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Roasted Corn is Better Than Boiled… And We’ve Got the Science to Prove It

Roasted CornLike any meat maven, the first couple weeks of warm weather have you outside making dinner on your Memphis grill every evening. Before long, spring will turn to summer, and soon we will be up to our ears in fresh sweet corn. While everyone can agree that the best way to eat corn is slathered in butter and salt, some might have differing opinions on how to best make it.

Here at Memphis Wood Fire Grills, we believe sweet corn is best hot off the grill, and we’ve got the science to prove it.

Roasted is Better than Boiled: The Evidence

Have you noticed that the corn made on a grill is more flavorful than corn that is boiled? We noticed too, and set out to get to the bottom of it.

An ear of corn contains a high amount of starch, which is a complex carbohydrate (or polysaccharide) made up of thousands of glucose molecules linked together. Complex carbs in their natural state tend to be lower on the glycemic index than foods containing simple carbohydrates, thus tasting less sweet.

If you bit into a ear of corn before it was cooked, you wouldn’t taste much sweetness at all. This is because the polysaccharides have not been broken down. Cooked corn tastes sweeter because the cooking heat has caused the glucose molecules in the polysaccharide to break down. In a study done by Purdue University, scientists found that roasting corn at high temperatures resulted in an increased amount of starch digestion. In layman’s terms, the higher the temperature the corn reaches, the more glucose will break down, thus resulting in a sweeter ear of corn.

If you boil an ear of corn, the boiling temperature of the water will only reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit before evaporating into steam, meaning the corn will not be exposed to a high enough temperature to break down all those delicious glucose molecules.

If you roast an ear of corn, you’d likely roast it at about 450-500 degrees F, which will provide enough heat to break down more glucose molecules without burning the corn all together. This will give you a deliciously sweet and smoky ear of corn that only roasting can achieve.

Enough science, tell me how to roast my corn!

If your mouth is watering just reading about roasted corn, you’re not alone. Here’s a simple yet delicious way to make corn on your Memphis:

  • Prepare your corn by removing all but the last layer of husk. Do not remove the bottom stem of the ear. This will be used to protect those precious kernels from getting singed and to use as a makeshift handle when eating.
  • Set your Memphis to roast at about 450 degrees F.
  • Place your corn on the Memphis and use tongs to rotate the ears every 5-7 minutes until the internal temperature of the corn has reached 185 degrees F.
  • Allow the corn to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then, using a hot glove, peel back the remaining husk to create a convenient handle to help you eat your corn!
  • Slather with butter and salt and enjoy!