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Stir Crazy Deluxe Popcorn Maker

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mark Booth, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    If I had a large, dedicated, theater setup in my home I'd definitely buy a large commercial popcorn machine. But I don't have the space for such a machine so I've always used either a Stir Crazy or Cuisinart popper. They both had their negatives. The original Stir Crazy was a pain to clean and the Cuisinart eventually broke. Happily, West Bend recently released a brand new design for the Stir Crazy popper, the Stir Crazy Deluxe. As soon as I saw that it had been released I ordered one. Upon receiving it, I was so impressed with this hot new popper that I wrote a review for my blog (including several high-quality photos): http://markshangout.com/blog/2011/11/3/west-bend-stir-crazy-deluxe-popcorn-maker-review-how-to-make.html Mark
     
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

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    Mark - awesome review! Thanks for posting this - I have the old stir crazy which is hanging in there for now. I plan to try the Great Northern as well as the oven drying method and will report back with results. Man do I want some popcorn right now...
     
  3. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Interesting article. For butter, I melt and draw the butter so I'm left with butter oil. Add a dash of salt. May not be exactly like movie popcorn, however I find it superior (it also takes more time).
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    Good stuff. I am a BIG fan of using cinammon or other flavor on my popcorn, so I may have to give this a try. My kid is a huge popcorn fan, he would love this for Christmas.
     
  5. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

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    Mark - an update. I followed your method to the letter and we enjoyed some of the best popcorn at home that we have ever had! It was fantastic!! Thanks again.
     
  6. theresme1

    theresme1 Well-Known Member

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    If you had room, what brand would you consider buying for a commercial type popcorn maker? I am currently looking for a decent commercial popcorn maker. Thanks
     
  7. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    I keep asking that. I keep seeing upright poppers (ala movie theater format) in the sub $200 category, and I'm tempted.
     
  8. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Well-Known Member

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    My mother has one of those, but I think the Stir Crazy (which I have) makes better popcorn.
     
  9. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    You want to be careful purchasing those sub-$200 standalone popcorn machines. Most of them only have about 500-600 watt kettles. Those machines will take longer to pop a batch of corn and, despite their stirring rod, may not heat the kernels quite as evenly as the 1,000 watt Stir Crazy Deluxe. I've also read numerous reports (on other forums) about those sub-$200 machines breaking down after a year or two. The inexpensive machines also lack features such as a warming tray. If you are going to drop some money for a commercial type of popcorn machine, do yourself a favor and get a good quality machine the FIRST TIME. You can get a Gold Medal or Paragon brand 4oz machine in the $350-$450 range (not including stand). The Gold Medal Fun Pop machine (4 oz. kettle size) will actually take the 6 oz. pre-packs. As for the Stir Crazy Deluxe.... I've used it for several multi-batch sessions in the last couple of weeks. It continues to function flawlessly and, combined with the Great Northern packs and some time in the oven (see my review), makes the best tasting popcorn I've ever had at home. And our guests agree! We hosted a group of 17 for 'Super 8' in the Booth Bijou Garage Theater last night. The guests liked the popcorn so much they actually took home the leftovers! :) Mark
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The popcorn looked really interesting, but it's for machine only :( I was hoping I could use it in the microwave -- I don't need another single-use kitchen gadget I'd use once a year :)
     
  11. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Like the beginning of my review says, if you think microwave popcorn tastes OK then there's no need to read the review. Me, if I'm going to ingest some high carbohydrate food with fat and salt added, I want to eat the best. To my taste buds, EVERY microwave popcorn I've tried is settling for something less than real movie theater popcorn. Besides, microwave popcorn is expensive compared to the packs I recommend in my review. We spend thou$ands to recreate the real movie theater experience in our homes, why not spend less than $100 to recreate real movie theater popcorn too! :) Mark
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I don't begrudge anyone their gourmet popcorn; I only wish I could try some :) But since I don't have space for such a kitchen gadget, I thought perhaps the popcorn itself you recommend would work in a microwave popper. But the Amazon listing says it's for machines only. (I also thought this might make a good present for a relative, but again, it suffers the bread-machine problem.)
     
  13. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Premium
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    I purchased some of the Great Northern packs to try out in my Whirley Pop, along with the oven drying technique. I made my first batch tonight and while the texture of the popcorn was excellent, the taste was a little disappointing.


    The Flavacol didn't seem to add much to the popcorn. Then I noticed how much of it remained stuck to the inside of the Whirley Pop. Is this not a problem with other poppers?


    Also, one downside I noticed with the Whirley Pop, the single batch Great Northern packs seem to make a little too much for the Whirley Pop. Popcorn was coming out of the popper towards the end of the cooking process.

    -Keith
     
  14. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Keith, Some oil/Flavacol remains on the popping plate after a batch made in the Stir Crazy Deluxe, but certainly not enough to matter. That was a minor gripe with my 1st generation Stir Crazy. As the non-stick coating started wearing away, it seemed more oil/Flavacol stuck to the appliance. The non-stick coating on the Stir Crazy Deluxe seems heartier and it seems to do a much better job of releasing the oil/Flavacol onto the popped corn. Our guests all feel the popcorn has the perfect amount of saltiness. Whirley Pops don't have a non-stick coating so perhaps that's part of it? But I suspect the bigger issue is heat. Professional popcorn machines don't have non-stick coating either. But I imagine they get a lot hotter than a Whirley Pop. I tried a Whirley Pop (given to me as a gift) about a year ago. Frankly, I don't know how anyone is able to get satisfactory results with a Whirley Pop. Not only did I end up with a bunch of old maids, some bits of aluminum from the bottom of the Whirley Pop became stuck to the surface of our glass-top stove (it was a real pain to get them cleaned off!). Fortunately, the gift was accompanied by a gift receipt so we returned it to Target. Mark
     

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