Every summer my two sons and I become stalkers. Once a week or so, we drive by our favorite family-run farm stand, desperately watching for the sign announcing the arrival of their sweet summer corn. When that sign finally appears, great cheers erupt, accompanied by enthusiastic bouncing up and down in the seat. “Calm down, Mum – it’s just corn.” This year, likely due to the cooler weather we experienced earlier in the season, the sign went up later than usual. In fact, it was still absent from the farm stand by the time we left for our summer adventure. Our corn recipes stayed tucked away in the wooden recipe box nestled in the cupboard until we returned.
A few days after our vacation, we hit the farm stand and were thrilled to see an overflowing pile of fresh corn, ears covered in bright green husks and firm to the touch. The sign at the stand stated that we could buy a baker’s dozen for a very reasonable price. My 7-year old son, lover of all things grown from the earth, declared that we should buy at least ten baker’s dozens…just for him. Well, we settled for a more modest bagful and headed home, gleefully clutching our bounty.
Now, we are often happy to husk and boil the fresh corn, dressing it in nothing more than melted butter and salt. However, if the barbecue is already fired up for our favorite summer dishes, such as Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Molasses Chili Marinade or Smoky Sliders with Grilled Pineapple & Chipotle Mayonnaise, then throwing the corn on for a few minutes is a breeze. Grilled corn also adds a smoky, rich layer of flavor to salads, salsas and soups.
Now, I may be entering some contentious waters here because I know that there is more than one way to grill an ear of corn. Some like to completely remove the husk and grill the corn straight on the grill (I actually used to do it this way) while others swear by soaking the ear, husk and all, in water for at least an hour and then grilling (this stops the husk from burning and provides more water for the corn to steam). A third camp prefers to remove the husk, butter and season the corn, and wrap it in foil before grilling. Is there one correct way? Of course not. I have tried them all and have been happy with each method, though each produces slightly different results.
In the method outlined here, I removed all but the innermost layer of the husk and grilled the ears straight on the grill. That single, thin layer of husk provides enough of a barrier to stop the corn from drying out, but allows the smokiness from the grill to penetrate the kernels. You will be rewarded with juicy, sweet and smoky corn that can hold its own when topped with cheese or fresh herbs, or shines when simply dressed with butter and salt.
How to do it:
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grate with canola oil.
Peel all but the innermost layer of husk from each ear of corn. You should be able to see the corn kernels through the last layer of husk.
Trim any silk protruding from the tip of the ear.
Place the ears of corn on the prepared grill and cook the corn, rotating every 2 minutes, until the husks are scorched and the kernels are deep golden yellow, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the corn from the grill. Allow it to cool for several minutes, then peel back the layer of husk and silks. Season with butter and salt. Dig in!
Alternatively, you can cut the kernels off the cobs and use in salads, salsas, soups and more.
Recipes with Grilled Corn:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Chicken with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa
Cookin’ Canuck’s Corn Salsa with Zing
Use Real Butter’s Grilled Corn & Chipotle Soup
Food 52’s Grilled Corn Pudding
Created by Diane’s Grilled Tri Tip with Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice & Grilled Corn
Taste & Tell’s Mexican-Style Grilled Corn