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Smoked Corn on the Cob

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As the warm embrace of summer gives way to the crispness of autumn, one culinary tradition bridges these seasons: Smoked Corn on the Cob!

Smoked corn piled on a cast iron pan.Pin
Smoked Corn on the Cob

Picture the sweet, juicy kernels of corn kissed by the smoky caress of a smoker, releasing an irresistible aroma that beckons all to gather around the fire. In this tantalizing journey through the world of smoked corn, we’ll explore the art and science of infusing this humble ear of maize with layers of complexity and delight.

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Whether you’re a seasoned grilling aficionado or a backyard BBQ novice, get ready to elevate your corn game to new, smoky heights! 🔥🌽🍂

What you need

Sweet Corn: This is the most common choice for smoked corn on the cob due to its naturally sweet and tender kernels. Varieties like “Silver Queen,” “Bi-color,” or “Yellow” sweet corn work well.

Pile of corn on a black backgroundPin
Sweet Corn

How to Make it

Step One

Cutting both ends off of the corn will make them easier to husk.

Both ends cut off of ears of corn.Pin
Cut the ends off of corn to make husking easier.

Step Two

For a pretty presentation, husk the corn, leaving the husks attached. Tie them up with twine.

Husks attached and tied up for a nice presentation.Pin
Or for a pretty presentation, husk corn and leave the husks intact.

Step Three

Soak the corn for about thirty minutes in cold water. Weight the ears down with a heavy pot, or similar tool.

Soaking the corn in a large pot.Pin
Soak the corn in a large pot filled with water.

Step Four

Husk the corn, remove silks, and dry them off well.

Drying the ears with paper towel.Pin
Carefully dry the ears with paper towel.

Step Five

Melt the butter in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Melted butter with pepper in it in a small bowl.Pin
Melt the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step Six

Brush the ears with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika or smoked paprika, if desired.

Buttered corn sprinkled with paprika.Pin
Brush the ears with the butter and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Set up and preheat the smoker. Place each ear of corn directly on the smoker grates. Smoke for 25-30 minutes. Flip the ears over and continue to smoke for another 25-30 minutes until corn is tender.

Why should you make it?

  1. Flavor Infusion: Smoking imparts a unique smoky flavor to the corn, adding depth and complexity to its taste. This additional layer of flavor can make corn on the cob more exciting and enjoyable.
  2. Tenderization: Smoking corn can help break down some of its fibers, resulting in a tender and juicy texture, which is particularly appealing for corn on the cob, as it can make the kernels easier to bite into and more succulent.
  3. Aroma Enhancement: The smoky aroma wafts from smoking corn is undeniably enticing. It can stimulate the appetite and create an inviting atmosphere during outdoor gatherings or BBQs.
  4. Variation: Smoking offers a different preparation method for corn, allowing you to vary your cooking techniques and impress your guests with something unique and memorable.
  5. Creative Seasoning: While smoking, you can experiment with various seasonings, rubs, or marinades to create custom flavor profiles. Smoking corn allows you to tailor it to your preferences or match it with other dishes.
  6. Versatility: Serve smoked corn on the cob as a standalone side dish, incorporated into salads, salsas, or chowders, or used as an ingredient in other recipes. Its versatility makes it a valuable addition to your culinary repertoire.
  7. Cultural and Regional Traditions: Smoking corn is a tradition in many cultures, particularly in areas where corn is a staple food. Exploring these traditions can be a way to connect with culinary heritage and experience diverse flavors.
  8. Cost-Effective: Smoking corn at home can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made smoked corn products or ordering it at a restaurant. You have control over the ingredients and can choose budget-friendly options.
  9. Reduced Food Waste: Smoking corn is a great way to maximize your corn harvest or take advantage of sales and bulk purchases. It allows you to preserve the corn’s freshness and extend its shelf life, reducing the likelihood of food waste.
  10. Versatility in Ingredients: Smoking corn allows you to experiment with various seasonings and flavors, which can help you repurpose leftover ingredients or make the most of items in your pantry. This versatility can save you money on additional grocery purchases.
  11. Bulk Cooking: When smoking corn, you can prepare multiple cobs at once, making it a convenient option for feeding a crowd or preparing meals for the week. Cooking in bulk can be more economical than cooking individual portions separately.
  12. Customization: Smoking corn allows you to tailor the flavor and seasoning to your preferences, reducing the need for expensive pre-seasoned or pre-flavored products.

In summary, smoking corn on the cob elevates its taste and texture while adding a delightful smoky aroma. It’s a way to take a classic summer dish and give it a flavorful twist so you can appreciate it in various culinary contexts.

