Monday, June 23, 2014

Let's have a corn roast!

Photo via Wheelhouse Restaurant
I grew up and went to school in the Midwest, so summer means corn roasts.  A big grill, ideally one made of half a barrel, hot coals, and corn husks everywhere... Butter dripping down your chin, the sweet taste of kernels bursting over your taste buds... Wow, it really brings me back.

There are many religious wars fought over the corn on the grill:  should you roast in the husk, in foil, or bare on the grill?  Should you pre-boil the corn?  We Midwesterners are very passionate over these issues.  I'll let you in on a little secret.  They all work very, very well.
My personal preference is to not pre-boil.  If you roast the corn slowly over indirect heat, it takes longer but is worth the wait.  This also makes boiling the corn unnecessary.  Thirty minutes, turning occasionally, does the trick.  I husk the corn and put it in foil because I don't like the silk sticking in my teeth.  (There's a great trick for silk-free husking.)

So, where in this process can you be creative?  In the butters!  My fallback is to roast in foil with butter/margarine, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.  K.I.S.S. The typical Midwestern corn roast has a coffee can full of melted butter on a corner of the grill into which you dip your corn, and then various seasonings to sprinkle.

Photo via
An alternative is to create flavored butters/margarines which can be brushed on the corn as it comes off the grill.  The possibilities are endless:  herb butter is a pretty basic way to start.  Indian spices are pretty fantastic too.  For corn I love flavors with a Southwestern trend.  For the brave at heart, use some habañero in chili lime butter.

What's your favorite way to season roasted corn?

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