How to Grill Corn: Dos & Don’tsSteven Raichlen
- Do buy corn at farmers markets and farm stands—preferably the same day it was picked.
- Don’t refrigerate corn unless you have to. Chilling deadens the flavor.
- Do grill the corn the same day you buy it. The longer you wait, the more the natural sugar in the corn converts to starch.
- Don’t grill corn with the husk on. This steams the kernels when you want to roast them over a hot fire. Only direct exposure to the flame caramelizes the natural plant sugars, giving you that sweet smoky caramel flavor that makes grilled corn so miraculous.
- Do strip the husk back and tie it together under the ear to form a handle. Use a strip of cornhusk or a piece of butchers string to tie it back.
- Don’t burn this husk handle: Slide a grill shield (pictured above) or a folded sheet of aluminum foil under the husk to block the fire.
- Do grill the corn until the kernels are uniformly brown on all sides.
- Don’t put on too much butter or oil at the beginning. It will drip onto the coals and cause a sooty fire. Instead, brush the ears lightly, then season with salt and pepper before grilling. Baste the corn with a little more butter as it grills and brush generously one fine time before serving.
- Do try varying the flavorings: from Japan’s sesame soy butter to Mexico’s mayonnaise, grated cheese, and chili powder.
How to Grill Corn: Dos & Don’ts
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