Summertime in my area is wonderful – the weather, the activities and the food. One of the things that makes summer, well summer, is fresh corn on the cob. There are many farms around and you can get corn fresh picked for most of the summer. There are even corn festivals. People absolutely love corn on the cob. Since summer is such a fleeting season the best ways to cook is to grill. Put corn and the grill together you have the perfect summer food.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to grilling corn. There are the purists that grill straight on the grill without the husks. There are the those who grill in foil , those who season before grilling. Then there are the cooks who prefer to leave the husks on or at least partially on. As. You can see there are many choices and you will have to try them out to find your personal preference.
First, try to buy the freshest corn possible. As soon as you pick the corn the sugar begins to transform to starch. After three days the transformation is completed and you have tough, chewy corn. This is not what you want when you grill. The higher the sugars content the better. The urge to shuck your corn at the grocery store will speed up the aging process, so keep the husk as long as you can. Refrigeration will also help slow the process.
The next step is grill preparation. Whether you have a charcoal grill or propane powered one, you will want a hot grill for corn. Some methods require an open grill and some a closed lid so check the directions to coordinate the rest of your meal.
I’ll start with the techniques that start with removing the husk. We all know how to peel corn, but I’ll give you a tip on how to remove the silk. If you have a soft toothbrush you can remove the silk easily. After you have the corn ready to go there are many ways to grill. The purist will have you brush some olive oil on the corn and place it directly in the grill. Set on high. With this method you must be vigilant about turning the corn so it doesn’t burn. It takes about 15 minutes to cook it this way. It will blacken on the outside and caramelize on the inside. This method works well if you are grilling burgers at the same time. You can also parboil the corn first and then place it directly on the grill for a shorter cooking time. This will give it a less blackened look, if that is more to your liking.
Another without the husk technique is to place the ears of corn into foil, in one layer. Add a handful of ice cubes and seal the corn in foil. Place on the grill and close lid. Turn the corn after 10 minutes and close grill again. That’s it, it couldn’t be easier. You can also place some butter and salt in with the ice cubes and season during cooking. This is a great method if you don’t like the caramelized Smokey flavor with the other methods.
Now, on to the partial husk methods. You will want to leave the stalk on the corn and carefully remove the husk until just the last two layers are left attached. Then fold these layers back and remove the silk. Now is the time to season the corn, if you like to do this before cooking. I like a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Sometimes I add some fresh dices garlic. Then fold the husks back around the corn and tie with kitchen twine. Place on the grill and turn every few minutes .This will take 15 minutes with a closed grill and 30 minutes with an open one.
With the husks left totally on there are as few options. The first one is good for cooking for a crowd. Soak the ears of corn in cold water for at least 30- 45 minutes. Then place corn husks and all on the grill. Turn every 5 minutes or so and the corn will cook in about 30 minutes on an open grill. The husks will be black but the corn perfect inside. You can also fold the husks back carefully and remove the silk and season as ion the partial husk method. Again tie together with twine and cook as above.
Corn is a great treat. Find you own special method of grilling and enjoy!