Growing up in New Jersey, corn in the summertime was just called corn on the cob. In the midwest, corn in the summertime is called sweet corn. I have no idea what the difference is. But I know it’s good on the grill.
Grilled Corn Recipe:
1. Wet it: I’ve seen all sorts of weird ways to try and grill corn. And I’ve tried them all, too. The most ludicrous way I’ve personally tried was to husk the corn, then re-wrap it in aluminum foil before grilling.
All you have to do is run some water over it. Leave it in the husk.
2. Grill it: just put it on. The corn is wet. So when the tops of the ears of corn start to burn, it’s done. You’ll have to turn the corn every once in a while. If you have a not-as-hot zone on your grill, put the corn there. Over medium heat, it’ll take about 10 to 15 minutes. If you overdo it, the corn will be sweet and starchy. If you undercook it, it’ll be bright and al dente. Usually, I just make sure it’s the first thing on the grill and the last thing off. As long as you don’t completely burn it, you’ll have a tasty side dish.
3. Husk it: do this carefully. The corn is hot. Husking the corn can make a mess. I like to husk it inside a plastic grocery bag.
Once it’s out of the husk, I like to break the corn in half. It makes for a less cumbersome size and reminds me of a crab boil, a type of food event that I have never been invited to but would love to attend.
My wife likes the corn left intact. I suppose that makes her a purist.
4. Butter it: if you’re at a street fair and you get grilled corn, they will dunk it in a vat of melted butter. But melting a vat’s worth of butter really isn’t an option for the home cook. My parents taught me to use a knife to spread the butter on, as if it were no different than a slice of toast. Apparently, we were amateurs.
My wife’s family takes an entire stick of butter, puts it on a plate, and then rolls the corn on top of it. It would never occur to me to do this. But my wife and her family are from Iowa. And when in Rome, well, you know.
Anyway, now, in our fridge, we have butter specifically reserved for corn.
5. Eat it: On this particular evening, I ended up undercooking the corn somewhat. But it was still pretty good. My wife commented that the corn was quite sweet.
It wasn’t until I met my wife that I ever really considered that corn could be sweet. And it wasn’t until I really started thinking about sweet corn that I ever cared about how much it did or didn’t rain in the spring. It has become one of my favorite things to eat.