Grilling Sweet Summer Corn
In season, there is nothing like summer corn especially my favorite New Jersey summer corn. That with some fresh Jersey tomatoes and you have a meal. Most of the time we just boil some corn, smear some butter on it, season with salt & pepper and eat it off the cob. But once in a while, I like to grill it, cut if off the cob and use it in corn salsa, relish, salads or as a side dish. Grilling corn is easy. The trick is to not let it burn so don’t walk away from the grill once you start, at least not for too long. Here is a great way you might want to try at home.
- Corn on the cob
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil per ear of corn (or try butter if you prefer)
- Salt & Pepper
Prep the Grill & Corn
Gas Grill – Preheat the gas grill to high to get the grate hot. Once hot, lower to medium high heat.
Charcoal Grill – Get the coals started and heat up until gray or medium hot. Arrange them so they are in an even layer.
Prep the Corn – Strip the corn husk all the way back to the stem but don’t remove it. Do remove all the silk to expose the corn kernels. Using your hands or a pastry brush, cover the ear of corn with oil.
Cover with husk and tie the end with a little piece of kitchen twine or string to keep it closed. Repeat this process for each ear of corn.
Alternative = Some folks like to the corn cobs in water for about 15 minutes. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure why. Maybe it prevents the corn husks from charring but I like the smoky flavor the charred husks add to flavor of the corn. If you do want to soak them, do so right after you remove the silk but before you cover with oil.
2nd Alternative (Dad’s Method) – I remember my father did it this way. Husk the corn and remove the silk. Season each ear with some butter and salt & pepper. Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil and cook on a hot grill for 15 to 30 minute.
How to Grill Corn at Home
By now your grill should be hot so place each ear of corn on the grill rack and cook for about 15 minutes until the kernels are tender. You want to turn the corn occasionally so they cook uniformly and don’t burn. Expect the outside husk to turn black, but you don’t want them to burst into flames.
When done, remove from the grill, and serve on a platter. Some might like to remove the husks before serving to prevent friends new to this cooking method from saying, “Hey, you burnt the corn! ” but I like the presentation. Be sure to have some extra butter and salt & pepper on hand for additional seasoning.
To Remove the Corn from the Cob
If you are going to use the grilled corn in a salad or salsa you have to remove it from the cob. An easy way to do this is to cut the stem end up to the bottom of each ear of corn after you have removed the husk. Be sure to cut the end so straight so will sit up nicely on end and won’t move around. With a paring knife, cut the kernels off from top to bottom.
Alternative = Try a corn cutter to take the kernels off the cob. All you have to do is slide the ear of corn down the cutter and the blade cuts them off. The one in the photo is called the American Sliding Corn Cutter and you can find it at Amazon.com. You can find various styles of these machines at most kitchenware stores.
Another tool out there is the Corn Brush and Kernel Corn Kutter as pictured to the left. The brush is for removing the silk from the corn and then you push the corncob down the cutter’s shallow metal through. The curved blade cuts whole kernels or you can adjust it so it tears the juice and soft meat from the kernels for creamed corn or corn pudding. You can also find this tool at Amazon.com.