It is that time of year when all the local produce stands are loaded with sweet corn. I love it! I am based in Maryland and at this time of early summer the corn comes from Florida. As time passes the corn will come from locations right up the coast until we finally get Maryland corn, which in my opinion is the best. I'm sure I only consider it the best because local corn has less transport time and is delivered a bit fresher. Regardless, the corn that my produce stand has been selling lately has been outstanding and I've been grilling it up quite a bit. Here's how:
Sweet corn, in husk:
When I get to the local produce stand I always try to pick out the largest corn that has the most vibrant green color. The corn was looking good today!
When you are deciding to grill corn one question to ask yourself is "when do you want to eat the corn?" Do you want to eat it along with your main course? Or do you want to eat it after the steaks have been eaten? The answer to this question will largely determine your cooking method. Corn can be boiled, microwaved, grilled over direct heat and indirect heat. If you have chicken breasts sitting over direct heat then do the corn over indirect heat. If your grill is totally covered with various meats and there is no room, then toss the corn in some boiling water. However, the point of this post is to discuss grilling corn over direct heat, which is my favorite way to do it. This works best when you have a good portion of your grill free.
Before I even begin cooking the main course I skin the husk back quite a bit. I like to pull off quite a few layers of husk while still leaving about 2-3 layers, which I think helps keep the corn moist. I trim it down to what is shown in the photo above.
Toss it right over direct heat and let it burn! This is one of the only examples of when you actually want your food to burn. If the husk isn't really burnt then the grilled flavor and color won't penetrate to the corn. Aim for a medium/medium high direct heat and keep the corn over the heat until the husk has completely charred. The lower your heat, the longer your cooking time will be. But relax, this is a very forgiving and easy side dish.
In the above example I put the corn on the cob on the grill over pretty hot medium high heat and let it sit while I ate my entire meal. Every couple minutes I got up and turned the corn with tongs.
When the corn is done grab some oven mitts and peel off the husk. Note the difference in appearance in the above picture vs. the picture below. The corn in the picture below had much darker burnt husks than the corn in the above picture.
This is where you can be creative. If you frequent this blog you'll see that I mostly enjoy the simple flavors so I stick with butter, salt and pepper. However, a nice compound butter with an herb like basil would work nice. Or a garlic butter would work as well. In my opinion when the corn is local and tastes great, all I want is a little salt and pepper and butter! But that's just me!
Note: I've read a lot about people soaking their corn in water first before grilling but I don't think this does much if you're asking me How to Grill Corn. I've done it both ways and prefer avoiding the hastle of soaking the ears of corn in water.