How to store fresh corn

Storing fresh corn on the cob properly is essential to maintain its freshness and flavor. Here’s how to do it:

  • Keep the Husks On Leave the husks on the corn as they act as a natural protective barrier, helping to keep the corn fresh. 
  • Inspect for Freshness: When selecting corn at the store or farmer’s market, choose cobs with bright green, fresh-looking husks. Be sure the kernels are plump and tightly packed.
  • Store in the Refrigerator: Place the corn, with the husks still on, in the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Cooling will help maintain a slightly humid environment, ideal for preserving the corn’s freshness.
  • Keep It Dry: Moisture leads to mold growth, so ensure the corn remains dry. Do not wash the corn before storing it, as water can get trapped between the husks.
  • Use It Soon: For the best flavor and texture, use fresh corn within 2-3 days of purchase. Corn starts to lose its sweetness and crispness as it ages.
  • Husk Before Cooking: When cooking the corn, remove the husks and silk just before cooking. Husking allows you to inspect the corn for imperfections or insects and allows the smoke to penetrate.
  • Freezing (Optional): If you have more corn than you can use within a few days, consider blanching and freezing it for more extended storage. Here’s how to freeze fresh corn:
    • Husk the corn and remove the silk.
    • Blanch the corn in boiling water for 4-6 minutes.
    • Quickly cool the corn in an ice water bath.
    • Drain and pat dry.
    • Cut the kernels off the cob and store them in airtight freezer bags or containers. Label and date them.
    • Store it for up to 8-12 months.

By following these steps, you can extend the freshness of your fresh corn on the cob and enjoy its sweet, crunchy goodness for longer.

How to Store Leftover Corn

Properly storing leftover smoked corn on the cob is crucial to maintain its flavor and quality. Here’s how to do it:

  • Cool the Corn: Allow the leftover smoked corn to cool to room temperature before storing it to prevent condensation and help maintain its texture.
  • Remove from the Cob (Optional): Remove the kernels from the cob before storing. It is easier to use the corn in other dishes later.
  • Wrap or Containerize: There are a couple of ways to store the corn:
    • Plastic Wrap or Foil: Wrap individual cobs or the cob sections tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Ensure there are no gaps or openings to prevent air from getting in.
    • Airtight Container: If you’ve removed the kernels or prefer to store them this way, place them in an airtight container.
  • Label and Date: It’s a good practice to label it with the date to keep track of freshness. You can also write a note about any seasonings or flavorings you added to the corn.
  • Refrigerate: Place the wrapped or containerized corn in the refrigerator. Store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
  • Freeze (Optional): If you have a lot of leftover smoked corn and don’t plan to use it within a few days, you can freeze it for more extended storage. Wrap the corn in a layer of plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, use a vacuum-sealed bag. Store frozen smoked corn can for up to 6 months.
  • Reheat: You can reheat the leftover smoked corn when you’re ready to enjoy it. To reheat, either wrap it in foil and warm it in the oven at around 300°F or 150°C for about 10-15 minutes or reheat it in the microwave for a shorter time, checking to avoid overcooking.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Once reheated, serve the smoked corn as desired, whether as a side dish, in salads or as an ingredient in other recipes.

Remember that the quality of the leftover smoked corn may deteriorate slightly upon reheating. However, it can still be delicious when handled and reheated correctly.

Ears of corn with their husks tied up and sprinkled with paprika. Pin

FAQs

How long does it take to smoke corn on the cob?

Smoking corn on the cob typically takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the temperature of your smoker and the size of the corn cobs. Smaller cobs may cook faster.

What type of wood is best for smoking corn?

Hardwoods like hickory, oak, or cherry are excellent choices for smoking corn. They impart a rich, smoky flavor that complements the sweetness of the corn.

Should I soak the corn before smoking it?

Some recommend soaking the corn in water for about 30 minutes before smoking to prevent it from drying out. However, it’s only sometimes necessary, and you can achieve great results without soaking. We like our corn tender and not dry. Soaking it will help prevent the corn from becoming starchy.

What seasonings and rubs work well with smoked corn?

You can use various seasonings and rubs to enhance the flavor of smoked corn. Common choices include butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and herbs like thyme or rosemary. Experiment to find your favorite flavor combination.

Can I smoke corn on a charcoal grill instead of a dedicated smoker?

Yes, you can smoke corn on a charcoal grill by using indirect heat and adding wood chips for smoke flavor. To avoid burning, create a cool zone on the grill and remove the corn from direct heat.

Should I remove the husks before smoking corn on the cob?

It’s a matter of personal preference. Some people like to smoke corn with the husks on to protect the kernels and infuse a subtle smoky flavor into the corn. Others prefer to remove the husks and directly expose the kernels to smoke for a more pronounced smoky taste.

Creative ways to serve smoked corn on the cob?

Serve it with various toppings, such as flavored butter, grated cheese, lime juice, or hot sauce. You can cut the kernels off the cob for salads, salsas, or as a side dish with grilled meats.

