Saturday, September 10, 2005

More Campfire Corn-on-the-Cob

Fresh corn is versatile. It’s delicious grilled, steamed, simmered and wrapped in foil. A little kosher salt and butter is all that’s needed to compliment the succulent flavor of the moist kernels.

Gilled corn has been eluded me, however. The last time I grilled a few ears next to a tri-tip roast, I noted that my experience with grilled corn was mixed. I didn't singe the kernels. The kernels, while deflated from moisture loss, were still good with butter and kosher salt.

The other night I turned to steamed corn. An inch of boiling water in the pasta pot with strainer produced the succulent corn that I was looking for. But I don’t want to drag my pasta pot out of the cupboard every time I get a hankering for fresh corn-on-the-cob (which won't be much longer -- the price has doubled from last week).

A little research led me to The Best Recipe: Grilling & Barbecue (Boston Common Press: Brookline, Mass., 2001). Cook’s test cooks found the answer to my dilemma. When grilled over direct heat, especially a hot fire (2- or 3-second hand count), the corn quickly chars. The result, according to Grilling & Barbecue, is flat, singed kernels that don’t resemble steamed corn out of the pot.

Through a typical round of grill testing (husk on, husk off, etc.), Cook’s found the perfect solution. Pull the entire husk off but the innermost layer from the corn. The result was a lightly steamed ear of corn with a grilled flavor. The fine layer of husk holds the moisture in while allowing the intense heat to toast the kernels.


Time the corn to cook during the rest period of a tri-tip or similar roast. Grill the meat, remove it to a platter and tent with a sheet of aluminum foil. The set the ears of corn on the grills and follow the instructions below. Remove the corn from the grill and slice the meat. Dinner’s ready.

1 to 2 ears fresh corn per person
Kosher salt

Prepare the corn by removing the entire husk except the innermost layer. Snip the tassel at the tip of the cob.

Grill corn over a medium-hot fire (3- to 4-second hand count). Turn every 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until the husk is charred and begins to pull away from the tip, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer corn to a platter. Carefully remove and discard the husk and silk. Season with kosher salt and butter, if desired.

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