I make tons of popcorn, just short of 20 flavors. I guess we all have something that people have us make constantly because they love it, mine is popcorn.
Bar none, the best flavor and consistent cooking of popcorn in oil is via coconut oil. "What, Lakeified? You crazy." I hear you talking now. But here is a good example of what I'm referring to.
Snappy Popcorn Coconut Oil:
Why is it the best? Flavor. It's what, or at least used to be, what most every movie theater used for popping. It stores as a solid at most house temperatures, making it ideal for a theater. Sill, I hear you talking, "but Lakeified, it smokes at only 350F(175C), how can that be good?
Rule 2, make the popcorn at nowhere over about medium heat on a stovetop. Yes, it will take slightly longer. But there is a certain point where the temperature of the oil is perfect, and keeps the kernels at just the right temperature to pop, without blasting them with so much heat that they tend to scorch. Medium it is. Forget what you've read about how hot the kernels have to be and the smoke point of the oils. Medium. Max.
Finally, there is one key that helps significantly. Agitation during the popping. Shaking, moving, whatever you can do, do it. I prefer this tool, but there are automatic poppers that do the same thing. This one is cheap, it gets the job done, and it is easy to clean between uses (spray it off, wipe it down, it keeps just a thin film of that coconut oil on there which is usually fine.) I see you have one, so you should be good to go once you find the right temp for popping on your home stove.
Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper:
Now I keep hearing you say, "but they aren't going to pop at low temperature," they will. It works. The magic of coconut oil isn't the popping, it is the flavor and coating onto the popcorn giving that slightly moisturized feel you get versus the sandpaper and lack of substantial food taste versus air-popped popcorn.
Edited by Lakeified - 2/14/15 at 1:40pm