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What's the best way to cook corn on the cob?

I kinda hate to boil a pot of water, since it's so hot here in NYC and boiling water heats up my small apartment. I've nuked corn in wet paper towels....that's not bad....and I've boiled the corn, too on cooler days. But I guess my question is, what is your best corn on the cob secret?

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  1. I usually boil but, when I nuke, I brush melted butter on cold (husked & silked) corn. The butter immediately hardens in and around every kernel and crevice. I then wrap each individual ear in waxed paper, twisting the ends closed, and nuke. In my microwave, 4 ears take about 6-7 minutes on high. Your mileage may vary.

    5 Replies
    1. re: grampart

      Steam for 5 minutes in 3 inches of rapidly boiling water with a a few splashes of milk. Corn comes out xtra firm and sweet and perfect.

      1. re: Big Fat Moe

        Moe, do you think the milk makes it firmer somehow? I nuke, because if I boil, the water leeches out some flavor, but never tried adding milk.

        1. re: blue room

          I think nuking brings out the sugar in the cob to the kernels. If you cook corn in a pressure cooker...for even a few minutes, the sugar recedes back into the cob under pressure, and it's tastes blah.....I was recently on vacation in the Outer Banks, and I had delicious new potatoes in a restaurant --part of a shrimp boil dinner...their secret was steaming the potatoes in milk and butter.

          1. re: howboy

            howboy, do you mean the potatoes were steamed in a microwave?

      2. re: grampart

        That's *exactly* how I cook my corn, except I use my right hand to smear butter up and down the cob before wrapping it in plastic. Serve with mayonnaise and plenty of cracked black pepper.

      3. I'm afraid I have no tips that don't involve boiling. Here's how I do it:

        Put your corn in a pot with enough cold water to cover it. Turn the fire on and bring it to a boil. Turn the fire off. It's done.

        1. i always nuke it, buttered and seasoned. I have a shallow Corning dish that is just tjhe length and depth for 2 ears. I prefer nuking to steaming or boiling. I think it tastes better and the cob heats up inside to out so the sorn stays hotter on my plate

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            Put large pot of water on to boil.
            Go out and gather fresh ears of corn from garden. Or drive to nearby farm to buy freshly picked corn.
            Throw corn into rapidly boiling water. Do not shuck. Cover pan.
            When water returns to boil turn off flame.
            Let corn sit in hot water for 5 minutes.
            Drain, peel back husks, butter if desired, eat & enjoy!

            1. re: Gio

              I like Mark Bittman's method. You don't need enough water to cover the corn. Just put an inch or so of water in the pot, put in the corn (yes it can be standing up, partly in the water and partly out), cover and put on high. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. All done nice and quick and the kitchen didn't get anywhere near as hot.

          2. No matter how you cook it try this....cut a lime into wedges and dip in a mixture of good salt and ground pepper and rub onto the corn - yummmmmmmmmmmm

            1. Nuke it in the husk. First of all, NEVER pull back husks in the market. You can feel if corn is good without doing that. It should feel full all the way to the tassel end. The intact husk keeps it fresh.
              When you are ready to cook it, cut off the tassel. Remove the husks down to the last pale layer or two. Nuke for about 2 or 3 minutes. Let rest. Nuke again for another 2 minutes. Using a kitchen towel, remove the remaining husks and silk. The silk will fall right off.
              If the ends of the corn look icky, they can be cut off easily with a chef's knife after they're cooked.
              You can have one ear for a snack any time you want it this way. Easy as can be!

              6 Replies
              1. re: MakingSense

                We broil them in there husks. Takes about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the ears.

                1. re: italy531

                  I've done them in the oven at 350 for big groups. Sort of smells up the house but works fine. I usually soak the ears in water for about 1/2 hour or so beforehand.
                  I'd worry a little about putting corn husks right under the broiler. Isn't there a danger of them catching fire when they start to dry out from the heat of the broiler? They get charred pretty quickly when you throw them on a BBQ grill.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    I have never had that problem but I do put them on the middle rack so they aren't directly under the flame as we have a gas oven.

                2. re: MakingSense

                  I also prefer to do them one at a time, in the microwave, in their husks. Just a couple of minutes usually does it (depends on the power of you microwave and the freshness of the corn). Let it cool for another minute or two, then pull the husks and silk back - the silk comes off much more easily than on raw ears - and snap them off. The stem end makes a handle, if you don't have corn picks. Personally, if I've got truly fresh corn fron from the farmers' market, I eat it completely bare...no butter, no salt, just unadulterated corn.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    I tried this the other day with one of our ears and I thought the corn tasted vegital or green like it soaked up flavor from the husk. The boiled in sugar/salt water corn was great, the microwaved ear was not good. Maybe next time I'll try peeling an ear before microwaving.

