The garlic crusher, lemon squeezer, apple corer — each seems to serve only one purpose in the kitchen. But on tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, one chef proved that another such item, the popcorn popper, isn’t just for popping kernels. The name of the game was jalapeno poppers, and a sabotage forced a competitor to make that dish using only a traditional tabletop popcorn machine for a sole source of heat. Before host Alton Brown auctioned off this downright diabolical challenge, the Cutthroat culinary crew got to work in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages to make sure it was in fact feasible.
“Let’s get this party popping,” food stylist Abel Gonzalez joked as he prepared to drop his stuffed and breaded jalapeno into the pot of hot oil within the machine. Though it may seem easy enough to let the popper cook in the oil, he noted that there’s “a spinning, agitating device” inside the small container, and it would “mess with my poppers,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to, like, knock most of the breading off,” he added. While the breading stayed mostly attached to the pepper, removing the popper from the oil proved to be trickiest moment of the test. “This isn’t as easy as it looks,” Abel said as he tried to maneuver his tongs into the machine and grab the popper. He managed to grab it once and for all, and what emerged from the oil was indeed a jalapeno popper that he deemed “pretty decent.”