Bacon-Bourbon-Caramel Popcorn, Elaina Vazquez, owner and executive chef of Boutique Bites Catering
12 strips of bacon, reserve bacon fat
2 cups of unpopped kernels
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup bourbon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
Fleur de sel
1. Fry bacon and set aside. Drain bacon fat and reserve for popping popcorn.
2. Put 4 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat in a large pot over medium heat. You
will need 8 tablespoons total. If you don’t have that much bacon fat, add olive oil
to the bacon fat.
3. Add 3 kernels to the pot. When they begin to pop, add 1 cup of popcorn (you’ll
be making two batches), cover, and shake pot occasionally so popcorn doesn’t
4. Remove pot from heat once popping has slowed, place popcorn in a large
5. Repeat for remaining batch.
6. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
7. Crumble bacon over finished popcorn.
8. In a large pot, bring butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a boil, stirring
9. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat.
10. Stir in bourbon, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda. Warning: this mixture
tends to take on a life of its own and might overflow—so use a pot that’s tall, just
11. Pour caramel mixture over bacon and popcorn mixture.
12. Toss to coat evenly.
13. Spread mixture over two baking sheets covered in parchment.
14. Sprinkle each tray liberally with Fleur de sel.
15. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.
16. Remove from oven. Cool for one hour.
Boutique Bites Catering, 5717 North Elston Avenue (at Central Avenue) by
appointment only; 773-313-3211.Photo: Courtesy of Elaina Vasquez