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Tips and Tricks for Cooking Corn on the Cob?

Ok, it's corn season.

So lets hear all your tips and tricks on getting the most out of your corn on the cob.

I've heard thus far:

1. Adding some sugar to the water used to cook to the corn will enhance its sweetness

2. Adding some milk to the water will make it extra crunchy

3. Soak the corn in their husk prior to grilling

Any others to add?

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  1. Here is jfood KISS recipe.

    1 - Buy as fresh and as good an ear as possible
    2 - take out of the bag and through on the grill with everything attached for 10-15 minutes, turning every 4-5
    3 - Remove, peel and eat

    Jfood does not add salt, butter, milk or anything else. He loves the great flavor of corn au naturale.

    And yes he has tried each of OP's tips over the years. Still for jfood - fresh, grill, strip and eat naked is the best. Always a good rule in life.

    15 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I absolutely agree. Mostly.

      I chop up whatever herbs I've got fresh ... basil is very nice ... and mash it into soft butter. Roll the corn around in that.

      My son puts ketchup on his, but he's 25. What does he know.

      1. re: jfood

        I agree with jfood. Buy it, cook it, peel it, eat it. We haven't used butter or salt on corn in over 2 years. The only thing that jfood forgot to mention is to watch out for that cooked corn when you are peeling back the husks...it is UNBELIVEABLY hot!

        1. re: valerie

          oh yeah baby forgot that point, oops. and thx

          use two pot holders to peel, one to hold the corn and the other to peel back the husk. But please do not do this under running water, it ruins the corn.

        2. re: jfood

          Jfood, we need to throw things on the grill, not through the grill !!!

          Reference tip 2

          Just having a little fun with ya !!

          1. re: jfood

            Grilling in husk is the only way I make corn on the cob. Except, I do like butter on it. ;)

            I loathe boiled/steamed corn. It just always seems...well....waterlogged and soggy and gross.

            1. re: jfood

              jfood, I agree one hundred percent! I don't get why people boil corn. Grilling it leaves a much more intense flavor, with a hint of smoky goodness.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                Because not all people have ready access to a grill or the time to use an oven.

                1. re: Richard 16

                  Even when grilling and roasting aren't options, steaming usually is. And steaming in the microwave is even easier than doing it on the stovetop and IMO delivers better results than boiling.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I just recently discovered microwave steaming. Wrap an ear of corn in a paper towel, wet the towel thoroughly, nuke on high for 2 1/2 minutes.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      No need for a paper towel wet or dry. Just put them--husks, silk, and all--right in the microwave. See below:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5458...

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        I am certainly not going to make you like boiled corn. But it seems to me that with a couple of tricks it can be pretty darned good. (Although I do prefer roasted corn.)
                        1) I posted this earlier but I'll say it again: a save the boiling water, reduce, and freeze. add back some water, cook, reduce and reuse, each time giving the corn more corn flavor.
                        2) as others have noted add sugar to the water.'
                        3) Try a different sauce – clarified butter, umeboshi plum, roasted garlic/onion, etc. etc.
                        4) Flavor the water with some vegetables and/or herbs - such as rosemary. Not my preferred approach but some people love it.

                2. re: jfood

                  ... grill, strip and eat naked is the best. Always a good rule in life.

                  Jfood, what about the corn?

                3. I'd recommend boiling for a very short time - like 2 min max and serving with a small dish of fresh ground pepper and good salt and a wedge of lime - soak up the s/p with the lime and rub onto the corn. Super cornalicious!

                  1. grilling, soak the corn in the husk, in ice water for a couple of hours before grilling - takeas about 25 mins on a hot grill.

                    Otherwise I steam my corn on the cob, boiling does not work for me.

                    Being from Illinois, one of the best states for corn in the country I only eat corn on the cob for a bout 6 weeks out of the year when it is fresh from the field, otherwise I do not bother

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I second steaming. I take my big spaghetti pot with the colander in, add a bit of water (below the colander), and plunk the (shucked) corn in. Since there's so little water the steaming starts pretty quickly. Just turn the heat down when it does start so you don't evaporate everything. Doesn't take that long for the corn to be ready.

                      1. re: hondo77

                        I agree, sometimes I steam the corn with some red potatoes, kilbasa, crab legs, and shrimp, and pour the mess out on the table, and chow down.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          I do the same thing, only with chorizo instead of kielbasa, and I usually throw in some mussels or steamers. So good...

                          1. re: theferlyone

                            that is a nice twist, I will have to try that soon.

                          2. re: swsidejim

                            Do you vary the time the various items go into the pot? I would think the potatoes would need much more time than the corn or shrimp. Sounds loverly though!

                            1. re: Goldendog

                              yes, I stagger the items.

                              potatoes first, I then wait about 10 mins, and add the corn, crab legs, and sausage. Cook about 10 mins, and then add the shrimp for the last few minutes.

                      2. I like these tips and they work for me. I try to avoid the larger ears of corn especially later in the season as I've found them too starchy. When I pick through the bin of corn or heap that is on a table I tend to dig down a little to where the corn is cool in hope that it is less dried out. That having been said, I live close to farms where it is sold freshly picked. As great food goes it is hard to beat fresh corn at $3 per half dozen.

                        loved the scene in MASH where Col. Potter describes not even picking the corn but bending the stock over until an ear is lowered into boiling water.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Alacrity59

                          $3.00 per half dozen? that is pretty expensive. I get a dozen ears from local growers for $3.50/dozen.

                          1. re: swsidejim

                            Q "what's a buccaneer?"
                            A "too much to pay for sweet corn."
                            heh. heh.

                            a griller here, after a water soak. you can also bury the ears of corn in the coals of a grill, if the grill surface is covered in deliciousness and you don't have room. just leave the chunky stalk bases sticking out a little so you can grab them with tongs after 10-12 mins.

                            when it is really super-fresh from the field i love to eat the corn raw off the cob.

                        2. The fresher the corn the better. My husband's late grandfather grew corn, and he didn't pick it till the water was boiling. He used to say it was so sweet because the sugar in it had not yet converted to starch. Corn that fresh needed only a couple minutes of boiling.

                          We also like to grill ours. We soak the ears in their husks in our sink for about 20 minutes then place them on a low flame grill (still in their husks) and turn frequently. The corn steams in its husk. We serve with unsalted butter, and plenty of salt to taste.

                          I also agree about the smaller ears being better. Found that out the hard way.

                          The corn we had this year in Connecticut was not as good as in year's past for some reason. Someone said farmers are selling more of it for ethanol... (??)

                          I take any extra corn and with a sharp knife scrape the kernals off the cob. Leftover corn has a million and one household uses.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                            Your grandfather-in-law was right. The corn needs to be very FRESH, meaning recently picked, firm, and with a healthy-looking tail of silk.
                            If I'm planning on grilling it, then I throw it on just as it is, without soaking. If boiling, I keep it in a cool place until the the water is ready, then quickly peel and toss them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. As soon as the corn gets exposed to air, the sugars turn to starch and the corn loses its sweetness, which is also why its important never to buy corn that has already been husked or when its silk is missing or damaged.
                            I am not sure where you are, but we've been having great luck with the corn from various nurseries and farmers' markets in Westchester lately.