Growing up, corn on the cob was a summer ritual – boiled or grilled, then par-boiled and frozen to enjoy throughout the winter. We were lucky, we had the secret ingredient right there in our own back yard – every year Dad planted over an acre of sweet corn (Iochef and Peaches & Cream), some for eating now, some for freezing, some for the pheasants.
The secret to the success of corn on the cob prepared on the grill is FRESH corn, so find a source nearby and put your order in before you have a big party to avoid disappointment. Then pick your own if possible, preferably hours before you have to start cooking.
1 or 2 (or 3) ears of corn per person
one large pat of butter per ear
a LARGE clean container of cold, fresh water (a cooler works great)
Gently pull back the husk from the ear and remove the silk (the long, sticky strands) – take off as much as possible. Re-wrap the husk around the ear and twist back shut.
Place the ears in the water to soak for two or three hours.
Pre-heat your grill – it will take about 10 to 20 minutes to cook the corn, depending on the heat, so make sure you have enough coal and that you’ve timed things so the diners are ready for it when it’s done cooking.
Shake off the excess water and lay the ears on the grill. Make sure you try and keep the husk intact around the corn, but a bit of charring won’t hurt anything.
If your grill has a cover, use it to hold in the steam (this will shorten the cooking time), but turn the corn four or five times at least, depending on how hot the fire is.
TIP: Keep a spray bottle of clean water to put out any flare-ups and to keep the corn from drying out.
Once you decide the corn is done (the kernels are a richer shade of yellow) CAREFULLY remove the husk from the corn and brush any charred silk or leafy stuff with a clean basting brush. Place on a warm platter, cover with a foil tent and serve ASAP with plenty of butter and salt.