22 Jun2007


Weekend barbecues (even into the rainy season) are a great way to entertain a bunch of friends. The heat remains outdoors (not in your kitchen) and you can do several dishes on the grill. One of our favorite menus features simply grilled barbecued chicken corn2and some grilled steamed corn a la Marketman. Start off with some guacamole (no cooking at all) and chips and beers and you are in serious business. When I was younger, my parents used to love grilled corn on the cob. For some reason, they absolutely adored the charred, dried out and denture damaging ears of corn… it was like eating corn from a field near a major bomb explosion. Yuck is all I can say. And double yuck. So here is my take on corn on the cob…but this version is sweeter, richer, saltier while still possessing that smokey flavor and it is incredibly easy to prepare…

Ideally, you should always have freshly picked corn, say within 6 hours or so of leaving the stalk… but in Manila, that is a tall order. So I have compromised that rule in recent years by buying those bags of sweet corn or Japanese corn sold in large groceries…they corn3seem to have somehow managed to delay the process of corn sugars turning into starch, and the corn is relatively good even if it is a day or two old. Carefully peel away the husk but do not remove it. Remove as much of the corn silk (hair) as possible. Close up the corn cobs and plunge them into a boiling pot of water for just 5 minutes. Do this in batches if you are preparing a lot of corn. Remove and let these cool a bit. Next, open up the husks again and brush the corn with some sweet butter and sprinkle with salt. You can also add sweet or spicy paprika powder if you like it. Close the husk again and tie with some extra corn husks and set this aside. Once the fire is hot and still flaming a bit, place the corn on the grill (not directly on the coals) and keep turning them until the husks get slightly charred. There should be some sizzle and steam coming out of the corn. Little flare-ups may occur from escaping butter. Take the corn off the grill and serve a few minutes later when handling them is easier. What you get is sweet buttered corn but steamed and smoked over the barbecue. I love it this way. Add more butter and salt if you like it dripping with fat…



  1. Crissy says:

    Now that is what I call bringing the best of grilled and steamed corn together. I’ll definitely try this next time. Thanks Marketman! :)

    Jun 22, 2007 | 2:47 pm


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  3. eumir says:


    Jun 22, 2007 | 2:51 pm

  4. MrsKookie says:

    ahhh! I love corn. I craved corn on the cob when I was pregnant with my firstborn. I would’ve probably ate at least two of the “Marketman version” if I had them then. Yum :)

    Jun 22, 2007 | 4:13 pm

  5. bijin says:

    what a great idea! grilled but not charred. i bet it’s ono!

    Jun 22, 2007 | 4:37 pm

  6. Bubut says:

    keep the corn hair and you can boil it in water and drink like a tea. It’s good for those who suffer urinary tract infection.

    Jun 22, 2007 | 5:50 pm

  7. elaine says:

    Call me uncanny, but I love the charred, dried out ear of corn..I used to eat them a lot when I was young when my mamang would grill them to the max!! With margarine pa…triple yuck, ba? But my dentures are still perfectly straight and intact…ha ha…but with the emergence of japanese corn (the ones from S&R), I don’t need to torture myself anymore:)

    Jun 22, 2007 | 7:07 pm

  8. allen says:

    I love the smell of grilled corn on the cob… make mine with butter and grated cheese, please.

    Jun 22, 2007 | 8:30 pm

  9. Cookie says:

    Hi Mr. Marketman. The corn looks really yummy. Personally, we like the “Green Gold” brand of Japanese Sweet Corn. There is also this grower in Mexico, Pampanga that sells the sweetest corn ever. His corn is repacked and sold here in Manila in the big groceries. They sell the “rejects” (uneven sizes) for Php25-30 for a huge bag. The bag contains anywhere from 15 to 18 ears of corn.

    Jun 22, 2007 | 10:27 pm

  10. Apicio says:

    Even if you were not wearing dentures, those grilled gooey corncobs can leave black specks on your teeth that are a total turn-off, worse than a piece of spinach that you were not even aware was there. But we are undaunted. I hailed a cab driver in New York once who was munching on one and the smell so filled the passenger compartment that instead of telling him my destination I instead directed him to take me to where he bought it.

    Jun 22, 2007 | 10:35 pm

  11. Clint says:

    I bought corn this morning and will give this technique a try this afternoon (along with garlic butter marinaded sirloins) as long as we don’t pick up any windy showers in a few hours. I swear, Colorado is like a uber-dry version of Manila in the summer (very hot with thunderstorms every other afternoon).

    Jun 22, 2007 | 10:58 pm

  12. Myra P. says:

    Apicio, was your cabbie munching on drool-worthy mexican-style grilled corn, perhaps from cafe habana?

    MM, mexican-style grilled corn is topped with chili powder, melted cheese and lime… This could be an interesting variation :)

    Jun 22, 2007 | 11:37 pm

  13. erleen says:

    yeah, the mexicans seem to have aversion of it.

    When I watched the movie Nacho Libre, they have lots of scenes wherein they are eating corn bought streetside. seems to have something like melted cheese on it.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 12:00 am

  14. noemi says:

    nakakamiss talaga. paran kailan lang nun sa bukid namin nag-iihaw kami ng mais sa tapat ng acacia at nalalanghap ang preskong hangin.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 12:07 am

  15. noemi says:

    paran kailan lang nun sa bukid namin nag-iihaw kami ng mais sa tapat ng acacia at nalalanghap ang preskong hangin.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 12:09 am

  16. Apicio says:

    He took me to a street fair when they sometimes close off a section of a street and the same hardworking families set up selling their specialties. The grilled corn were indeed Mexican but the next table though was a Filipino family frying okoy which promted me to still my heart. It makes me ache with longing just thinking about it.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 12:36 am

  17. Maria Clara says:

    They are good with any meat barbecue. Cut off the kernels they are great addition in tomato salsa.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 12:51 am

  18. trishlovesbread says:

    Another variation: brush on some pesto on the corn…yum! And in case you get corn that’s not sweet, I think Paula Deen recommends soaking the whole ears in a sugar and water mixture for an hour or more before grilling. It works!

