Has anyone made something that tastes similar to the (discontinued) microwave product? As a bonus question, does anyone know why they discontinued the product? I doubt that it was lack of demand. I think it was only ever available in limited parts of the US.
I make popcorn in a Stircrazy quite often so I don't have a problem with the basic technique. I add the salt to the kernels and drop it all in when the 2-3 test kernels pop.
However, I love (or used to love) the Orville Redenbacher (natural, buttery salt and ) cracked pepper microwave popcorn. When the product was discontinued I tried several techniques to reproduce the flavor and nothing has worked. Here is what I tried and the results:
1) Adding cracked black pepper to the salt and kernels before popping. While the salt sticks the black pepper mostly stays in the popper.
2) Adding oil and black pepper to the kernels and salt. I mixed it well to coat the kernels and more stuck than with method #1 but much less so than the microwave product and also the flavor wasn't as "special" as the microwave product.
3) Adding cracked pepper after it is all popped. I only added this in case someone was planning to suggest it. The pepper mostly falls off.
One thing I haven't tried is grinding the pepper to dust, like popcorn salt. But then it isn't cracked pepper.