Every so often at events a man with three screaming kids hanging off of him will spout off a statement that is, even under his stressful circumstances, totally absurd.
“No! You can’t have any popcorn! We can make that stuff at home!”
Sorry Dad... but you can’t. Not Pop Pop Shoppe popcorn, at least.
The Path to Excellent Popcorn
The Path to Excellent Popcorn begins with, what else?, the popcorn itself. For the uninitiated, popcorn is just popcorn. But that isn’t true. Not all popcorn is created equal. Just like there are different kinds of tomatoes, all of which have different flavors and best cooking uses, there are myriads of different popcorn breeds, and you need to know what’s up with each in order to make the best pop.
I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say the popcorn at the Pop Pop Shoppe can’t be bought in a jar at the grocery store. We get it shipped in on 500 lb. pallets all the way from premium popcorn growing farmers. It’s bigger, rounder, fluffier, and tastier than a store bought brand. It breaks less when you’re eating it. It holds on to the candy coating better. Orville Redenbacher's from Wal-Mart doesn’t compete with this stuff.
The second stop on the Path to Excellent Popcorn is how you go about popping your corn. As everyone knows, popcorn pops when you heat it up. What few know, however, is that the way it gets heated and how hot it gets are what really figure into the quality of the final product.
When popcorn gets hot, it pops explosively. How hot it is at the time it pops determines how strong the explosion is and so how big the popped kernel will be. The bigger the kernel ends up, the less dense is the final version. The only way to get a super crisp, fluffy kernel is to make sure you have some serious firepower behind you when popping the popcorn.
And the Pop Pop Shoppe has big popping guns, to put it mildly. Our popper can’t even be plugged into a normal outlet, and the fire marshals have routinely made us upgrade our popper’s electrical cords cause the thing was sucking so much juice. It heats the popcorn red hot (much, much hotter than a regulation microwave gets it), and we’ve got the burn scars to prove it! Next time you bite into some limp microwave pop, make sure you don’t judge that popcorn too harshly. It wasn’t it’s own fault it didn’t have a chance to shine and pop into the gloriously delicate corn it was meant to be cause it was cooped up in a bag in a cold microwave!
We continue our journey on the Path to Excellent Popcorn facing a crossroads. After a popcorn is popped, it must choose one of two paths. Either it gets to shower itself in yummy melted cheese and savory flavorings to become a premium Salty Popcorn or it offers itself to the Candy Kettle and puts on a coat of delectable hard candy shell as a Pop Pop Shoppe Sweet popcorn.
The true test of a great Salty Popcorn is a thick, even coating. At the Pop Pop Shoppe we have tons of easily meltable cheese along with dozens of different savory flavor options to choose from. Want something a little spicy but with a unique twist? No problem, we’ve got Rajun Cajun and Pickle Pop popcorn. Want the most classic popcorn around? Our Yellow Cheddar popcorn has long been a bestseller.
We make sure to take our wonderful buttery popcorn and coat it super well in our industrial size popcorn tumblers when we add our cheese and savory flavorings. The simple fact is you don’t get a true Salty coating by drizzling a little oil and salt and pepper then hand tossing.
For a Sweet popcorn, a crunchy, glassy finish is the name of the game. At the Pop Pop Shoppe, we have massive 6 foot tall Candy Kettles in a temperature and humidity controlled room where we make our Caramel and Fruit popcorns. Our special recipe combines different kinds of sugars and extracts to both ensure the end result is as tasty as it should be but also crunches in your mouth with the best of them.
Sugar goes through chemical changes every few degrees as it heats up and so to make a true hard candy popcorn you’ve got to have your temperature spot on. As nice as the water cup test is for approximating what temperature your candy is at at home, for a real, refined product you need to know down to the degree. To top everything off, once you’ve got your candy coated popcorn you’ll need to agitate it to separate out each kernel so it all isn’t just a huge glob. We have special heat resistant gloves on at all times while we are touching the scorching hot popcorn.
So, if you want to special order premium popcorn kernels, find the exact right temperature to pop them to maximum expansion, keep cooking cheese and savory add ins on stock in your house, buy an industrial candy thermometer and cooling table along with gloves to resist 300+ temperatures, then sure, you can have this stuff at home. If not, most people have let us know that they like to just leave it up to the experts at the Pop Pop Shoppe!