In the summertime, few things are better than the sweet, juicy kernels of seasonally perfect corn. It’s seen spilling out of crates at farmers markets and grocery stores—ready for the eating. Whether bright white, butter yellow, or charred from the grill, corn on the cob is one of the simplest and most crowd-pleasing pleasures. Here, we’re focusing on the latter—the charred version—to make one of the easiest cookout dishes even more failproof. Follow these much-honed guidelines, and you won’t be corn-fused!
Choosing your corn
The first step to preparing corn is, of course, choosing it at the market. When selecting it, though, you want to keep it in the bright green husk for a few reasons. First, unwrapping your corn is a bit unpleasant for other customers—no one wants to grab corn that’s already been partly shucked! Second, once shucked, it can shrivel and dry out far quicker. So, how to pick without peeking?
Check Out the Husk:
– If the husk is bright green and sticking closely to the kernels, you’re good to go. If it is already partly detached and a bit discolored, it’s probably a less fresh ear.
– If there are small brown holes at the top and on the husk, those are wormholes and you should avoid.
– Feel through the husk, if the kernels feel plump and juicy, go for it!
– Pick up the corn. Is it heavy? It’s probably good!
– The tassels at the top (the brownish strings) should not be black or dried out.
There’s something deeply relaxing and meditative about shucking corn, we always find. It’s also a perfect, fun activity for kids, so get the younger diners involved too! Make sure you grab the silk and the husk at the same time; you’ll get a clean rip off and the thin strands won’t singe when they hit the grill. Shuck from top to bottom and pull down in a firm tug. But, remember, you can grill corn *in the husk*, so if you’re considering this option, skip it!
There are as many ways to eat corn as there are to grill corn (ie, quite a few). We’ve selected some of our favorite ways that are a must for cookouts and grilling extravaganzas all summer long.
In the Husk
Yes, nature provided us with not only a perfect outer coating for grilling corn but also a built-in handle! The benefits of this method are that it’s really really easy, and you get a nice fragrant flavor from the husk. It can, however, be a bit challenging to gauge whether or not the corn is fully cooked through (and unwrapping it can be a tad messy) so try to use a fork or another grilling tool to gently poke the kernels. Place the cobs on the grill and cook for 15–20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. When the kernels are tender when pierced with a small, sharp knife, they’re ready to come off.
For the juiciest corn, we love the foil method. Simply wrap husked corn tightly in foil and throw on the grill. Turn occasionally and grill for about 15 minutes. Also, this technique makes for corn that stays good for a while, as the foil seals in the juices. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add some butter and salt in the foil before cooking.
Straight on the grill
For that classic char, you can cook your shucked corn on the cob directly on the grill. Unsurprisingly, this one requires keeping a close eye on the cob, which should be grilled over very high heat and turned often. It generally takes about 10 minutes.
We can never argue with the basics: lots and lots of butter. So, if you’re keeping it old school, you can’t go wrong with a pat of salted or unsalted butter slathered over your summertime corn. We’ve also been low-key obsessed with elote (Mexican street corn) for a while. Here’s the Plated recipe, but feel free to mix all the other ingredients together and coat the whole cob in them as well. And, while you’re at it, why not try our Italian street corn, which incorporates Parmesan, basil, and oregano! No matter how you eat it, there’s no denying how much we love summer corn season!
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