Come game day, you’ll be forced to choose sides. At least with Villains Tavern’s sweet and savory bacon bourbon caramel popcorn, everybody wins.
Villains Tavern’s Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
Serves up to twenty
25 strips of bacon
9 bags of unpopped kernel corn
4½ c. butter
9 c. packed brown sugar
2¼ c. maple syrup
1 c. bourbon or rum
3 tbsp. vanilla extract
2¼ tsp. salt
2¼ tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1. Fry bacon and set aside.
2. Put 3 tbsp. oil and 4½ bags unpopped kernel corn in a large, deep pot, then place over high heat.
3. Cover and shake pot occasionally, so popcorn doesn’t burn.
4. Remove pot from heat once popping has slowed.
5. Repeat for remaining 4½ bags.
6. Heat oven to 250°.
7. Crumble bacon and spread over finished popcorn.
8. In a large pot, bring butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.
9. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
10. Stir in bourbon or rum, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda, and mix.
11. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and bacon.
12. Spread coated popcorn on large baking trays to dry.
13. Bake for 1 hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.
14. Remove from oven. Cool for 1 hour.
Villains Tavern, 1356 Palmetto Street, at South Santa Fe Avenue, Downtown (213-613-0766 or villainstavern.com).
Photo: John Ales / Courtesy of Villains Tavern