Ok. You guys know I love to eat. Duh, I write a blog all about food. BUT it’s not often that I eat something so good it changes my life. Yeah. I’m claiming I’ve eaten a life-changing food. Here’s the story…
My wonderful boyfriend and I love trying new foods. We have been to just about every international grocery store in our area, and even travel to other parts of town to find new ones! While venturing to our (new) favorite multi-ethnic superstore, we stopped to explore a Mexican market we found. And it was awesome! Gorgeous unique produce, all the seasonings and spices your inner Latino heart desires, a huge meat counter, a homemade bakery, a full-size restaurant, and more! We were tempted by the restaurant but really only needed a snack, so we shyly approached the cute little Mexican lady working a little stand at the front of the store. And let me tell you what, she was doing some pretty amazing things.
The first thing we saw her do was take a to-go cup of chopped mango, squeeze a whole lime over it, sprinkle in some salt and chili powder, and shake the crap out of it. Woah. Wooahhh that looked good. We only had 3 dollars in cash so we pointed to her board at an item called “Elotas”. She pulled out an ear of corn and we were sold. We love corn. Corn. Corn corn corn. We love it. But listen to what she was doing with it. She took the boiled corn and cut it off the cob into a paper tray. Then she squeezed a lime over it, seasoned it with salt and pepper, tried to slather it in mayo (I said “No no gracias”. I’m not about that mayo life.), sprinkled a healthy amount of chili powder and grated cotija cheese (like Mexican parmesan), and handed it over. We didn’t even make it to the car before we absolutely devoured it. I’ve never been a happier girl than that moment, sitting on the curb next to my sweetie eating some of the most fabulous corn I’ve ever had.
This lasted about oh…. 10 seconds.
Sentimental story aside, we had to recreate this amazing dish. I have to be honest and give all of the credit to John for this recipe. He has become our resident grill master this summer and turned this classic Mexican dish into something we eat as often as possible. The addition of using the grill and smoker box was his brilliant idea and brings a depth of flavor that is so divine. If you don’t have a grill (or smoker box), you can boil the corn or prepare it your favorite way.
Thank you my dear for feeding my strange cravings and looking oh so adorable in the process.
This is our smoker box. It sits perfectly inside the propane grill.
First, be sure to soak the wood chips at least 30 minutes. We like to add hot sauce to the soaking water for even more flavor but you could also add bourbon or other flavors. (Yeah right- Like we are gonna
waste spend precious booze on wood chips. All for the drinking, please.)
You have to soak the corn too, so it doesn’t dry out. Then it’s as easy as grilling! We like to do it husk-off for maximum char/ grill flavor but it works really well with the husks on, too.
Pop a plate over the ears to weigh them down and get an even soak.
Gosh, he’s a cute grill master!
Next, take the corn inside, cut one end off to make a flat end, and cut all of kernels off.
Now it’s seasoning and consuming time! Nom nom!
Good luck getting this dish to the dinner table! I tend to devour it standing at the counter like a paranoid hyena guarding my biggest prey. No one will touch my elotas.
An excellent addition to a summer cookout or a great way to use up all that local corn, this dish is simple and inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine!
- 4 ears corn
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 tsp hot sauce (more or less depending on preference)
- 1 tsp arbol chili powder (more or less depending on preference)
- 2 limes
- 1 T butter (or spray butter)
- Salt and pepper
- Non-stick spray
- Soak corn (and wood chips if using) for 30-60 minutes.
- Spray corn with non-stick spray and grill over indirect heat for 15-25 minutes, rotating frequently.
- Remove corn from grill and cut off one end of ears to make a flat surface.
- Place ear on it's end and use a sharp knife to scrape off all kernels.
- Place corn, cheese, hot sauce, chili powder, butter, and juice of limes in a bowl and toss.
- Divide between four bowls and enjoy!