Grilled corn turns up across Planet Barbecue, and whenever I see it, I screech the car (or tuk-tuk or pedicab) I'm in to a halt to try it. This has led to some pretty remarkable roadside eating: In Cambodia, for example, I was rewarded by some of the best grilled corn I've ever tasted -- sweet and smoky -- with pandanus leaf-scented coconut milk brushed on to accentuate the corn's innate sweetness. (Pandanus leaf has a fresh, aromatic flavor that may remind you of pine needles.)
Summer corn is still in season. Here are five great ideas from around Planet Barbecue to help you make the most of it.
- Oaxaca, Mexico: Grill corn over a charcoal fire, then slather it with mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise) and sprinkle with piquant grated cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.
Americans grill corn, too, but we are riven by debate. On one side: advocates of grilling corn in the husk, who argue that the husk keeps the corn moist, protecting the delicate kernels from scorching.
The other camp insists on grilling the corn naked (with husk off). This caramelizes the sugars in the kernels, producing sweet, smoky caramel flavors. Grilling is all about fire: You won't get big flavors unless the kernels come in direct contact with the flames. Husk on grilling steams the corn, these partisans argue, which gives you no more extra flavor than boiling.
THIS JUST IN: Barbecue University™ Gold Plate Tailgating Live Video Event!
Join Steven Raichlen for an online live video event on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. PST where he will demonstrate how to make the ultimate tailgating recipes.
- Try the Great American Hamburger Recipe
- The ONLY Ribs Recipe You'll Ever Need: First-Timer's Ribs!
- Grilled Sausages -- No More Flare Ups!
- Down the Hatch! Celebrate New Mexico's Flame-Roasted Chiles
- The 10 Best Steaks for Unleashing Your Inner Caveman
- The 10 Secrets to Grilling a Perfect Steak
- How to Prepare Flank Steak
- How to Make Professional Grill Marks
- 8 Must-Try Regional Barbecue Sauces
- Turn Up the Heat with Chile Peppers! 15 Hot Facts & Grilling Tips
- The Pull of Pork & Its Sauces: 12 Must-Read Tips
- A Live-Fire Romance with OX Restaurant in Portland