Kick Off Barbecue Season Right By Smoking Your Corn On The Cob

A plate of grilled corn on the cobs
A plate of grilled corn on the cobs - from my point of view/Shutterstock

Summer is fast approaching, and the idea of a backyard barbecue has never looked more tempting. The first thing that comes to your mind is probably grilled meat, charred around the edges and smoking hot off the dancing flame. Glorious as it may be, don't limit yourself to just that — not when you can also smoke corn on the cob for yet another marvelous treat.

Corn's sweetness is beyond familiar at this point, but what about when it's smoked to perfection? As you may have guessed, a smoky undertone is to be expected. It's a robust taste that lingers after the initial sweetness has settled, evoking that signature scent greatly adored in barbecue food.

That's not all, however. More often than not, the corn is also coated in melted butter, giving it an irresistible aroma. With spices and herbs sprinkled all over the kernels, you may also detect fragrant, spicy, savory, or peppery hints playfully peeking through. The fusion between the deeply rustic and vibrant notes creates a striking contrast that pulls you in one bite after another. Whether served on its own or alongside other food, smoked corn on the cob is a surefire highlight at your cookout.

Read more: Styles Of Regional BBQ In The US

Get Smoky Grilled Corn With A Few Simple Steps

Butter melting on top of corn cobs
Butter melting on top of corn cobs - Zeljkosantrac/Getty Images

Smoking corn on the cob is as easy as can be. It starts with a quick preparation of the corn, which includes peeling back the husks and discarding the silks. There's no need for soaking to keep the corn from burning because, unlike grilling, smoking uses indirect heat. However, doing this also keeps the corn juicy and plump. If that's what you'd prefer, soak it for at least half an hour while you're preparing the remaining ingredients.

Then, butter the corn and season it. Finally, lay the corn cobs all over the rack of your smoker and smoke it with the lids closed for around 50 minutes to a little bit over an hour. Make sure you flip and give them another butter brush halfway through the process. The cooking time varies, but once the kernels have reached the desired tenderness and are slightly charred, you can remove it from the smoker.

When it comes to jazzing up the smoked corn, your options are infinite. Start with something simple, like lemon juice for a zesty brightness. Spices like black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, etc. are always good. BBQ seasoning, in particular, is a perfect fit. Chop up parsley, cilantro, or basil for an aromatic touch and pops of green. Taking inspiration from elotes, a classic Mexican street corn, you can slather the smoked corn cobs with a creamy sauce like Mexican crema, sour cream, or mayonnaise.

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