                  2. re: MakingSense

                    This is exactly the way I cook it. Exactly. The silk comes off easily. And, for my microwave, it is 3 minutes per ear, i.e. 3min. for one, 6 min. for two, etc.........

                  3. I oven roast corn in the husks as well, but my biggest tip is with steaming or boiling.

                    Save the cooking water, reduce, freeze, and reconstitute for your next batch. You won't have to add salt. It also makes good base for vegetable soup or poaching salmon.

                    1. I like to roast them on a bed of coals. I clean them and removes as much silk as possible/o removing the husk. Dip them in water and them wrap in a single layer of foil. Place the ears on/in a bed of coals for 30-45 minutes. There will be some darkening of the tips of the ear, but the corn will have a slightly smoky sweet taste.

                      It can also be done on the grates of a grill, but you don't get the smoky flavor they you do when roasted while buried in a bed of hardwood coals.

                      BTW- If I am feeling lazy or rushed, I will nuke them wrapped in dampened towels.

                      1. buy one of those cheap rice steamers at Walmart and it makes perfect corn in about 10 minutes, set it and forget it. Stops automatically when its done.

                        1. Grill it baby! I remove all of the husk/silks, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. That's all you need. The grill brings out so much of the natural sugar in the corn.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: HoursInTheKitchen

                            Do you wrap in foil or pace directly on the grates? How long?

                            1. re: masha

                              In the summer, I slightly loosen the cobs,soak corn in a bucket of water for several hours.
                              Then just throw them on the grill for a few minutes on high, turning once.
                              Have butter and course salt ready.
                              Drawback, is peeling back the hot cobs, but I use potholders.

                            2. re: HoursInTheKitchen

                              Grilled corn is my favorite. We grill it with nothing on it, and then each person can add salt, butter or whatever he or she likes to it. Amazingly, it tastes good with nothing on it. If there's no time for griling on the bbq, boiled corn on the cob is also good. :)

                            3. Eat it raw!

                              Good, fresh corn should be sweet enough to husk, rinse and chow down! If anything, blanching in boiling water for just a minute or two should do.

                              Who needs butter, milk, lime or even salt? It's even great cut right off the cob.

                              Raw corn tastes like summer!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MSK

                                I've tried this before, when I went through a short-lived raw food stage. It's actually good. :)

                                1. re: MSK

                                  Its wonderful - if you can get it fresh.... unfortunately a lot of us city dwellers get it after it has been off the stalk for a few days (or more). I agree with blanching whenever possible, and eating it right out of the pot, not letting it sit on the plate any longer than necessary (that way doesnt matter if the cob is still cool).

                                  1. re: MSK

                                    EXACTLY, if and when you can. For my part, we aren't talking about any of that super-sweet, "Where's the the corn flavor?", stuff neither! I took my cue after reading this in '72 and never looked back.

                                    I had never before seen anyone eat raw corn. At Faraway Meadows, in Connecticut, our farmer had planted a small cornfield. Kate wanted to see it. She examined the stalks carefully, admiringly, stopped, tore off an ear of corn from a stalk, shucked it expertly, and began to eat it.
                                    "What are you doing?", I asked.
                                    "Eating corn," she said.
                                    "Like that?"
                                    "Best way." she replied, "If it's fresh-ten minutes off the stock and it's no good raw."
                                    She prepared another ear and offered it to me.
                                    "No thanks."
                                    She ate it herself.
                                    I had refused only because I thought she might be right
                                    The next morning I went out into the field myself and tried it.
                                    She had been right.

                                    exerpted from; "TRACY AND HEPBURN, an intimate memoir"
                                    by Garson Kanin

                                  2. Remove husks, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, throw on grill until slightly charred...delicious.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: paulgardner

                                      About how long will it take until it's slightly charred?

                                      1. re: masha

                                        Depends on the intensity of the heat; tonight I grilled some and they probably took under ten minutes on my Weber, I closed the vents, moved the ears to the cooler side of the grill (when I grill I only put the charcoal on 1/2 of the grill so that I always have an "indirect" or cooler side), and then just left them there for 5 more minutes but I am sure I could have taken them right off and they would have been just fine.

                                        1. re: paulgardner

                                          Thanks. I tried it tonight before I saw your reply. I was going to put all the ears directly on the grill but my son was skeptical, so I wrapped some in foil. All took under 10 minutes; the ones that were not wrapped got over-charred, as I was in the kitchen for a few minutes. Taste was good but I think we preferred the taste of those wrapped in foil.

                                          1. re: masha

                                            You should really try it again w/o the foil but you CANNOT leave them, you MUST watch them or they WILL get too charred.

                                            1. re: paulgardner

                                              I like to grill them without the foil, as well. Some of the kernels get a bit charred, but they taste really good.

