This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Girl Camper Magazine.

Campground Popcorn ranks right behind s’mores when it comes to open-fire treats. Here are a few tried and true methods for popping the tastiest corn. The trick is a good coal bed, not direct flames. Popcorn “pops” when the moisture in the kernel heats and explodes. You’ve got lots of options for what to pop the corn in.

Here are a few of our favorite hacks.

  • Take an aluminum pie pan, add vegetable oil, corn kernels and cover with foil. Pop the corn on a grate over hot coals, shaking occasionally. It’s a homemade Jiffy Pop!
  • Place a cast iron Dutch oven on a few hot coals and heat oil in the bottom. When the oil is simmering, add kernels, cover and twist the pot by the handle while the kernels pop.
  • Use a campfire popcorn maker with a screen top and extended handle to cook popcorn without any oils. You can do this over the fire or on your propane or charcoal grill.
  • Invest in a serious popcorn pot with flip lids and a crank that moves the popcorn around while it’s popping. This can be used on the stove or campfire and at home as well.

Take it up a notch

  • Add chocolate chips, candied pecans and shredded coconut for a gourmet treat.
  • Instead of plain butter, add herbed butter and sea salt for a savory version.
  • As soon as the popcorn stops popping, open the lid and sprinkle table sugar over the hot kernels for caramel corn.
  • Serve the popcorn in parchment cones and throw them in the fire when you’re done eating.
Easy Peasy Clean-up!

Nerdy Popcorn Facts

  • Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.
  • There are many varieties of corn, but only the ‘zea mays everta’ variety has the ability to pop under heat and pressure.
  • The oldest known popcorn kernels were found in a cave in New Mexico and carbon dated to be around 5,600 years old.
  • The state of Nebraska produces 25% of the nation’s popcorn crop each year.
  • The first commercial popcorn machine was invented by Chicagoan Charles Cretors in 1885.
  • In 1981, microwave popcorn was invented reversing a decline in popcorn consumption.
  • January 19th is National Popcorn Day!

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