouglas

                                                    Not too geeky for me! I'd never thought about the different shapes of popcorn kernels before, but now that I do, I realize that popcorn in, for example, Cracker Jack is a completely different shape than "movie theater" popcorn.

                                                    1. re: CDouglas

                                                      thanks for the link. justpoppin had this to say about hte 2009 harvested crop:

                                                      'Hulless Popcorn
                                                      What you may not know is that this past season was one of the worst on record for popcorn growing/harvesting. This has made it difficult to replace our stock with popcorn that meets our standards. A lot of companies are selling sub-par stock right now and we do not want to be one of them.

                                                      The 2010 crop harvest is going on right now and as soon as it is ready we will start to ship. Please Contact Us if you would like to be notified when we are ready to ship again. Thank you for your patience."

                                                2. I forgot to add that you need a Cretors popper to get the true theater taste - http://www.cretors.com/store/start.as...

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: CDouglas

                                                    you also might want to consider purchasing organically-grown popcorn. According to the USDA popcorn is in the 10 Ten mos contaminated crops. That means the residues are in the popcorn sitting on the grocer's shelf. Everything from pesticides like malathion and lindane shudder to petroleum distillates like benzine and toluene.

                                                    Click over and listen to the "Farmer Steve On The Radio". He explains why eating non-contaminated popcorn (and hold the butter flavoring, too--causes lung damage) is a choice you should make if you want GOOD POPCORN.

                                                    http://www.farmersteve.com/

                                                    1. re: toodie jane

                                                      What's the source of the information that the *USDA* has put popcorn on such a list at such a level?

                                                      The EWG has the oft-cited list of "most contaminated" crops, and popcorn appears nowhere on it, for example:

                                                      http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        Please pardon the error--as I now understand it, the data was from the FDA Total Diet Report of 1999. Farmer Steve's website refers to it, and the table shown on his website is reproduced from a 2000 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) titled "Nowhere to Hide: Persistent Toxic Chemicals in the U.S. Food Supply" A sobering report.

                                                        **the 'full list' appearing on foodnews.org above appears to survey only fresh fruits and vegetables, no grain or cereal crops. They do have a pdf downoadable to your smart phone for shopping convenience.

                                                        All this talk about popcorn makes me hungry--gotta go heat up the air popper!

                                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                                          As best I can tell, the pesticides that affect popcorn were banned years ago (the study periods and study report have a lag), and are of a type that is coming from the precipitation cycle, so that organic popcorn is not necessarily free from the risk, either.

                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            wow thanks for the great detective work.

                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                              Well, I decided to read that report and the annexes when I realized the info was being used as a marketing ploy.

                                                  2. I use only organic bulk popcorn. I make it in my big Staub enamel cast iron pan. I cook it in oil with the lid on. You have to shake the pot back and fourth to prevent burning. When done, I pour 1/2 stick of melted butter over it and toss quickly. I top it with salt, pepper, and sometimes good parm.

                                                    Puts any other popcorn to shame.

                                                    1. Have you tried using grapeseed oil? I get mine at Trader Joe, Whole Foods carries it, too.

                                                      1. Orville Redenbacher hah. I grow and haul to a company that has fills some of Orvilles bags. They contract to some extent using other companies seed. Greatwestern Products of Hollywood Al. supply aprox 90% of movie theatres in North America.

                                                        1. I normally buy popcorn in bulk from my local health food shop and store it in a large jar in the refrigerator. As mentioned upthread, as popcorn ages it loses moisture and can get stale. I periodically sprinkle a few drops of water into my jar of popcorn to keep it moist and tasting fresh. Wait several hours (normally I give it overnight) before popping.

                                                          1. If you like caramel corn and you ever have a moment to try your hand at making a similar creation.. try this recipe on Our Best Bites (I almost don't want to post this because it is making me Really want it--thankfully I do not have any brown sugar):
                                                            http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/c...

                                                            1. Mmmm popcorn. Normally I eat the stuff pretty much every day and I would recommend getting a whirly-pop(I think you can find these at bed, bath, and beyond or target) and I usually pop in olive oil. Top with some butter or whatever you like - you can add stuff to the butter too.

                                                              I've tried pretty much every brand of kernel out there and prefer Eden Organic(I guess it's sort of expensive, but I eat popcorn instead of chips and stuff, so it's cheaper than that...I also buy it in bulk on amazon). Anyway, Eden Organic is great because every single kernel pops and there are fewer hulls. I have problems with the hulls getting stuck in my gums which can be painful for days.

                                                              Anyway, to summarize: whirlypop + Eden organic + olive oil/salt = fantastic, healthy popcorn. Enjoy!