                                    2. Mine's similar to others'-
                                      twist the silks off the end, no need to excavate, soak in salty water for a few hours, throw on the grill, turning occasionally AND dunking the ears back in the salt water for a second if the husks are getting too scorched.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Never tried it myself but my Aunt from Germany says to saute it! Butter or olive oil and salt. Turn it when it starts to get brown. This is how I will try my next corn that is not on the grill.

                                        1. OK, I'm from Amish country in Lancaster, PA. That's where the world's most perfect food is created, organically and beyond delicious -- sweet corn. And to answer your question directly, the BEST way to cook corn is in chicken corn soup at the Landisville Fire Hall in September, or else in savory corn pie at Thanksgiving, but that's another thread.

                                          The theory in Amish country is you set your pot of water on the stove to boil, then go get the corn at the roadside farmer's stand. It needs to be that fresh! Butter and salt are the accompaniments. (OK, a lot of people in Lancaster use squeeze margarine, but I won't!)

                                          I have since moved from Lancaster. Now, I shuck the corn as fresh as I can get it, and if I boil it, I arrange a plate with a "dip" of olive oil, crushed garlic, fresh chopped basil, salt and pepper. I swirl each cooked cob in the "dip" as I eat it, and I go through about 3-4 of them at a sitting. In fact, it is often my total meal in July and August. (By the way, you can cheat by adding a handful of sugar to the boiling water.)

                                          But you're looking for a secret, and mine is to wrap each shucked cob in aluminum foil with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some kosher salt and crushed garlic and fresh chopped basil inside each one. You can put these wrapped cobs in the oven on a baking sheet (about 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees), or you can toss them on the grill after you've cooked the burgers or steaks, about 10-12 minutes (turn them a few times).

                                          When I was growing up in Lancaster, we had corn roasts about every weekend in the summer. The fire was started on the ground, and when the coals or embers were gray, with a large grate over top of them, about 100 dozen ears of corn -- husked and silked -- went on the grate. It was all covered with damp burlap sacks, and hoses were used to keep the burlap damp. About a half hour later, the burlap was peeled back and everyone got a hot ear of corn. Peel and eat!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: BigEats

                                            BigEats: when you talk amish food you got my attention, I always look for that
                                            section when looking at a new website, amish first then soulfood.. my favorite way
                                            for corn on the cob is I cut if off and cook it with onion and zucchini squash, and
                                            a little bell pepper.

                                          2. This was a fascinating thread to read, but obviously, the only way to cook corn on the cob is to avoid overcooking it. A minute or two in boiling water and c'est tout. But it's gotta be field fresh.

                                            1. Was just watching Alton Brown this weekend and he was saying that corn these days will last longer than it used to, but freshness is still key.

                                              How many people are you cooking for? You really only need enough water to cover the corn. Put it in the boiling water for 5 minutes and your good to go. Butter, salt, pepper, heaven!

                                              1. I've got to brining mine for an hour ina salt/sugar combo and then going directly to the grill sans husks. I watch it carefully and get nice light grill marks on the kernels. The brining keeps the kernels moist in the high heat and the sugar replaces that which is lost in the usual sugar to starch conversion that starts right after picking. It is said that 25% of the ears sugar converts to starch each day so time is of the essence.

                                                1. One tip on the boil is to use a small handful of sugar in the water

                                                  1. Microwave - i also cook right in the husk, but i remove a few of the outer layers so the corn is the main thing cooking.

                                                    BBQ - I husk the cobs and throw them in a plastic bag along with a small amount (for low fat) of peanut oil (barely enuff to lightly coat). Rub the cobs all the way around until coated. Then add seasoning. I like to use crushed chili peppers for heat. Or sometimes I use mexican chili powder for added flavour. Depends on your preference - you can just use the oil too. Throw them on a very hot BBQ. They will begin to turn deep yellow as they cook. It is important that the grill is VERY hot so that some kernels will caramelize and brown a bit in the same time the cob cooks all the way round. We prefer to have some kernels get toasted, but if you don't like that simply turn the corn often. You dont want to overcook the cob trying to brown some kernels. Salt to taste.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: deelicious

                                                      On a hot day I would cut the corn off the cob and cook it quickly in a skillet with just enough water to cover.

                                                    2. old thread, but good suggestions about the microwave. I tried it tonight and was very skeptical, but loved the results, the corn was perfectly cooked and much easier to remove the silks. My husband is the husker in the house and he hates this job, so he is going to be very happy with this method as well. He didn't have any tonight, wasn't in the mood...huh, how can you not be in the mood for corn on the cob in August..

                                                      1. It's funny, I seem to be the only person in the world who enjoys corn most when it is fresh and raw - no cooking whatsoever... juicy, sweet and crisp !

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: infernooo

                                                          nope, I think this is probably really good too, gonna try it with the next round and report back!