This Mexican Street Corn is an easy and flavorful way to transform an ear of corn into something truly scrumptious – just in time for Labor Day!
Labor Day is a holiday that is often overlooked as a significant holiday, but there truly is much to celebrate on the first Monday in September each year. Labor Day was created to honor and celebrate the works and contributions of the American worker. America depends on the works of its citizens to be the great country that it is, and having a day to recognize not only the present day workers, but the hard work and sweat other Americans have put in before us to make our nation great is absolutely a day worth celebrating. Instead of cramming in a bunch of activities or knocking things off of our to-do lists, my family tries to relax and enjoy our time by firing up the grill, fixing up some of our favorite foods and fellowshipping with one another.
Corn on the cob is a summertime staple in our house. Each year we plant a small crop of corn to fill our freezer, and preparing it on the grill is one of our favorite ways to enjoy it during the warmer months. When I was in the FFA during high school, one of the first things we learned was that corn is the only crop grown in all 50 states. If you look closely at the FFA emblem, you’ll notice that it’s actually a cross section of corn, symbolizing the unity of all 50 states through agriculture. Each time I sink my teeth into a juicy ear of corn, I think about the American farmer and the agricultural workers. Labor Day is the perfect time to tip our hats to the farmer who labors endlessly to supply the food on our tables, and if you’re firing up the grill this Labor Day weekend, I encourage you to take a moment and surround yourself with gratitude as you enjoy the foods you eat.
While you can never go wrong with boiled corn, a pad of butter and a little salt, sometimes I love to really spruce it up and serve it street-style. Mexican street corn is typically served smothered with a creamy mayonnaise/sour cream based sauce with spices and fresh cilantro. It’s certainly different from the traditional way I grew up eating corn, but it’s colorful and vibrant flavors always leave me coming back for seconds and thirds!
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- 5-6 ears corn
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese (feta also works great with this recipe)
- 1 tsp Tajin spice (you can also use chili powder)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly minced garlic
- 1 Tbs diced pickled jalapenos (fresh works great as well)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro + extra for garnish
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 small lime
- Preheat grill to medium heat
- Pull outer husks on ears of corn down to the base of the corn and remove the silks the best you can
- Fold husks back over corn and submerge in a large bowl of water for 8-10 minutes
- Remove corn from water and shake off excess water. Place corn directly on grill and grill for about 15-20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes or so
- During the last 5 minutes of grilling, add halved or quartered red onion and lime halves to the grill
- While corn is grilling, add mayonnaise, sour cream, cotija cheese, garlic, spices, jalapenos and cilantro into a blender and blend until smooth
- Remove corn from grill and peel back husks
- Add a little butter to the corn, then spoon cilantro lime sauce on top
- Garnish with diced grilled onion, fresh cilantro, extra cotija cheese and a squeeze of lime juice
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When making Mexican Street Corn, we place the corn directly onto the grill in the husk. This way, it prevents the kernels from directly touching the grill and gives the corn a sort of steamed effect. To prepare corn this way, you’ll want to first pull the outer husks down to the base of the corn and remove the silks the best you can. Fold the husks back over the corn and submerge the ears of corn in a large bowl of water for 8-10 minutes. This will really help pull moisture into the corn to create perfectly juicy kernels. Remove the corn from the water and shake off any excess water. Place the corn directly on the grill (heated to a medium heat) and grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes or so. With just a few minutes remaining in the grill time, add half a red onion and a lime cut in half to cook on the grill.
Next – the creamy cilantro sauce! This is quite possibly my favorite part of this recipe. I’m always reaching for one more spoonful of this sauce to spread on my corn, and you can easily adjust the spice level to suit your own tastes. In a blender, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cotija cheese, garlic, spices, jalapenos and cilantro. I prefer to blend this mixture until mostly smooth and all cilantro has broken down, but you can leave it a little chunky if you prefer.
When the corn comes off of the grill, peel back the husks and spoon a helping of the creamy cilantro sauce on top. I like to dice up the grilled onion and sprinkle that over my corn, as well as add some extra crumbled cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. I then squeeze the lime over the ears of corn before devouring it.
If you’re kicking back this labor day weekend and plan on firing up the grill, give this Mexican Street corn recipe a try! It’s a delicious way to spruce up corn on the cob, and it also supports some of the most important laborers our great country has – the American farmer. Happy Labor Day!