Nothing signals the arrival of summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook fresh corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too.
Corn on the cob is a summer staple that should be part of every summer celebration and backyard cookout because not only is fresh corn relatively cheap when it’s in season, it’s quick and easy to prepare, too! But first, let’s talk about how to start with the best ears of corn.
Choose the best
There you are in front of a pile of freshly picked, in-the-husks, sweet corn. You want to select ears with these characteristics:
- Bright green husks that are tightly wrapped and mostly intact.
- The stem area where it was cut from the stalk should be sticky and moist. If this is really dry, it’s old corn.
- Check the tassels. They, too, should be slightly sticky, moist, and silky.
- Peel back a small area of the husk to check for wormholes and brown spots. Avoid.
Best Ways to Prepare Fresh Corn
There must be as many ways to prepare fresh corn on the cob as there are people who love to eat it. These are my favorites:
You have to try this. Just let me warn you—it sounds insane, but once you prepare corn on the stovetop this way, you’ll never go back. It’s a family heritage recipe I got from a self-avowed corn snob who grew up on a farm in Iowa.
- Remove husks and silk from 6 ears of fresh corn.
- Fill a pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Carefully place corn in the water, cover the pot, and turn off the heat.
- Check after 10 minutes to see that the corn is tender. If not, return the lid and allow it to sit for a few more minutes.
Some time ago, the following great reader tip showed up in my mail, complete with photos! I tried Dick’s method right then and there and wow, it is so slick!
I have demonstrated this to friends and family many times since, and always to rave reviews not only for the surprising finale but for the perfectly cooked corn, too!
“I wish to share a sweet corn trick with you and your readers that allows one to cook fresh corn in the husk, in the microwave. I am including a few photos to demonstrate.” Dick
- Cut through the husk right up to—not through—the cob at the stem end (where the ear was attached to the stalk), and all the way around.
- Microwave on high, 3 minutes per ear. Example, if you have two ears, microwave for 6 minutes.
- Remove from the microwave carefully, then grasp and pull the corn right out of the husks.
- No muss, no hairy corn silk!
NOTE: In photo #3 above , Dick has the “cut end” of the corn in his left hand, and in #4 he has turned the ear of corn around putting the “cut end” into his right hand, pulling the husks off with his left hand.
Consider this amazing method to roast corn on the cob—in the husks. No prep, no soaking required. Oh my, you must give this a try! Roasting in the husks gives the corn a mysteriously subtle, indescribably delicious flavor that is just fabulous.
Here’s the routine:
- Fire up the grill to medium heat or 350° F.
- Place corn with husks intact directly on the grill grate, leaving a bit of space between cobs for heat circulation.
- Close cover.
- Using tongs, carefully turn corn after five minutes
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until hot and tender, making sure to close the cover between turns.
- Remove corn and allow to cool slightly before peeling away charred husks.
Nagi at RecipeTinEats.com has a different way of preparing corn on an open grill. She insists, and I trust Nagi, “This is the most effortless BBQ side dish ever!”
- Get the grill going and crank it up to very hot.
- Peel husks and silk off of the corn.
- Place corn on the open grill—no oil required.
- Cook for 10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes until you see little charred bits, and the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife but still juicy. Overcooked corn, says Nagi, is shriveled, dry, and sad! Don’t do that.
- During the last minute of cooking, brush with melted butter and roll the corn around.
- Serve with softened butter, salt, and sprinkled with parsley if desired.
Question: Do you have a favorite brilliant way to cook corn on the cob? Tell us about it in the comments below. Thanks for sharing!