Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Buc-ee's Beaver Nuggets ... or Bucky's Badger Bits?

I realize that a post on Beaver Nuggets probably requires a fair amount of background information. So here's the story: In October, I made a trip to Houston for my good friend Taryn's wedding. The wedding was actually in Wharton, Texas, a very small town ... at least by my standards. The biggest attraction in Wharton, however, is a pretty big deal. It's Buc-ee's! I suppose Buc-ee's is what you'd call a convenience store, but it's unlike any convenience store you've ever been in. They've got everything at Buc-ee's: dozens of varieties of jerky, any snack food you could ever imagine, a huge deli, an amazing bakery, country home decor (on display in the restrooms, no less), clothes, pet supplies ... and Beaver Nuggets.

If you've never experienced a Beaver Nugget, you don't know what you're missing. The best way I can describe them is as caramel-coated corn pops. And it turns out that's pretty accurate!

I came back from Houston raving about Buc-ee's and Beaver Nuggets. My co-workers couldn't believe I hadn't brought a bag back for them, but we ended up solving that problem fairly quickly. Turns out one of my co-workers has a brother who lives in Texas. And after a series of texts with his wife, she produced a recipe! Behold ... the beloved Beaver Nuggets:

Beaver Nuggets
Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag Chesters (Yeah, I didn't know what Chester's were either. Turns out they're corn puffs found in the chip aisle ... and they're available from brands other than Chesters. I ended up using Jay's. I saw them in both butter and cheese varieties and ended up using butter, but if you can find plain that would be even better.)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Place corn puffs in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until sugar as dissolved. Bring to a boil, and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.

Remove from heat and add baking soda. Mixture will foam. Pour half of mixture over corn puffs and gently stir. Add remaining mixture and stir to coat. Spread corn puffs on baking sheets. (The corn puffs are somewhat fragile, so I had a tough time coating them with the sugar-syrup mixture. But it turns out that the mixture will continue to foam as it cooks in the oven, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to get them completely coated.)

Bake for 45 minutes total, stirring every 15 minutes and rotating sheets halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven, use a spatula to loosen nuggets from sheets, and allow to cool completely.


I think you need to have a Beaver Nugget to truly appreciate them. They're airy, but crunchy. Sweet, but a little bit salty. Yum!

My genius co-worker Jen (and with a name like that you should understand why she's a genius) suggested an alternate name for Beaver Nuggets, which I think we have a huge opportunity to capitalize on. Seeing as how we're in Wisconsin, where our mascot is Bucky the Badger, she's calling them Badger Bits. Brilliant! Different Bucky, same delicious snacks. I can see them being big ... and when they are, just remember that Badger Bits were born here!

23 comments:

  1. This is awesome! Glad to motivate you in your cooking endeavours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So Chesters are salty? Because if this is a crunchy, sweet/salty thing.. I'm on board!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beaver ... I mean Badger Bits went over extremely well at work. Jen even came up with a tag line: "A little badger in every bit." All we need now is an accompanying jingle and I think we've really got something here!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah, thanks for reposting this link via Twitter. I was surprised how much I liked these at the Super Bowl party, and I definitely want to try this recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank goodness for living right down the road from Bucees! Beaver Nuggets are most delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Raelynnnicole, I'm SO jealous that you live near Buc-ee's. I'd be there every. single. day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We live near one of the newer Buc-cee's (in Wharton TX). I could eat a bag of Beaver Nuggets all by myself in one sitting. I have to make myself stop or I'd be as big as the Buc-cee's store itself. haha

    I'm a new follower. I found you on a Google search for the Beaver Nuggets recipe. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Best things ever! I have a friend driving form Florida to California, I told her she better stop in Luling and gets some! And keep them from the husband and young'uns.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a dangerous recipe...I stop at Bucees every time I get to Texas just for these.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, thanks for the recipe...I am in the middle of making 7 bags of Chesters into "Reindeer Nuggets" for some friends and neighbors who have never been to a Bucees and have no idea what a Beaver Nugget is...and now that I live in NC, I had to relegate those little nuggets to a fond memory...until NOW!

    Just a note for those who will make this recipe--no barefoot cooking. One of those little critters jumped off the baking sheet and gave me a 2nd degree burn on my foot!

    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I make these all the time and we just call it Crack Corn... I can't make them enough to keep my friends happy!!! The most delicious version of caramel corn I've ever had!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That is awesome! I am addicted to those nuggets. I like the Crack Corn name as I told my friend that the nuggets were like crack. Just one and you are hopelessly addicted. Thank you for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoying making them as much as I enjoy eating them! I may have to make a batch this weekend...

      Delete
  13. Have never heard of chesters except for the puff corn. Any ideas what to look for in Oklahoma

    ReplyDelete
  14. My daughter just informed me that chesters puff corn butter flavor is what we but all the time

    ReplyDelete
  15. Have never heard of chesters except for the puff corn. Any ideas what to look for in Oklahoma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi esteici! I had never heard of Chester's before I went looking for them either, but they can also be sold under some different names. Here in Wisconsin I believe Jay's also makes a puff corn and there are some generic brands as well. Also, I was initially nervous about using the butter flavor, but it turned out just fine.

      Delete
    2. Okay what am I doing wrong? I tried these and they burnt up Any ideas??

      Delete
    3. I've ended up with a few charred beaver nuggets in the past, too. You have two options:

      1. Knock back the oven temperature to 325 OR reduce the cooking time. It may be that you have a super hot oven (like I used to...it caused me to unnecessarily burn A LOT of stuff!). I'd start checking the beaver nuggets after 30 minutes or see to see how they're doing. Once the coating appears to be browning, give them just another minute or two in the oven and take them out. They'll harden up as they cool.

      2. Reduce the amount of butter, sugar and corn syrup by about 1/4. You need just enough to lightly coat the corn puffs, but I've found that I usually have more than enough with the original recipe and any excess dripping in the pan can scorch in the oven.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have a more successful experience if you try them again!

      Delete
  16. I've been to Bucee's many times. But only tried the Beaver Nuggets for the first time this past weekend. I actually mentioned them in a recent post. Lol.
    http://www.memoirsofmeandmine.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  18. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete