Steaky popcorn seasoning experiment, Mark I

I mentioned recently that I was convinced a steak-like seasoning for popcorn and other muchies was possible, thanks to encountering a rather excellent job of it with potato chips.

After searching for a good beef powder to add—I still would like to try it if I can find some cheap and preferably on Amazon—I came up empty and decided to take a stab at faking it, using the parameters I had already set. The one addition was that I found some alder smoked salt, and felt that would work out well.

My first attempt mixed all these by eye, and as a result this is my best guess at the proportions:

Steaky popcorn seasoning experiment #1

  • 1 part alder smoked salt
  • 1 part black pepper
  • 4 parts MSG
  • 4 parts granulated garlic
  • 6 parts popcorn salt (I overpoured)

I blended that together the best I could and tried a few pinches; afterward I tried applying some to some white cheddar popcorn (it was all I had handy) just to see if I could get an idea of what it’d be like on regular. My observations:

  • The smoked salt was overpowering. It needs to be cut in half.
  • The garlic was a tad strong. Cutting that in half wouldn’t hurt anything.
  • The popcorn salt was overdone, as expected. It should be cut back to the level of the MSG.
  • The black pepper wasn’t strong enough. Double it.
  • Although my tolerance for onions is very low, I think a tiny amount of onion powder would not go amiss.

So with that, this is what I intend to try on my next attempt:

Steaky popcorn seasoning experiment #2 (proposed)

  • 1 part alder smoked salt
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 4 parts black pepper
  • 4 parts granulated garlic
  • 8 parts MSG
  • 8 parts popcorn salt

The only thing I’m wondering about, besides if it’s feasible to come by a basic beef powder that isn’t itself flavored up, is if a little butter-flavored powder would work here. I’ve found most butter seasonings to be lame, so my preference would be to powderize real butter by mixing a small amount of it with tapioca maltodextrin. Of course, if a light coating of butter is used on the popcorn itself for the spices to adhere to, that’s moot.

Folks who are sensitive to MSG might want to try finding a glutamate alternative. I read some time ago that there’s a dried mushroom seasoning sold in some Asian groceries that can act as an MSG substitute because it’s rich in glutamates. I haven’t tried it myself, but you can get it on Amazon; it’s imported from Taiwan. Wegmans doesn’t seem to carry it in their international food section, but I might have overloooked it; doubtless they’re not as well stocked as a proper Asian grocery, though. I don’t subscribe to the theory that “natural” is automatically better, but I admit I’ve been very curious about this stuff.

If you try your own version of this steaky seasoning, let me know how it turns out. Or heck, if you can find powdered beef and incorporate it, I’d like to know how that turns out too. It feels wrong to attempt steak flavoring without beef, even if I know it’s been done with relative success on a potato chip.

About Lummox JR

Aspiring to be a beloved supervillain
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