Something magical happens to food prepared in a smoker that cannot be replicated with any other cooking device. Smoked Butter Parmesan Corn is evidence of that! Fresh corn is slow smoked with apple wood and coated with melted butter, grated parmesan, black pepper, and an optional dusting of cayenne!
Back in April, I bought a smoker. I have been dying to use it, but mother nature has been messing with my timing. I swear, Dear Reader, every time I wanted to break in the smoker, it would rain. Finally, after verifying with my phone’s weather app that two consecutive days of sun was on the way, it was time. I used the first day to season the smoker. Then next morning, I prepared Barbecued Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends and this Smoked Butter Parmesan Corn!
Lord Byron’s Kitchen is no stranger to recipes prepared with corn, but this is the first one using a smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, I cannot possibly fathom how you can achieve the deep apple wood smoke flavour in any other way. So, if you still want a delicious corn recipe, why not try my Skillet Confetti Corn or my Stovetop Cream Cheese Corn? Both of those are my favourite ways to prepare corn without a smoker.
Now, if you’re already very familiar with using a smoker, you can scroll right on down the page to the recipe. However, if you’re new to it, or just need a little bit of know-how, read on, Dear Reader! It’s not complicated at all, but there is a process that you should follow.
WHAT TYPE OF CORN SHOULD I USE?
There are quite a few varieties of corn that are consumed by people all around the world, but in my opinion, the most delicious type of corn is a variety called Peaches and Cream. This type of corn is a bicolor hybrid with white and yellow kernels which provide two different flavors in each bite. With a name like Peaches and Cream, you know it has to be good! It is a sugary-enhanced corn, which means it matures slightly earlier than standard varieties. Sugary-enhanced sweet corn also can store longer in cold storage.
Do you have to use Peaches and Cream corn? No. You can use whatever you usually buy or grow. Any corn on the cob variety will do. I only recommend the Peaches and Cream corn because the extra sweetness of it stands up well to the strong flavours of the smoke. The apple wood chips pair very well with it as well.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Corn – This recipe is prepared for 4 ears of corn. You can easily double it, triple it, or even halve it! Remove all of the husk and the silk.
- Olive Oil – This is rubbed onto the corn before it goes into the smoker. It will prevent sticking and will keep the corn moist.
- Salt – Try not to use regular table salt; use sea salt instead. It has much better flavour.
- Ground Black Pepper – You will need quite a bit of this – corn loves pepper!
- Cayenne Pepper – Of course this adds heat and spice, so it’s optional. I also love the colour contrast of the orange on the yellow!
- Butter – Use for flavour, it also adds a beautiful shine to the corn, and helps the parmesan and seasonings to stick.
- Parmesan Cheese – Use a really good parmesan, preferably one that you grate yourself.
SETTING UP YOUR SMOKER
At this point, I will trust that your smoker is already seasoned. If not, please follow the steps found inside your smoker’s manual. If you have already seasoned and/or used your smoker, then you’re ready to go! Here’s how to get your smoker ready to take on this Smoked Butter Parmesan Corn recipe.
Be sure that your smoker’s grilling rack is clean. Remove the charcoal chamber and charcoal grate from the smoker. If the smoker has been previously used, discard any remaining debris or used charcoal ashes. Fill the charcoal chamber with standard, untreated briquettes or lump charcoal. Saturate the charcoal with smoker-approved lighter fluid. Allow the charcoal to soak in the lighter fluid for a few minutes.
Carefully lift the charcoal chamber and grate back into the smoker. Again, following your smoker’s safety guidelines, light the charcoal. Allow the charcoal to burn until covered with a light ash – about 5 minutes. Close the door and ensure that the smoke stack and vents are open to allow air flow. In 20 minutes, you can add the woodchips to your smoker.
For this particular recipe, you can add pre-soaked woodchips which have been wrapped in aluminum foil to the smoker. Or, you can add dry woodchips directly onto the coals, which is what I did. I added two cups of apple wood. Finally, insert the water bowl/grease drip catch bowl if your smoker has one.
HOW TO SMOKE YOUR CORN
Here comes the fun part! Well, as fun as it can get when it comes to smoking corn! Load up the smoker with the corn. It should be placed on the highest rack. Close the smoker and smoke the corn for 30 minutes while maintaining a temperature of 250 degrees F.
Depending on your smoker, this could be easy or hard to manage. The basic rule is this – charcoal coals need air to burn or smolder. To increase the temperature of your smoker, fully open the smoke stack and vent. Once the temperature reaches 250 degrees F, you will need to partially close them. Preventing air flow will cause the burning to calm.
The temperature of a smoker is not instant. It’s not like turning the faucet in your shower to get hotter or cooler water almost instantly. It can take up to twenty minutes for a smoker to drop or increase its cooking temperature. It’s a good idea to pay close attention for the first thirty minutes or so. Once you get the temperature regulated, you can leave it unattended.
After the 30 minute mark, use tongs to remove your corn from the smoker. Transfer them to a plate. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and use a pastry brush to ensure each corn cob is completely brushed with the oil. Return the corn to smoker for 20 more minutes. Remove from smoker and dress up the smoked corn as per the recipe card below!
In Lord Byron’s house, corn on the cob is most always served with a BBQ. So prepare your favourite steak, chop, hot dog or burger. And, serve that with the corn and a few sides. Any typical side will do, such as coleslaw, macaroni salad, and potato salad. The problem is, I have so many variations of those three items, sometimes it’s hard to choose! But, for you, I will narrow it down.
Make yourself a good coleslaw. I love my homestyle coleslaw. It’s creamy and probably the most common. But, if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try my Jalapeno Buttermilk Ranch Coleslaw? It can certainly stand up to the strong flavours of the Smoked Butter Parmesan Corn ! Next, you need a pasta salad. I have this classic pasta salad, this cheesy version of a macaroni salad, and finally, this delicious Coleslaw Pasta Salad. That’s right, it combines a coleslaw and a pasta salad all in one!
I grew up eating this potato salad every Sunday for dinner. I’m now in my 40s and I still have not tired of it! Vegetable Potato Salad is not your every day potato salad, but there’s also nothing special about it either. It is inspired by my Newfoundland heritage, and I’m sure you will love it just as much as I do!
Smoked Butter Parmesan Corn
- 4 ears corn, remove and discard the husk and silk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- chopped parsley for garnish
- Place the corn onto a plate and brush with one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Preheat smoker according to manufacturer's guidelines. Preheat to 250 degrees F.
- Once the smoker is thoroughly heated, add 2 cups of apple woodchips directly onto the charcoal. If you prefer, you can pre-soak the woodchips in water for 30 minutes. Drain and wrap well in aluminum foil. Poke holes into the top of the foil packet and place the packet onto the coals.
- Place the corn onto the top rack in your smoker. Close the smoker and smoke the corn for 30 minutes while maintaining a temperature of 250 degrees F.
- Use tongs to remove your corn from the smoker. Transfer them to an aluminum plate. Brush the corn with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season the corn with the salt and half the ground black pepper.
- Return to smoker for 15 minutes.
- Once done, place corn onto a platter. While it's still hot, brush over the butter and sprinkle over the remaining black pepper, the parmesan, and the cayenne pepper, if using. Garnish and serve immediately.