Having operated a kettle corn business for over a decade now, I'm often asked how does one go about making the best kettle corn. In this very brief article, I will run through my thoughts on the subject. I should start off by saying first and foremost, that there are a million and one ways to make kettle corn, though none of those methods involve burning the sugar or popcorn, or at least not to the best of my knowledge. In other words my techniques are hardly the only way to create a great tasting batch of kettle corn, and the secret is to always be willing to try new approaches, and to continue expanding one's own knowledge base on the many processes. If you have any questions for me about how to make kettle corn, then I would encourage you to contact me. I especially love to hear from fellow kettle corn poppers, who might be interested in just shooting the breeze regarding the business. To contact me just simply click the contact us link.
The first step in making great kettle corn, is selecting the ingredients. My advise to anyone serious about creating a great tasting popcorn, is to avoid pinching pennies when it comes to the base ingredients. You want sugar that melts correctly, and won't burn. You want popcorn kernels that pop nice and hearty, and aren't prone to leaving tons of unpopped kernels left over in your batch. You want cooking oil that facilitates an even pop and a great taste. And lastly you want fine enough salt that it will stick to your hot popcorn and melt. So this would be my first bit of advice in how to make kettle corn. Get yourself quality, tried and tested ingredients. If you use sub par ingredients, then be prepared to get a sub par batch of finished kettle corn. Also don't be afraid to try different brands of popcorn ingredients, in fact that is highly recommended. Take notes during your taste tests, that way you will remember which brand of ingredient to use again.
The second most important factor in how to make kettle corn, is having properly functioning equipment. You're probably going to read that last point and think that is a fairly obvious statement, however you would be shocked at what sort of MacGyver type of junk I've seen people popping kettle corn with. If you are interested in starting your own popcorn business, then buy quality popping equipment only. Remember, this is food that people put into their mouth, so when Uncle Jim offers to make you a kettle popper with his arc welder and some rusted out car panels, politely decline. Generally speaking, the higher quality your popping gear or equipment is, the easier it's going to be to produce kettle corn, and the better tasting it's going to be. The kettle itself has to heat properly, and the inner portion should be as smooth as possible. If your kettle is pitted or cracked, then you'll find yourself burning sugar and popcorn all day long.
Outside of the ingredients and equipment, the other most important factor is your popping technique. I've been popping kettle corn for ten years now, and I'm still learning new approaches. So be open to learn, and be willing to try new things, even if you risk burning a few kettle corn batches throughout the experiment. I've come across thousands of different kettle corn flavors, and all of those delicious creations were brought to life because someone was willing to branch out and try something new. To keep myself always off the beaten path, I will force myself every couple of months to try out a new ingredient with my kettle corn. It might be something simple, like a little fresh garlic or onion powder, or it might be something much more extreme, like chocolate syrup or bees honey. The important thing is that I'm always striving for a new flavor, a new approach, and it's a fun way to keep yourself interested in popping kettle corn.