An update... my new wok arrived and I am in love! I ordered a 12 inch 1.2mm Yamada wok. It's light weight and wonderfully balanced. here's a pic (before seasoning)
I seasoned it up and got busy with the popcorn experiments. Hands down the best tasting popcorn (and best texture) was made with unrefined coconut oil. It's luscious!
Kettle corn was a lot trickier and while I was able to get decent tasting kettle corn - I'd have to say it's not worth the trouble. Even with a lid and well controlled temps the sugar turns to a scalding hot mist that burns, sticks to everything and generally turns a fun experience into a hassle. Now I know why those kettle corn guys at the fair are wearing protective gear. My final recipe for kettlekorn was:
1/4 C coconut oil
1/2 C popcorn (mushroom kernel)
2 TBls sugar
1 tsp salt
Heat oil, add corn, just when corn begins to op, add sugar and salt, stir quickly and slap lid on. Shake for all your worth for a few seconds and remove lid. DON'T let any steam build up as it makes the popcorn sticky.
On the bright side - I now have a fabulous new wok and can make the worlds best popcorn in about 30 seconds :)