For a lot of people, summertime means firing up the grill and giving the oven a much needed break. Even though you can pretty much grill year-round in Florida, we definitely end up doing more of it during the summer. The catch is, we don’t have a grill. Instead we rely on the love of our grill-owning friends and will bring dinner for everyone just to have some charred meats. Not all of our friends eat vegetables willingly and a lot of the vegetables we bring end up coming home as leftovers, which is why grilled corn is perfect. It’s a pseudo-vegetable that is naturally sweet and can be customized to individual preferences. It’s also super easy to make and might make you feel a little healthier, i.e. less guilty about that cheeseburger.
You can buy the corn already shucked or, if you’re buying a lot and need to save money, with all of the husks and hairs still on. Try and get it as fresh as possible for the best results, but if you only have time or access to a supermarket, it’ll still be delicious. Grilling with the husks on makes super sweet steamed corn and grilling directly on makes for nice charred pieces. If you’re grilling with the husks on, remove some of the outer layers, leaving about two or three. Gently, peel those back and remove all of the corn silk from the cob. It’s the stuff that gets stuck in your teeth when eating and nobody likes that. Once you’ve removed the silk, cover the corn back up with the husks and soak it for 10-30 minutes. Soaking prevents it catching on fire before the corn is cooked. If you’re grilling the corn directly on the grill, skip all of that.
Next, place your corn on the grill on medium or medium-high heat so it has a chance to cook and doesn’t burn. I’ve found it takes about 10 minutes for them to be ready but if you get distracted and forget about it, a little longer will be fine. Naked corn takes a little less than the husked kind, depending on how many charred bits you want.
Now you decide how healthy or how buttery you want to go. There’s no real advantage to flavoring the corn beforehand, but once it’s hot and ready there are different flavoring options. The traditional butter and salt. There’s butter, paprika and queso blanco/cotija. You can go plain. You can add butter and a dash of cinnamon sugar for extra sweetness. The possibilities are endless and frankly, it’s hard to mess up grilled corn.
So next time you want to bring something extra to a cook-out or want to avoid the kitchen altogether and grill your whole dinner, pop some corn on the grill!
TL;DR: Grilled corn is super easy to make and, as a pseudo-vegetable, will make everyone feel a little healthier.
If you still think it has to be a little more complicated than that and want to watch a video, check out this article from Kenji-López at Serious Eats for more information.