Here in Quebec, corn roasts are a summertime tradition, just as famous as our sugar shacks in spring and our apple picking activities in fall! Corn is at its best during the month of August—the kernels are plump, crisp, and sweet! It’s the ideal time to enjoy corn in all its forms: in salads, tacos, soups, salsa, or grilled on the BBQ and slathered in flavoured butter.
Planning a corn roast this summer? Switch things up by putting together a corn on the cob bar! Fire up the grill and prepare a few tasty toppings and succulent sides for your guests to choose from. This summer, given the current context, serve your guests directly to avoid having several different people manipulating the condiments and toppings.
The ABC’s of a successful corn bar
The cooking process
In Quebec, it’s customary to boil corn, but did you know that in most countries, it’s typically grilled? Grilling corn on the BBQ really makes the corn’s flavours pop, on top of adding a gorgeous touch of caramelization.
Taste the difference by following these simple steps:
- Remove the husks and silk
- Rub the corn with a bit of oil or butter (to prevent it from burning)
- Preheat the BBQ to medium and grill the corn over direct heat for a few minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer the cobs to the side of the BBQ that is not lit, close the lid, and let cook over indirect heat for another 15 minutes, or until the kernels are tender when poked.
In Mexico, corn is often enjoyed grilled and topped with mayonnaise, cheese, chili spices, and lime juice. Get inspired by this culinary success and create the perfect corn bar. Consider offering your guests a variety of toppings, including flavoured butter, grilled coconut, fresh herbs, citrus zest, pancetta or bacon chips, powdered spices, and shredded cheese. Serve your garnishes in pretty bowls and let your guests tell you which flavour combos they would like to try. A restaurant-worthy service!
Here are a few winning flavour combos to help get you started:
- Crumbled feta cheese + fresh cilantro + lime zest
- Lemon-flavoured oil + smoked paprika + Tabasco
- Coconut oil + grilled coconut + curry powder
- Half mayo/half plain yogurt + chipotle pepper + lime juice
- Crumbled plain goat cheese + pancetta chips + fresh basil
- Blue cheese + green onions + crumbled bacon
Everything’s better with (flavoured!) butter
Be creative—prepare a variety of explosive flavours! The rule is simple: once your butter has softened, infuse it with fresh herbs, minced garlic, crushed peppers, sundried tomatoes, French shallots, or lemon zest. Next, form the butter into a log using plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm. You can even make a few different logs ahead of time and freeze them.
Here are a few great flavour ideas you’re sure to love:
- Parmesan and basil pesto butter
- Mexican butter
- Lemon, garlic, and fresh thyme butter
- Sundried tomatoes and fresh basil butter
- Bacon and smoked paprika butter
- Curry paste and lime zest butter
- Cheddar and hot mustard butter
Mouth-watering sides: salads and grilled dishes
The corn on the cob may be the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare a selection of delicious sides to round out your menu! Corn roasts are laidback and fun, so stick with that vibe by opting for quick and easy recipes.
Seeing as the BBQ is already fired up and ready to go, why not add a few grilled options to your menu? Think Toscane sausages
by Stefano Faita, sweet side ribs by BBQ Québec
, and other local ready-to-cook options. For a vegetarian alternative, grill up a plate of mild plant-based Italian sausages by Vegeat
—always a real treat!
During the summer months, grocery shelves are lined with a ton of fresh and colourful vegetables! Brighten up your next happy hour with a crudité platter, or round out dinner with a variety of salads. Tomatoes and corn pair nicely together: cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, tomatoes and mangos, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Potato salad is another corn roast classic and can be prepared a thousand different ways. Consider adding arugula, bacon, blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or fresh herbs.
Make local ingredients the star of the show!
Have a few cobs left over at the end of your roast? Great! Cooked or raw, corn is delicious in a wide variety of simple, yet sophisticated, recipes. Here’s a delicious salad idea: toss your leftover corn with some avocado, tomatoes, cold chicken, or legumes for a healthy and hearty summer meal! You can also make a batch of homemade cream corn and freeze it for later. It keeps in the freezer for up to two months and makes the perfect accompaniment to pork chops. You can even use it in your Shepherd’s pie recipe.
Original recipes to make with leftover corn
Quick tips and tricks
- Choosing your corn: First, support local farmers. Second, choose cobs whose husks are bright green and slightly humid. The kernels should be bright and plump, not shrivelled.
- Preserving your corn: Corn is best consumed the day of; it loses some of its sweetness over time. You can store it in the fridge for 2 or 3 days (make sure you don’t remove the husks). If you want to freeze kernels for future use, simply blanche the cobs approximately 4 minutes, then scrape off the kernels, and place in a container or plastic freezer bag.
- Repurposing the husks: Discover this simple, one-of-a-kind vegetarian recipe, perfect for repurposing corn husks. You can also use the husks as grilling packets.
Visit our 100% corn
page to learn more about this proudly Quebec vegetable!