Few things represent summer as well as grilled corn on the cob, although not everyone has a grill to cook their corn on. Fortunately, you can still create perfect grilled corn even if you do not have a grill, thanks to a variety of alternatives to the grill.
1 – Indoor Grill
Although there is no absolute replacement to standard outdoor grills, one of the leading alternatives is an indoor grill, which essentially reduces an outdoor grill to a small grilling rack that you can use indoors. Many of these indoor grills are electric and smoke-free, which makes them much easier to maintain than their outdoor counterparts.
Another benefit of the indoor grill is how easy it is to clean, which is a stark contrast to outdoor grills. With an indoor grill, you can also avoid confusion regarding the heat of your grill and the items that you are grilling, as indoor grills allow you to control the temperature of your items.
If you live in an apartment complex or do not have much space on your property, indoor grills are great alternatives to the traditionally large outdoor grills. Although the grilling quality and smoky flavor most outdoor grills give to your food are not as strong as indoor grills, you will still find that an indoor grill gets the job done very well.
2 – Grill Pan
One vastly different alternative to outdoor grills that you can use to grill corn is a grill pan, which, as the name suggests, is pretty much just a pan that resembles a grill rack. To use this device, you simply treat the pan as you would any other pan by simply putting it on a stovetop and letting the heat cook your food, including the corn.
The grill pan takes the indoor grill to the next level, reducing it down to one pan, which is especially nice if you are unable to spare any extra room in your house or property. While the grill pan is not as effective as the outdoor grill, it will certainly get the job done for the majority of tasks.
One of the things that grill pans are especially good at doing is giving your foods nice char marks, which is what separates these pans from standard kitchen pans. Grilling pans are also very inexpensive, especially when you compare them to larger grilling devices such as indoor and outdoor grills, which makes them price-friendly tools.
If you are not a picky person, you may just want to stick with a cast-iron skillet, which will give your items a nice grill if you cook them correctly. Cast-iron pans will work in many cases, although for pure grilling scenarios, your best bet will be a grilling pan or other devices that are meant specifically for grilling.
3 – Broiler
If you really do not want to buy a new piece of equipment for grilling, your oven’s broiler is always a good backup.
As with the other alternatives to outdoor grilling, a broiler will not give you a char as prominent as an outdoor grill, although there are some special benefits that your broiler offers.
Some people actually prefer their corn on the cob cooked in a broiler rather than a grill, although this is all up to your preference.
If you decide to go down this route in “grilling” your corn, make sure that you wrap your corn in tin foil while the corn still has its husk on it, add your personal seasoning to it, and cook it for roughly ten minutes, rotating the corn to make sure that it cooks evenly.
Broilers work by heating food from above, unlike ovens that heat food evenly from all sides. Hence, when you use your oven’s broiler function to heat foods such as corn, you are really doing the same thing as a standard outdoor grill, which heats your food from below.
The result of this one-sided heating is what you see on many grilled or charred foods — those black stripes that add a smoky, charcoal flavor to your food. When you do it properly, you can achieve this on your corn on the cob even when you are only using a broiler.
4 – Roasting in the Oven
Sticking with the oven, you can replace your grill with an oven to successfully “grill” your corn. As with the broiler, individually wrap your corn cobs in aluminum foil or another safe material and place them in the oven before cooking evenly to your desired heat.
It is a good idea to combine some spices and butter, then add the combination on top of your corn before cooking it. This will encourage the corn to stay nice and moist, while also allowing it to get some grill marks on the surface of the corn.
Roasting in the oven is another solid alternative to buying or maintaining an outdoor grill, and if you already have an oven, it is an inexpensive way to sufficiently grill corn and other foods.
While you will not get the same grilling quality as with a genuine grill, combining roasting and broiling will often get you a great end result.
You can also roast other foods in the oven, such as other vegetables and a variety of different meats, most famously turkeys and hams. Cauliflower, peppers, sweet potatoes, and many other vegetables work very well in a roasting oven.
How to Prepare Corn Before Cooking
Before you start grilling your corn, whether it be on an outdoor grill or on one of the many alternatives to an outdoor grill, there are some tips you can utilize to optimize your corn experience.
Following these bits of advice can help you prevent your corn from burning, while at the same time allowing you to add some moisture to the corn.
For grilling of any sort, soak your corn for at least half an hour, but no more than eight hours. While this step is by no means necessary, you might end up finding that this little extra bit of work pays off in your final product.
In terms of corn husks, removing the husk before cooking is also not completely mandatory to properly cook your corn on the cob. If you decide to grill the corn without the husk, make sure to pay attention to the corn, as not having a husk puts your corn at risk of burning without your noticing.
If you decide to keep your corn husks on your corn ears, you might want to peel back some of the husk so that the corn on the inside cooks quicker.
Cutting off a couple of inches of the stringy part of the corn husk will also reduce the chance that your corn husks will catch fire and burn, while is especially hazardous if you are using an indoor grill.
What Else Can You Do with Corn?
If the prospect of grilling corn does not excite you, there are a number of other things that you can do with corn for every type of corn lover. Although the limits are endless when it comes to the different ways you can use corn in the kitchen, there is a handful that are extra practical.
Corn makes a great addition to many salsas, adding an extra spark to both mild and spicier varieties. If you are in the mood for a breakfast treat, consider opting for some corn pancakes or waffles, which you can make into sweet dishes or savory options.
Corn kernels also make cracking additions to most soups and salads, especially chowders where the corn is cooked for a long time. Or, if you are in the market for some fresh vegetables, simply cook some corn kernels to make a great side dish for meals of all sorts.
The bottom line is that corn is a very diverse ingredient that you can do all sorts of things with. Although grilling corn on the cob is one of the most popular ways to utilize corn, thinking outside the box opens up a whole world of possibility in terms of corn, so feel free to try corn in a new light.
If you do not have a traditional grill but still want to grill corn, you can still make your wishes come true by using one of a number of alternatives to outdoor grills. While these alternatives do not create the exact same effects as a standard grill, they get very close and are sufficient for the majority of purposes.
The indoor grill is the closest replacement for an outdoor grill and comes in a much smaller package. Along with the indoor grill, you can also use a special grill pan to get a nice char and cook your corn similar to the way a grill does.
If you have an oven, you can use the broiler setting or simply roast your corn, which will get the job done if you do not want to commit to an investment such as a grilling utensil or grill.
There are a few tips to prepare your corn before grilling, such as soaking and trimming your corn husk. In the case that you decide not to grill your corn, the possibilities are endless with how you prepare your corn.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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