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How To Grill Corn

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Whether you keep the husk on or not, grilling corn is all about oil, butter, seasoning and turning it every so often to ensure even browning. Chef David Kamen of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates the process, and tells you how you'll know when the kernels are cooked.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Dave Kamen from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to grill corn.

Today we're going to be grilling some whole corn on the cob. I've got two ears of corn here, one without the husk and one with the husk on it. You can really grill corn either way. Some people like to leave the husk on; it protects the corn, and the husk actually scorches a little bit to give your corn a really nice smoky taste. Whatever you're into - either way is fine.

What we want to do with the corn with the husk on, though, is just remove some of these silks, because they will tend to burn very quickly. Just peel the husk back and remove some of the silks that are on there. You can take the opportunity, while these husks are back, to go ahead and add a little bit of oil or butter and a little seasoning. Here we have a little olive oil; I'll dip that on my fingers and rub that on the corn here. Then just take a little bit of salt and black pepper all the way around on all sides. Now we're going to fold the husk back over there, and that's going to help protect our corn and give it a nice smoky taste. We'll do the same thing with this bare ear of corn: we'll take it and get a little oil on there, and then we'll rub a little salt and pepper on it. Now they're good to go on the grill.

Our grill is all ready; it's been preheating for twenty or thirty minutes. We want to open it up and just take this opportunity to carefully brush down the rods. Brush off any carbon deposits and food residue from all the things we've been cooking today. Then we'll take our oil cloth and give it a nice little wipedown. Make sure our rods are nice and lubricated - this way nothing's going to stick.

Now we want to take our corn and lay it right down on the grill, and every now and then we'll come and give it a little turnaround until the corn kernels are nice and brown and also a little bit soft to the touch. That'll probably take about ten or fifteen minutes, rolling it around every minute or two to make sure it gets nice and evenly brown. You can also close the lid on your grill: that'll help to speed things up a little bit.

Let's take a look and see how our corn is doing. It's been in there a couple of minutes now. You can see the husk-on corn is starting to brown up very very nicely, and all that browning the husk is doing will give a really nice flavor to our corn. And even the husk-free corn, you can see it's getting a little bit brown, a little bit toasty - it smells great, smells a little like toasted popcorn in there, and that's exactly what you want. We'll continue to roll it around for a few more minutes to let it get nice and brown. You can also feel the corn kernels, and they should feel a little bit soft to the touch. These are still a little bit firm because they've got some more time to go. We'll let them go a little while longer and then we'll take it from there.

It looks like our corn is pretty much ready to go. Take a look: it's nice and brown all the way around, looking real juicy, nice and soft and tender to the touch. So these are pretty much ready to go. We'll set this husked one right over here; here's the one that had the husk on it, and we'll want to try to take the husk off just so we don't mess up our plate too much. So go ahead and peel the husks right back and pull them off. So now we have our two different grilled corn on the cob: the one with the husk and the one without - and that's pretty much the way you make grilled corn.