Our air popper died on us several weeks ago, and we've been missing this staple snack around our house. So this week we pulled out the Dutch oven and tried our hand at popping popcorn like our intrepid pioneer ancestors.
Next to bannock, this is probably the easiest thing you'll ever cook over a fire. All you need is a Dutch oven, cooking oil, and a good-quality popping corn, plus a hot, hot fire. We cooked ours over a log fire, but briquets work as well and may provide a more even cooking experience.
Start by pouring about 1/4 to 1/3 cups oil in your Dutch oven. We used coconut oil, but you could also use vegetable, grapeseed, or canola as well. (Olive oil doesn't do as well at such high temperatures.) Coat the bottom and sides with oil and set the Dutch oven over the hot fire to warm for a while, anywhere from 10-15 minutes. You can drop a few test kernels in and wait for them to pop before pouring in the rest of the corn, about 3/4 cup. Or, if you're impatient like us, dump in the whole lot from the beginning.