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Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cheese ~ Elote

Three cobs of grilled corn with husks attached, lying on a metal sheet pan with parchment paper.
Today, just about everyone grills corn—and with good reason, because there’s nothing like the blast furnace heat of the live fire to intensify its natural sweetness while imparting an irresistible smoky caramel flavor. Not to mention the leopard skin dappling of yellow and black that makes grilled corn so handsome to look at. And the popcorn-like snap, crackle, pop you hear as the corn grills.
Steven Raichlen

Prep 20 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 35 mins
Sides
American
4 servings
258 kcal

Equipment

  • Butcher’s string (optional)
  • A sheet of aluminum foil, folded into thirds

Ingredients 

  • Mild vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
  • 4 ears of sweet corn preferably in the husk
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
  • 4 fresh basil leaves cut into thin slivers
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions 

  • Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.
  • If using corn in the husk, strip back the husk as though you were peeling a banana. Strip them all the way back so you expose the entire ear, including the last inch at the bottom. Tie the husks back with butcher’s string—the idea is to make a handle for eating the corn. Alternatively, use one or two strips of husk to tie off the handle. Pull off and discard any silk (the fine filaments between the husk and the ear).
    If using husked corn, proceed to step 3.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and basil, and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Lightly brush the corn on all sides with the garlic-basil butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the ears on the grate, sliding the foil grill shield under the tied-back husks to keep them from burning. Grill the corn until the kernels are darkly browned, rotating the ears every minute or so and basting with the garlic-basil butter, 10 to 15 minutes. You may hear some popcorn-like crackling!
  • Place the grated cheese in a shallow wide bowl or on a plate.
  • Brush one final time with the garlic-basil butter, then roll each cob in the cheese. Devour.