A new twist on a vegetable staple, plus how to keep your pork tender and delicious
Corn on the cob boiled into starchy compliance served with pork chops cooked to a point of being so well-done, they needed sauce to make them palatable. That was summer barbeque food when I was a kid.
The first time I tasted corn on the cob cooked on a barbeque to a tender crisp, I thought it was a new type of corn. And when I discovered that it was a simple technique of leaving most of the husk on the corn, I was hooked.
And the pork. My mother thought that pork needed to be really well-done to avoid trichinosis. Since I’m writing about food, I won’t tell you all about the appetite-losing details of trichinosis, but essentially, it’s a dangerous parasite that humans can ingest if pork, and some wild meats, are consumed raw or undercooked. But the last case of trichinosis in Canada was nearly 40 years ago because our meat is now regularly inspected. Pork can be cooked in such a way to have it be safe AND delicious.
If southern Alberta corn isn’t available on a roadside stand, lots of grocery store corn on the cob can be good, too. I know that produce managers aren’t that keen on people peeling back the husks, but you just need to open it a bit. You are looking for ears with crisp, developed kernels. Then smell it. If it smells like corn, it will taste like corn.
To prepare, I pull off the outer husks and gently open the remaining husks to reveal the silk. Do your best to remove as much of the silk as you can because it burns on the barbeque, then close the husks over the corn again. Soak them in really cold water while you prep your pork.
This time around, we went with country-style ribs (which is a misnomer as there are no bones in this cut of meat) — they contain white AND dark meat and are full of flavour. We barbeque a lot in our house, so have homemade rubs standing by in our spice cabinet (see below for a great recipe!). Generously season both sides of the meat with the rub and let sit for approximately four hours (or, do this the night before for extra flavour).
Before you cook the pork on the hot barbeque, let it come to room temperature first. Pork is best cooked “low and slow” but on a busy evening, this is a great meal that comes together in about 30 minutes. Sear the pork on both sides on a hot barbeque for two to three minutes each side (flipping once!) and then turn the heat down to medium. Depending upon the thickness of the cut, this will only take 25 minutes altogether. When the temperature has reduced to medium, place the ears of corn directly on the grill for 12–15 minutes. Turn a couple of times.
The pork is done when its internal temperature reaches 145°F, but remember the temperature will continue to rise after removing it from the heat. Easy-peasy. Add whatever salad you are loving at the moment, and supper is ready.
3 tbsp white sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp each of:
• chipotle powder
• garlic powder
• onion powder
• celery salt