Why Alton Brown Recommends Using A Metal Bowl To Pop Popcorn

One of the things that makes popcorn such an incredible snack is its capacity for customization. It can be topped with butter, oil, salt, ranch seasoning, cheese powder or soy sauce for a savory snack. You can also mix in some chocolate or use a caramel drizzle for something on the sweeter side. Or if you're feeling extra bold you could even turn it into a beloved Midwest popcorn salad (via Vice).

And the variety doesn't end with toppings. There's just as many ways to get those kernels popping as well. The less ambitious can just grab a bag from their local movie theater, or grab a bag of their favorite ready-to-eat popcorn like Boomchickapop. Microwave popcorn bags are also easy and convenient as long as they don't burn, and curse your house with their stench. Or you can be like chef David Chang, and make it on the stove with a dutch oven or other pot (via Instagram).

There's also another method out there that might not immediately come to mind, but it's the preferred method for notoriously meticulous celebrity chef Alton Brown.

Metal bowls cook evenly and avoid burnt popcorn

The tried and true method that Brown swears by for his popcorn isn't your typical cooking pot, but a humble stainless steel bowl (via YouTube). As he puts it specifically, a "heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel bowl in the six quart range." The famous cook says that this is the perfect vessel for having every kernel pop while avoiding the dreaded burnt popcorn.

His reasoning is as simple and wonderful as popcorn itself. The flat bottom of the stainless steel mixing bowl makes for a perfect well for the kernels and oil to rest in and absorb most of the heat coming from the stove. As the kernels pop, they rise above that well, and away from the heat. This reduces the risk of burning. Best of all, your popcorn is already in a serving bowl. Just be sure to let it cool first.

One important note is that the stainless steel bowl used is an 18/10 type of stainless steel. According to Public Kitchen Supply, other types out there are the 18/8 and 18/0 steels, and what these numbers reflect is the ratio of chrome to nickel in the steel. The less nickel present in stainless steel the worse it is at conducting heat. So, you'll want to make sure to use an 18/10 mixing bowl if you plan to use it over a stove.