For all the new experiences I seek in this world, for all the exotic foods I’ll willingly try at restaurants around the globe, I tend to stick with the greatest hits when cooking at home. Call it frugal, or boring, or maybe simply safe, but I mostly cook foods the way I know they’ll be tasty without straying too far into the abyss.
And so it was that corn on the cob was always shucked and steamed or boiled, and the grill was used for meats and other vegetables. Similar to my previous hesitation with pizza, there was a distinct separation of church and state when it came to taking perfectly good corn and sticking it on a grill. But like that pizza, I eventually recognized that the risk versus reward equation leaned heavily in my favor.
There are three ways to grill corn, and two of them involve completely shucking the corn husks off. You can oil and season the corn and throw it right on the grill for a nice char and flavor, which is great if you remain at the grill and fully attentive to avoid burning it. Alternatively, you can wrap it in aluminum foil, which steams it while lightly charring it. Both of these methods seemed appropriate for the first attempt at grilling, but I wanted to go all in with the third method: grilling corn with the husk still on.
Ironically, grilling with the husk on is the most labor-intensive grilling experience. You’ve got to roll back the husks, remove the silk and roll the husk back on, then soak the corn for 30 minutes so it doesn’t just burn away when you grill it. Not nearly as simple as throwing the shucked corn into a pot of steaming water, but what worthwhile endeavors in life are easy?
I chose to use a charcoal grill with some hickory chips tossed in to maximize the flavor, waited for the grill to cool down to 400 degrees and placed it directly on the grill. Every five minutes I rotated the corn a quarter turn for about 25 minutes, then removed it, cleaned the grill and let it rest while I grilled the meat.
And the result? Perfectly cooked corn with a mild grilled flavor. Nothing revolutionary here, but a departure from the norm. It was a good reminder to push the comfort zone with my own cooking. Next up? Direct charring on the grill. Can’t let this adventurous momentum stall just yet. After all, summer and fresh corn won’t last forever.