My Little Victory Garden: Bacon Fat Pepper Sauce Popcorn? Yeah!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a regular Victory Garden post.  I think I was too busy with my garden to write about my garden!  Practicing what I preach many times, I’m going to “break my work down into baby steps” by sharing ONE THING today.  What’s my one thing?  How to make an extremely low-cost, delicious-like-crazy snack for movie nights, times when you need comfort food or for a group of friends who could use a great side for their beer or soda pop. This is a “picture-story” post with a few comments here and there, so most all the instructions are in the photo captions…

Ingredients you'll need: bulk popping corn, "pepper sauce" (any type of vinegar with a cut up variety of peppers, marinated in the bottle at least overnight), and your saved bacon grease. Lard. Bacon fat...whatever you'd like to call it. To make my pepper sauce I pulled two jalepenos, about six Tabascos and a couple of Serrano chili peppers from my garden, diced them up and stuffed them into a 1/2 bottle of Champagne vinegar I had in my fridge.

Here is a close-up of my pepper case you wanted a closer look.
Next, measure 2 Tablespoons of your lard into a large stock pot. Heat on med-high until the fat is completely melted and might be crackling slightly. Measure 1/3 c. popping corn, get your lid ready and have a potholder "on deck." Ready?
Okay, pour the corn into the melted grease and cover quickly. Using a potholder to stabilize the lid, use your other arm to grip the handle and shake the contents back and forth slightly to make sure the popcorn is well coated with oil. In just a few seconds, you'll start hearing the corn begin to pop. Uncover the top about 1/4-1/2" to let the steam out. Continue agitating the pan back and forth until the corn stops popping. I create that crack to let out steam so the popped corn won't get soggy while the rest finishes doing its thing.
It's starting to pop! The lid also catches the grease splatters, so it's pulling double duty.
Once the corn is finished popping, turn off your heat and remove the pan from the burner so the grease won't start burning or smoking. Dump the popcorn into a large bowl. Season as generously as you would like with salt, ground black pepper, and lots of sprinkles of pepper sauce. Toss until well mixed, then serve in bowls...or just set out for friends in your big bowl. One note - the pepper sauce sort of "melts" the popcorn it hits, so try to evenly distribute it by sprinkling, not pouring, in order to balance the flavors.
I can't tell you just how good the bacon grease smells! Serve the popcorn warm and always loses a little pizazz if it sits for too long.
What beverage would you pair this snack with? I wanted a little citrus-y fizz, so I'm having a Hotlips Cranberry Soda with mine...Pop's is just right down the road from our house. However, this popcorn goes GREAT with cold beer, many types of iced teas, a hard-core Coca-Cola classic or even a cold white wine.

This is a family recipe.  My parents used to make popcorn with bacon grease when we were growing up, and pepper sauce was a common popcorn condiment around the house.  I remember being very young, being put to bed, then feeling disgruntled because I could hear (and smell!) my parents making popcorn after our “lights out” time.  I also, however, felt pretty grown-up when I was deemed old enough to stay up and partake.

Total cost on this snack should run you about .25 to .50 for the full recipe if you grow your own peppers, save your own bacon grease and buy bulk popcorn.  A two-pound bag only costs $1.48.  The calorie count is a little different.  The yield on this recipe is about three large cereal bowls full, and they will be about 120 calories each.  The total fat for the recipe: 115 calories; the total calories of the unpopped corn: 250.  Prep time is about 3 minutes, and cook time is about 2-3 minutes.



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5 thoughts on “My Little Victory Garden: Bacon Fat Pepper Sauce Popcorn? Yeah!”

  1. Kelly, your mom taught me to eat popcorn with apple cider vinegar sprinkled on it when we were very young. Still eat it that way when nobody’s looking!

    1. My mother’s sorhteun ancestors moved to Texas before and after the Civil War from Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana [My late father was a Yankee]. My Texas family’s take on this classic menu has been batter-fried chicken, cream pan gravy, buttered & whipped mashed potatoes, corn, hot biscuits and a tall glass of iced tea with plenty of fresh lemon juice and sugar. One grandmother would also throw in a tomato, avocado, green onion, lettuce, fresh dill, lemon juice, black pepper and mayonaise salad. Can you feel the arteries being clogged?

  2. Ahhh. Popcorn with bacon grease – the forbidden fruit! Maybe that’s why it tastes so good. And the secret ingredient of pepper sauce takes it over the top. Thanks for the article.

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