Can I freeze smoked corn on the cob for later use?

Yes, you can freeze smoked corn on the cob. Allow it to cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and place it in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw and reheat.

Are there any safety precautions to take when smoking corn?

Ensure your smoker or grill is correctly set up and maintained to prevent accidents. Follow food safety guidelines by cooking the corn to a safe internal temperature (at least 165°F or 74°C).

Can I smoke corn indoors using an electric or stovetop smoker?

While it’s possible to smoke corn indoors using specialized equipment like an electric smoker or stovetop smoker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use them in a well-ventilated area to avoid smoke buildup.

Can I overcook smoked corn on the cob?

Yes, it’s possible to overcook smoked corn on the cob, which can lead to a less desirable texture and flavor. Overcooking can result in starchy, mushy or overly soft kernels, and it may cause the corn to lose its natural sweetness. To avoid overcooking, monitor the cooking time closely and follow recommended smoking temperature and duration guidelines. It’s better to slightly undercook the corn and adjust the cooking time in subsequent attempts to achieve your preferred level of tenderness.

What to serve with smoked corn?

Smoked Corn makes a wonderful side dish for so many recipes. They’re perfect for picnics or BBQs or just for any summer meal.

Helpful Tools

Smoked corn with the husks left on and tied at the top.Pin
Smoked Corn

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Stacked corn on the cob on a cast iron pan.Pin

Smoked Corn on the Cob

As the warm embrace of summer gives way to the crispness of autumn, one culinary tradition bridges these seasons: Smoked Corn on the Cob!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 113kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cutting both ends off of the corn will make them easier to husk.
    12 ears corn on the cob
  • For a pretty presentation, husk the corn, leaving the husks attached. Tie them up with twine.
  • Soak the corn for about thirty minutes in cold water. Weight the ears down with a heavy pot or similar tool.
  • Husk the corn, remove silks, and dry them off well.
  • Melt the butter in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Brush the ears with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika or smoked paprika, if desired.
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt, 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, you can substitute sweet paprika
  • Set up and preheat the smoker. Place each ear of corn directly on the smoker grates. Smoke for 25-30 minutes. Flip the ears over and continue to smoke for another 25-30 minutes until corn is tender.
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Notes

How to Store Fresh Corn
  1. Keep the Husks On Leave the husks on the corn as they act as a natural protective barrier, helping to keep the corn fresh. 
  2. Inspect for Freshness: When selecting corn at the store or farmer’s market, choose cobs with bright green, fresh-looking husks. Be sure the kernels are plump and tightly packed.
  3. Store in the Refrigerator: Place the corn, with the husks still on, in the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Cooling will help maintain a slightly humid environment, ideal for preserving the corn’s freshness.
  4. Keep It Dry: Moisture leads to mold growth, so make sure the corn remains dry. Do not wash the corn before storing it, as water can get trapped between the husks.
  5. Use It Soon: For the best flavor and texture, use fresh corn within 2-3 days of purchase. Corn starts to lose its sweetness and crispness as it ages.
  6. Husk Before Cooking: When cooking the corn, remove the husks and silk just before cooking. Husking allows you to inspect the corn for imperfections or insects and allows the smoke to penetrate.
  7. Freezing (Optional): If you have more corn than you can use within a few days, consider blanching and freezing it for more extended storage. Here’s how to freeze fresh corn.
How to Store Leftovers
    1. Cool the Corn: Allow the leftover smoked corn to cool to room temperature before storing it to prevent condensation and help maintain its texture.
    2. Remove from the Cob (Optional): Remove the kernels from the cob before storing. It is easier to use the corn in other dishes later.
    3. Wrap or Containerize: There are a couple of ways to store the corn:
      • Plastic Wrap or Foil: Wrap individual cobs or the cob sections tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Ensure there are no gaps or openings to prevent air from getting in.
      • Airtight Container: If you’ve removed the kernels or prefer to store them this way, place them in an airtight container.
    4. Label and Date: It’s a good practice to label it with the date to keep track of freshness. You can also write a note about any seasonings or flavorings you added to the corn.
    5. Refrigerate: Place the wrapped or containerized corn in the refrigerator. Store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
    6. Freeze (Optional): If you have a lot of leftover smoked corn and don’t plan to use it within a few days, you can freeze it for more extended storage. Wrap the corn in a layer of plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, use a vacuum-sealed bag. Store frozen smoked corn can for up to 6 months.
    7. Reheat: You can reheat the leftover smoked corn when you’re ready to enjoy it. To reheat, either wrap it in foil and warm it in the oven at around 300°F or 150°C for about 10-15 minutes or reheat it in the microwave for a shorter time, checking to avoid overcooking.
    8. Serve and Enjoy: Once reheated, serve the smoked corn as desired, whether as a side dish, in salads or as an ingredient in other recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
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