    Jun 23, 2007 | 4:37 am

  19. Franco says:

    Thanks for the post, Marketman. I believe that grilled corn is by far better than just tossing it into a vat of boling water. Then again, maybe it’s just a great excuse to roll out the grill.

    And to trishlovesbread, thanks for the idea, i’ll try that out.:)

    Jun 23, 2007 | 7:30 am

  20. connie says:

    I actually love those charred corn myself. My first visit to Six Flags, I was delightfully suprised to see a food stand grilling a naked corn directly on the pit. I thought it was only a Pinoy thing, obviously it wasn’t, however the corn was still somewhat soft and yet you get that charred flavor and aroma that I love.
    As far a grilling corn, I just butter the corn, fold back the husk and wrapped the corn in foil. The steam inside the foil will keep the corn moist and juicy, and of course no danger of charring the corn.
    Some Mexican food stands would actually mixed the grilled corn kernels with mayonnaise, chili powder and mexican cheese, they call it mayonesa. Who would have thought that corn and mayonaise taste good together. LOL.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 8:37 am

  21. Dew says:

    MM, I’m surprised at you throwing away the corn silk! This part infuses much flavor in to the corn when left on the cob and steamed/grilled too! My version of grilled/steamed corn is a bit simpler than yours. Melt butter, let it cool a bit, peel corn husk half way down the ear of corn. Pour a teaspoon or two of butter down the ear followed by a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Next, pour 1/3 cup of water in to ear of corn; close it up by tying the ear off at the top. Grill as usual. The cooked corn silk easily pulls away when peeling back the husk. Give this version a try. So flavorful and yummy to the tummy!

    Jun 23, 2007 | 8:37 am

  22. flip4ever says:

    Instead of butter, I just have lemon (or even better, calamansi) and kosher salt as sawsawan…the sweetness of the corn, tartness of the lemon, salt (and a little crunch because of the larger grain of salt)…typical pinoy flavor combination I guess ? Thanks for the tip of using the husks so that they don’t dry out on the grill.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 8:51 am

  23. Des says:

    We prepare ours by plunging them in ice cold water for 15 minutes, and grilling them the same way-

    Jun 23, 2007 | 11:14 am

  24. rina says:

    hmmm, reading your post reminds me of my freshman year at UP Baguio where my blockmates and I would subsist on grilled corn brushed with Star margarine once our allowances hit dangerously low levels : )

    now in Calgary, i’m just waiting for Taber corn season to start….yum.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 11:20 am

  25. wil-b cariaga says:

    i remember when i was a kid, every weekend we do our afternoon drive with the family and my mom always buy grilled corn, i dont like it but i seem to finish the whole corn. . .hehe or maybe i just have no other choice for a snack, it is so dry and with all the things going between your teeth. . . i’ll gonna be trying this steamed grilled corn, looks yummy. . .

    Jun 23, 2007 | 11:48 am

  26. Queen B says:

    I love corn, unfortunately I’m the only one who wants to eat it here in the family so we don’t usually buy it. I’ll try this corn ala marketman next time we have a barbie party… not sometime soon though since winter is just starting around here and temperature is around 10 degrees C.

    Jun 23, 2007 | 3:24 pm

  27. kaye says:

    i love eating corn on the cob however way it’s cooked but since i don’t have the privilege of time and space to barbecue ever so often here at home what i do is buy japanese corn at the grocery then i soak them in ice cold water for 5mins.. i remove the silk and the husk then wrap it in 2 squares of kitchen napkins then microwave them for like 5mins.. afterwards i brush them with butter and add salt and pepper.. yummy.. it’s not grilled but i get my fill of buttered corn.. heehehe!

    Jun 25, 2007 | 8:02 am

  28. CecileJ says:

    What can I say????!!!!!! I LOVE BUTTERED CORN!!!! Thanks everyone for the great tips on grilling to the different seasonings that can go with this delightful gift from nature!

    Jun 25, 2007 | 3:45 pm

  29. dhayL says:

    This is excellent idea MarketMan! I would definitely try this one this long weekend! thank u!

    Jun 26, 2007 | 5:01 am

  30. Lou says:

    I will surely try this boiled/grilled corn of yours. The timing is excellent since corn has started coming in from Florida. The Canadian grown ones won’t be in till August-September. I could use this as a “companion dish” to grilled pork chops and chicken breasts this long holiday weekend.
    Merci beaucoup!

    Jun 27, 2007 | 6:29 am

  31. buckythetarayslayer says:

    I love buttered corn! If any of you go to Batangas you’ll see that along Sto. Tomas, there are stalls selling corn on the cob every few meters or so. They’re really sweet, and the vendors would generously brush em with Star Margarine pa. I hankered for the stuff when I was pregnant, my poor husband would go all over town looking for one, and being a typical guy that he is, upon not seeing a single ear of corn, he bought me canned whole kernels instead! I cried like a baby when I saw the can…hehehe

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:42 am

  32. marissewalangkaparis says:

    buckythetarayslayer..you’re so funny…

    Nov 19, 2008 | 4:45 pm


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