My New Reactor

I saw this special on FoodTV the other night on Kettle Corn. Seems it originated in the Midwest and is usually popped in these huge cast iron kettles and commonly served up at state fairs. I haven't had it yet but will definitely get some this year. It's simply popped corn slightly sweetened and salted.

So what we have is a slightly sweet and salty food with 4 ingredients and its preparation is process intensive. I am so all over this it's not funny. I had to figure out how to make this in my kitchen. Apparently the trick is to get the popcorn popping in oil (usually soybean oil) and add sugar as it begins to pop. The sugar carmelizes, coats the popped corn and when it's dumped out, it gets salted.

The key issues:
1. The amount of sugar. Consensus seems to be equal volumes of kernels to sugar.
2. When to add sugar. If you add it too early, the sugar burns; too late and the sweetness is present only as granules over the corn - bad. I guess you need to add the sugar just as the kernels begin to pop.
3. Equipment. Gotta keep things agitated. I considered one of those automatic stirring poppers but $30 was too expensive to satisfy an urge. I went to the local thrift store and found this $3 3 Liter, aluminum reactor with manual agitator. Perfect! If I destroy it, a cheap thrill. I don't think I will.
4. Stay tuned for results.