We tend to make a big focus on straight BBQ here at Grillaholics, but while the 'Q' may be the main dish, there is something to be said for having some killer BBQ side dishes - Take simple corn, for instance.
Grilled corn is a magnificent thing. An amazing transformation happens when you grill corn as opposed to, say, boiling, or cooking in the oven. You get richer, more robust flavors, while keeping the corn's signature sweetness.
Even a step further, smoking corn takes that transformation again, to a whole different level.
In this case, not only will we be smoking the corn, but we'll be doing it Mexican 'Street Corn' style by adding some seasonings, fresh cheese, and a crema mixture that will take your corn from side dish to main attraction real quick.
Ready to get started? Here's what you'll need:
- 10 Ears of Corn (Husked)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
- 2 Limes
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablesoon freshly chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Fire up the smoker to 250 degrees:
Okay, so first things first, let's fire up that smoker to about250 degrees. We've been using hickory for the wood, but any smoking wood you have on hand will do. While you're waiting for the smoker to get up to temp, go ahead and get started on step 2.
2. Make the Crema:
So, this part is pretty straightforward. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, juice from 1 lime, about1/4 of the cheese (crumbled), and season with salt. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
3. Smoke the Corn
Another pretty simple task. Once your smoker is up to temp, we're going to set the corn in the cooler side of the smoker/grill and smoke the corn for roughly an hour, making sure you're getting a nice brown color developed on the kernels, but ensuring the corn is not drying out. Pro Tip: We've found that setting a pan of water inside the smoker helps reduce the chances of the corn drying out!
4. Prepare the Elote(s):
Here's where it gets fun. Once the corn has cooled enough to touch, there are 2 ways you can go about preparing your elotes. The first (but messier) method is to simply spread the crema mixture over the corn using a basting brush or butter knife, then sprinkling on the salt, ancho chili powder & cumin seasonings, and rolling the ear of corn into the crumbled cheese - then garnish with fresh cilantro. It's that easy!
The second method requires the use of a squirt bottle (an old empty ketchup bottle will do). For this method you load the crema into the squirt bottle, and drizzle it over the smoked corn. After which a generous sprinkling of seasonings (salt, ancho chili powder & cumin) and crumbled cheese follow, then finishing with a garnish if freshly chopped cilantro. This method is a little cleaner, if you're trying to impress.
It's really that easy - And trust us when we say that this "side-dish" may end up going quicker than the main dish, so be prepared and have extra.
As always, Happy Grilling!