Grilled Corn on the Cob
A summer ritual
YIELD: 1 cob per person
COURSE: Vegetables and Sides
- As with any vegetable cooked on the grill, you should start by soaking corn on the cob in cold water. This will add extra moisture to the corn and soften the husks to make them easier to work with. Allow these fresh cobs of corn soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
- Fresh corn on the cob is lined with corn silk. These are the long, thin, unappetizing strands of silky threads running between the protective husks and the delicious kernels. Remove the ears of corn from the water and take off three or four outer layers of the husk. A few layers should remain to protect the corn as it cooks, but not all of it is needed. Save detached husk leaves for later tying.
- Now gently pull down the remaining husks to expose the corn and the silk. Remove as much of the silk as is possible. Don't worry if a little still remains, since the rest of the silk will be removed after the husks are grilled.
With the corn exposed from the husk, this is a good time to add extra flavor. You can use your favorite flavor combination. A friend of mine brushes rosemary olive oil on his corn and it's delicious. I prefer melted butter sprinkled with a little salt, dried dill, and powdered garlic. Brush it over the corn evenly. The great thing about butter is that it hardens when applied on the corn and infuses as it cooks. Regardless of what you like, spread it on thoroughly.
With the corn seasoned and ready to cook, it is time to close the husks. Pull it down evenly over the corn the best you can. Take some of the removed husk leaves from earlier, tear them into strips and use them to secure the end of the corn. This will help hold the husks in place while the corn cooks. When tying the husks, make sure to tie around the end of the corn cob, not past it. This will give the tie something to hold onto.
With the corn tied and seasoned, it is time to grill. These ears will be forgiving of most things except unnecessary handling. Odds are that they are going to be cooked with something else (like a main course), so find an unused corner of the grill or warming rack to set the ears of corn. Cook over a medium to medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes. If cooking at a lower temperature or the ears on a warming rack, increase the cooking time to 20 to 30 minutes. As long as the husks don't burn off the cobs you're fine. A longer cooking time will increase the delicious smoke flavor.
Once the corn is done, remove it from the grill. I recommend keeping it warm until you are ready to serve, so they might be the last thing off the grill. By the time the corn is cooked the husks will be dried out and nearly ready to fall off. Take the corn off the grill, remove the remaining husks and serve. You can set out additional butter and seasonings. I usually prepare a large amount of the butter mixture from step 3, and apply it to the corn before serving.