Grilled Corn a la Marketman


Some of you may be reading this post and thinking, “what was he thinking, duhhh…” but hopefully many others will see a little lightbulb switch on just above their coconuts and say, “wow, that sounds simple enough to do.” But the ultimate test is the taste, and this grilled corn taken up a notch, tastes utterly fantastic. If you have access to a barbecue grill, you should definitely try this recipe the next time you have a hankering for some corn. Grilled corn is incredibly simple to do, but I often feel that the grilled corn that I usually sink my teeth into is overcooked (almost to the point of severe dryness) or burned and possessing a mouthfeel of charred paper, or simply tasteless… What I want is the juiciness of the fresh corn, the slight charring from the grill and the smokey flavor, and the melted butter and salt with a little bit of spice thrown in…

To make, I purchased a dozen ears of sweet corn, shucked them and removed all the corn silk (hair). Then take out 3/4 of a cup of good sweet butter and place it in a small bowl and allow it to soften to room temperature on the kitchen counter. Alternatively, you can zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it a bit. Then add about a teaspoon of chilli powder and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and salt to taste and mix this all up. Have a flame resistant or silicone brush handy. On the waning heat of a barbecue that has already grilled your main dish of fish, pork, burgers or steaks, add the naked corn on the cob and grill them for about 45 seconds on each “side” turning the cobs three times until the corn is already a bit cooked. It should have few burned marks on it, but not burned or charred. Next, brush the corn with the butter ad spice mixture, taking care not to ignite huge flames from the dripping butter (I cover the grill if a fire starts) and constantly moving the corn around the grill. After a couple of minutes or so, depending on the heat of your grill, the corn should be removed and placed on a platter and given one last basting with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with salt if you want. Serve hot. Simple and superb. :)

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16 Responses

  1. So simple and yummy for summer!

    Have you seen the corn stands in Sunset Park, Brooklyn? Sold by women out of shopping carts, you get an ear of corn and a variety of toppings are available. Aside from butter, there is mayo (then rolled in a crumbly white cheese), hot sauce, salt, pepper, and lime. Interesting to see so many combinations!

  2. I first tried grilled corn in Baguio when I was little. It’s been a consistent top-10 placer in my list of favorite street food.

    Corn has such a comforting, sweet flavor that is concentrated and made more complex by grilling.

    Yes, perfect for summer with cool lemonade with a few crushed mint leaves. Aaaaahhh…

  3. i love corn! but i like the grilled white corn much better than the japanese sweet corn. it’s less sweet, and more malagkit, but i grew up eating it since my mom, lola and aunts and uncles love it. whenever we went to my mom’s province in tarlac, we’d pass by towns that sold this on the street (much like how they sell sweet corn in Katipunan)and we’ll always buy some. and even now, i still can’t turn down a freshly cooked corn on the cob, grilled or otherwise. :)

  4. WAXY corn or maise malagkit, is a corn variety with grains that have a waxy appearance when cut, and that contain only branched-chain starch. It is grown to make special starches for thickening foods.

    SWEET or “green” corn, sold along Katipunan or Sta. Rosa, Laguna, is eaten fresh, canned, or frozen. It is a type of corn that is grown in many horticultural varities. It is variously considered a distinct species (Zea rugosa), a subspecies (Zea mays or mais rugosa) or a specific mutation of dent corn. It is distinguished by kernels containing a high percentage of sugar in the milk stage when they are suitable for table use.

    Other out-of-this-world types of corn would be indian, flint, dent, popcorn, squaw, etcetera… Urp! Filling! =)


  5. You can also eat the corn without cooking it as Rachel Sweet said.
    Once after purchasing freshly harvested sweet corn from an organic farm, I noticed a farm help digging his teeth into an ear just plucked from the stalk. I always thought corn had to be cooked. I didn’t wait to get home and did the same thing. I’ve never tasted corn so sweet and tender! At home when I boiled the corn, briefly, 6-8 minutes or so with a couple layers of husk and the cornsilk with it, it was still good but not quite the same as the raw freshness of it.

  6. You know if you dont feel like grilling that day, I have found that microwaving actually work really well on corn, 6 minutes on a plate with a tiny bit of water and it is great! I even have these corn holders that you can put on before you microwave and it doesnt get hot when you are ready to dig in!

  7. Another fast & easy microwave tip:

    Thoroughly wet a paper towel then wrap around a fresh picked corn. Stick in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Voila! talk about fast, hassle free and tasty treat.

  8. I also like grilled corn but I prefer grilled native corn (the white one) though hard to find nowadays. I also love boiled corn (plain or as ingridient in beef nilaga) and the pinoy corn soup. I said Pinoy Corn Soup because my grand mother used to prepare corn soup, made of grated white corn with shrimps (I can’t remember but I know it’s shrimp)and leaves of sili. That soup is not thick and very delicious.

  9. Thanks MM! I love grilled corn. It brings back childhood memories when our maid would bring me some grilled native white corn from the market when she does the weekly food purchase.

  10. My lola used to make pinoy corn soup with pork bits fried till crunchy (like chicharon) and ampalaya leaves. Yum!

  11. heeheee … just check your teeth before you smile after chompin’ on all that ‘corny’ goodness!!

    melted butter and garlic powder with cumin or red pepper and salt. :-)

  12. I grew up with the white, sticky, native corn and i can eat 4 pcs all by myself. Boiled, grilled, in corn soup with sauteed garlic, onions, fish sauce, and sili leaves thrown on. Comfort food.

  13. Around December…summer time here in NZ – that’s when sweet corn are in season here.I love love love corn!!!MY family got a habit of going to the beach on weekends – around 40 minutes drive and have bbq at the beach.We cook our corn with skin on with our portable gas bbq.The skin keeps the moisture in and its sweetness.YUMMY!When cooked,peel off skin and put butter and pepper…NICE!Cant wait for next summer.

  14. i tried this combination once at a friend’s house: grilled corn + green salad + nachos with salsa + freshly squeezed OJ. it was a yummy, healthy meal!

  15. yum yum! I love grilled corn! I grew up in Manila but I’m now based in Cebu. The first time I saw grilled corn on the streets of Cebu 12 years ago, I screamed “wow! INIHAW NA MAIS!” All my friends stared horridly at me and laughed. Apparently “inihaw or ihaw” here in Cebu means to slaughter or kill (the pig, chicken or any livestock). There definitely ain’t no bloody corn around. When in Cebu, the politically correct term would be “Sinugbang Mais”. :)

    I will definitely try your version with paprika and chili powder. thanks!

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