Grilled Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob was a favorite, until the Germans came. Before them, summertime guests relished the crisp Indiana sweet corn, fresh from the field, hot and buttered. But our Teutonic cousins refused the golden ears, and were giggling like brats at the end of the long table, while the Americans gnawed away ecstatically.

Unfortunately, my 101 German was bad enough that our visitors would never know that I spoke it. Worse, my German was good enough to decipher that our cousins and their mates were making fun of us, comparing us to barnyard animals. In Deutschland, only livestock eats corn from the cob.

I realized, indeed, it wasn't attractive, any more so than the German women's hairy legs and the men's Birkenstocks with black socks that the Americans were poking fun at, so I kept quiet and left everyone to their traditions.

Grilled corn is a trickier proposition than boiled corn, a fine balance between too raw and too charred. I tried the method of soaking ears in cold water with the husks intact, but the ears tasted like burnt husk. Corn is cheap this time of year, so I just kept cooking and burning until I got it right.

I strip the ears of all husk and silk, and put them over a medium high heat on the propane grill. I cook them for 1½ minutes, rotate them one-fourth of a turn, and repeat three more times. It results in crisp corn with just a few flavorful charred kernels. Some people prefer softer corn with more char, so for them I cook the ears two minutes on all four "sides".

These days I slice the kernels off the cob with a paring knife.

My Made-in-Germany knife.

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