Last night, ignoring the threatening rumbles of thunder and the soggy deck furniture, we grilled. Bone-in chicken breasts with a teriyaki glaze, boneless chicken tenders in one of my classic “clean out the fridge” marinades (this one using up the dregs of various jars of apple raspberry jam, ginger rhubarb jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and curried apple chutney, all mixed together with a little orange juice, champagne vinegar and local chile powder), and spicy red banana peppers and corn on the cob from Madura Farms. We even eked out the last of the coals to grill some linguica for the caldo verde that is on today’s menu.
Tai is the Grill Master at our house, but I usually prepare everything for the grill. I’ll whip up a marinade while Tai slices chicken breasts, or I’ll slice squash or peppers and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic while Tai lights the charcoal. For a while now, when we have corn on the cob to grill, Tai has been suggesting that we grill it in the husk; I’ve disagreed, not wanting to spend the 20-30 minutes it would take to fully cook on the grill, preferring to husk the ears, parboil, and then grill them for 5 minutes or so in order to lightly carmelize the kernels. Last night, after a long day of canning peach salsa, I agreed. I simply did not want to heat up yet another big ‘ole pot of water, after having three burners going non-stop in the kitchen for hours on a hot & humid day.
I’m big enough to admit it when I’m wrong; about grilled corn on the cob, I was oh-so wrong. This corn is moan-inducingly delicious. We grilled six ears last night; three disappeared for dinner, two for breakfast, and the sole remaining ear, I fear, has a short-lived future. Leaving the husks on and cooking over open fire adds a smoky, subtle flavor to the kernels; the wet husks steam the kernels, leaving them incredibly tender, and under the thinner areas, where the husks join together, the kernels carmelize, leaving you with tender, juicy, smoky-sweet corn with stripes of carmelized goodness. Delectable. We’re planning on picking up a dozen ears at the first opportunity and grilling some to cut off the cob and freeze for the winter, although, considering how fast these six ears disappeared, I might pick up two dozen.
Tai’s Grilled Corn on the Cob
- charcoal or gas grill
- 6 ears corn on the cob
- Light the grill. We use a charcoal grill; you want the coals to be red-hot, but not actively flaming, to grill the corn. On a gas grill use medium to medium-high heat.
- Partially husk the ears, stripping away layers of husk until only two or three layers remain to protect the corn. You should just barely begin to see the outline of the kernels through the husk. Open the top of the husk slightly and pull out the majority of the silk (some silk will remain, but it is easily cleaned off of the grilled corn). Close the husk back up again and soak ears, submerged in cold water, until the grill is ready.
- Place the ears on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the corn is done, about 15 – 20 minutes. The husks will blacken and char. Check for doneness by removing one of the ears from the grill, allowing to cool slightly, and feeling the kernels for tenderness. You can also peel down a section of husk and check for browning. Remove from the grill and pile on a plate. The corn will stay warm for quite a while wrapped in the hot husk. Remove husk and serve as is, or with melted butter, salt and pepper. Sweet corn heaven!
Serves 6 (or, you know, 2).
- I can’t think of a single option that will improve this recipe. Simplicity itself and couldn’t be more delicious.
On the cob, for a few days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can cut the kernels off the cob(s) and freeze, in an airtight container or Ziploc, for about 1 year. Save the cobs to make grilled corn cob stock.