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I'm always smoking up new things that may seem strange at first but often it ends up being really good! One of the things I've done but never wrote about is smoked popcorn and, if you must know, popcorn is one of my favorite snacks (I have many favorites though).
It's easy to do and while I often cook popcorn the old fashioned way in a big pot with a lot of shaking, I've made it easy in this recipe with a microwave popcorn popper using kernels and coconut oil.
Did I mention that this is a great snack for the big game?😀
Let's do this!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Smoker Temp: 180°F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory
What You'll Need
Step 1: Pop the Corn
You can do the popping in a pot, use a microwave popper or even use microwave popcorn packs.. it'll work just fine.
Pro tip: if you make popcorn using actual kernels from a bag, add coconut oil instead of any other kind of oil. It tastes great and it helps the popcorn to turn out more crispy.
If you use a microwave popper like I do (it's better than the microwave popcorn packs but easier than using a big pot), use 1/3 cup popcorn kernels and about 1 TBS of coconut oil.
Let the popcorn continue popping until there's more than 3 seconds between pops. It's okay if all of the kernels don't pop.
Remove the popper from the microwave and remove the lid as soon as possible to let the steam escape.
Step 2: Into a Baking Sheet
Pour the popcorn into a baking sheet or two. You want the smoke to be able to get to it really well so you don' want a real thick layer.
You can also use a foil pan if you prefer.
Step 3: Season with Barbecue Rub
If you have your own rub it'll work just fine.. I use Jeff's original rub on the smoked popcorn that I make and everyone goes crazy over it. It's low in salt and big on flavor.
Make sure to add plenty and get a little on every single piece.
If it's not sticking well, you can spray the popcorn with oil to help the rub to stick better.
Step 4: Set Up the Smoker
Set up your smoker for cooking at a very low temperature with light smoke. I used a pellet smoker for this and set it the special smoke setting. This setting will usually maintain about 180°F (82°C) which is perfect.
If your smoker uses a water pan, I recommend leaving it dry for this to make sure the popcorn stays nice and crisp.
Step 5: Make the Smoked Popcorn
Once your smoker is ready to go, place the pan of popcorn into the smoker and close the lid.
Let it smoke for about an hour, stirring with a spoon or spatula about every 20 minutes to make sure you get good smoke coverage.
➡ If you need more smoke in your smoker, see my article on using a pellet tube.
I usually go for about an hour but this will vary depending on how much smoke flavor you want.
Every time you go out to stir, taste a piece of two and if it starts to get too smokey, you can call it done. Otherwise, you can let it go longer if you prefer.
Step 6: Serve It Up
Serve the smoked popcorn to your family and guests and enjoy watching them go crazy over it.
I recommend making plenty because they'll be coming back for seconds and thirds!
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 TBS coconut oil
- Jeff's original rub
- Make about 8-12 cups of popcorn using your favorite method (microwave, air-popped, etc.).
- Pour popcorn into baking sheet or foil pan and season generously with Jeff's original rub. Use some spray oil if the rub is not sticking well enough.
- Setup smoker for cooking at about 180°F (82°C) using light smoke. If your smoker uses a water pan, leave it dry for this experiment to keep the popcorn nice and crisp.
- Smoke the popcorn for about an hour stirring every 20 minutes for maximum smoke coverage.
- When the popcorn tastes smokey enough, bring it into the house and serve it up.