Corn on the cob is a summer staple -- but shriveled, overcooked ears ruin this treat. Try the corn boiled or grilled. Proper techniques make it come out perfectly every time.
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Pick Your Corn
Perfect corn on the cob doesn't come from old ears. The best corn is fresh from the stalk. If you don't have a garden with such a crop, select fresh corn from the farmers market or supermarket:
- Look for bright green husks that fit tightly around the corn.
- Kernels, when you peel back a bit of the husk, should fit tightly together and look plump.
- Avoid corn with yellowing, dry husks or sparse or discolored kernels.
Perfectly Boiled Corn
Boiled corn on the cob complements any barbecue dinner or cookout.
Select a pot that is large and deep. When it's filled with water, the corn should submerge completely. Fill the pot with cold water and bring it to a boil.
Do not add salt to the cooking water for corn on the cob. Salt toughens the kernels as they cook.
Place the corn into the boiling water. Allow the water to return to a boil over high heat, about 3 minutes.
Cover the pot as you bring it to a boil, to make the water come to temperature faster and keep the heat in to cook the corn.
Use tongs to remove the corn from the water. Serve immediately with fat pats of butter, salt and fresh black pepper.
If you need to hold the corn cooked while waiting for other dishes to finish cooking, place the ears in lukewarm, not hot, water.
Grill husked corn on the cob wrapped in foil. Alternatively, leave the husks on completely when you grill. The husks protect the delicate kernels from overcooking and can hold in the corn flavor. When you prepare the corn, pull the husks off enough so you can get in and to remove the silk and season the kernels. Leave the husks attached at the stem for easy rewrapping.
Soak the ears in a pot of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. Submerge them completely. The water helps steam the corn and prevents it from drying out. Remove the corn from the water, and shake it out.
Husked corn wrapped in aluminum foil does not have to be soaked prior to grilling, but the water does help with the cooking process.
Set your grill to 350 F. If you're using a charcoal grill, arrange a space over a medium heat area for the corn to cook.
Pull back the husks and remove the silk. Brush the kernels with olive oil or butter, season and then rewrap the husks around the ears. Use a piece of extra husk or soaked cooking twine to hold the husks in place. For foil-wrapped corn, place the husked ear in a square of foil; roll the cob up completely, and twist the ends of the aluminum to seal it.
Put the corn on the grill. Rotate after a couple of minutes to prevent burning. After the initial searing of 3 to 4 minutes, place it on a cooler section of the grill -- off to the side. Cook for about 15 minutes if the corn is in the husk, 20 minutes if it's in foil.
You know the corn is done when you can see a faint outline of the kernels through the husk. Pressure applied on a kernel will yield juice too. If the cob bends easily, the corn is overdone.
Remove the corn from the grill and peel the husks or foil off completely. Take off any lingering silk and ash -- rinse with water if necessary. Add seasonings and butter, and then serve.