Seriously Simple

Corn on the cob tastes delicious when grilled

July 31, 2012 

Grilled Corn on the Cob in the Husk.


  • Grilled Corn with Chipotle Butter The corn may be prepared 4 hours ahead through step 3 and kept at room temperature. 1 teaspoon or to taste, chipotle chili puree (see below) 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature Salt 6 whole ears of white or yellow corn, husks left on To make the chili butter, COMBINE the chili puree, butter and salt in a small bowl. Beat together until thoroughly blended. Taste for seasoning. Add more puree, if desired. PULL BACK the husks, being careful not to break them off. Remove all the silk inside. SOAK the corn in a large bowl or sink full of cold water for 1/2 to 1 hour. Drain and pat the corn dry. Rub with some of the chili butter. Replace husks. GRILL the ears for 10 to 15 minutes (medium heat), depending on their size, turning to cook evenly. REMOVE from the grill and, using a potholder glove, remove the husks. SERVE immediately with more chili butter, if desired. Yield: Serves 6. Chipotle Chili Puree I keep this spicy, smoky flavor enhancer in my refrigerator. Add it to dressings, sauces or anything you want to have an undertone of smoky heat. Transfer puree to an airtight container – preferably glass, as the sauce tends to stain plastic – and refrigerate for about a month. 1 can (ounces) chipotle en adobo PROCESS the chilies until totally pureed in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. PLACE in a airtight container and refrigerate. Yield: Makes about 1/4 cup. Grilled Husked Corn Olive oil Salt and pepper 6 ears corn, husked and cleaned 3 limes, halved BRUSH corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. GRILL the ears until charred in spots (medium heat), turning occasionally to cook evenly, about 8 to 10 minutes. TRANSFER to a large platter and serve immediately with lime halves to squirt over the corn.

One of summer’s culinary high points is enjoying fresh, just-picked corn, with the husk still attached so you can enjoy its garden-fresh sweetness. I love to make corn salsas, puddings and soups, but grilling the corn is what I do most. There are a number of ways to accomplish this.

Corn on the cob, grilled in the husk with chili butter, enhances the smoky-sweet corn flavor. Chipotle chilies are smoked jalepenos and are often packed in adobo sauce. It’s best to add the chili puree in small increments to the butter until you find the perfect amount of heat. You can use the peeled-back husks to hold the corn or detach the husks and use corn holders or your hands. This method takes a bit of time but is definitely worth a try on your barbecue this summer.

Corn that has been husked (naked) is quick to prepare and tends to be sweeter since the corn kernels are grilled directly on the heat and become caramelized. Remember that husked corn cooks much faster than corn in the husk. Olive oil and a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice impart a complementary flavor. Each of these recipes is delicious in its own way. Try both and see which you prefer.

Selection, storage tips

• Don’t buy ears with gigantic kernels.

• Look for fresh green husks and tender milky kernels that are plump and leave no space between the rows.

• Store corn very cold and for only a short time, since it does not keep well and its delicious sugar will quickly turn to starch (an ice chest filled with ice will keep the corn at its best for a few hours).

• If at all possible, eat corn the same day it is picked.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Holidays,” and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at

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