Suzi's Blog

On the Grilling of the Corn

“62,800,000 RESULTS”

That’s what appeared on my screen today when I googled “how to grill corn.”

There are a lot of ideas and recipe out there. I won’t say controversy quite rages, but there are distinct corn grilling schools of thought. It boils down to [no pun intended, we are grilling and not cooking in water]: do you grill with the husks on or off. Or partially off. Or after soaking the corn in water. Or, …

It goes on and on. Some recipes, such as one in the new I Love Corn by Lisa Skye, say to grill with the husks off. Lisa is cut and dried: husk off and no discussion.

In his several barbeque books, expert Steven Raichlen talks about both methods, husk on and husk off.  He prefers off, cooking 8 to 12 minutes until kernels begin to blacken and pop, because then they have a true grilled flavor. If you grill with the husk on, then he points out that you are really steaming the corn, although in one of his books, The Barbeque Bible, he does say corn with the husk on can still acquire a “mildly smoky” flavor.

To accelerate that steaming process with the husks on, some web sites recommend first soaking the corn in water for 15 minutes or so to get additional moisture in the husk. Then, we you do grill, there is even more steam to cook the corn. Steaming on the grill typically takes a bit longer, 12 to up to 20 minutes than grilling with the husk off.

My recommendation: husk off. And, better yet, do it over charcoal to really get flavor. The gas grill will char and blacken, but only charcoal generates the smoky flavors we naturally associate with barbeque.

Either grilling technique, husks on or off, is going to give you a better flavor than simply boiling that corn in water.

No matter how much salt you add.

 

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