Have you had a chance to use your grill this summer? You’re going to need it to make this Sichuan style spicy grilled corn. It’ll make your 4th of July grilling party the best grilling party you’ve ever had. It uses 6-ingredients and is both easy and foolproof. It’s also my favorite grilled corn recipe.
There’s a lot of flavored grilled corn recipes out there, such as Cajun, Mexican, basil-parmesan, lime-honey, etc. This Sichuan style, however, is one that stands alone in a class by itself. Not only do I get to enjoy its bold spicy and smoky flavor, but it also brings back some of my childhood memories.
The summer after I finished the 4th grade, my dad took my brother and me to visit his hometown where he grew up. It’s a small village in Sichuan province, China. Sichuan cuisine (aka. Szechuan) is well known throughout the world for its pungent, bold spicy flavors. At that time, my grandma and aunt’s family lived on a farm on which they grew sweet corn during the summer, along with many other things.
No way, were they going to miss out on using this freshly picked corn on the cob for their special treat. They “grilled” them in a homemade stove, after which they sprinkled with their famous spicy Sichuan peppercorn powder and chili powder. I remember how excited we’d get with that pungent aroma in the air. There was lots of jumping up and down and screaming just before getting to sink our teeth into those ears of corn.
This was buried deep in my memory because, as a city girl, this was the first time I got to pick corn from the field. This was also the first time I saw anyone grill food in such a way. There was no gas grill, no charcoal grill, and not even a gas stove in the countryside back in those days.
Back then, the village people typically cooked on a homemade stove in which they burned dried leaves and branches from the farm plants. Grilling a few freshly picked ears of corn in the stove fire while cooking dinner on top was convenient. Typically they threw husked corns directly into the fire, let them cook until they could see the charred leopard pattern on the corn, and sprinkle with Sichuan peppers and salt. The corn would become infused with all the smoky flavors from the burning plants. I’m not sure if eating foods grilled in such a way was healthy or not.
These days, it’s convenient to use a grill.
I have a few tips for you to ensure you’ll be a skilled corn griller, impressing your guests with how well they turn out.
- Brush the husked corn with canola or vegetable oil. Do not use butter, coconut oil, or even vegan butter. The butter will burn quickly and leave an unpleasant flavor.
- After brushing the oil on, sprinkle with salt and spices before putting the ears of corn on the grill.
- Place the seasoned ears of corn on the grill when the grill reaches approximately 600 °
- Maintain grilling temperature between 600 °F and 650 ° If yours doesn’t have a thermometer, use medium-high heat.
- Turn the ears of corn every 2.5 minutes and grill for a total of 10 minutes. The corn should have some leopard pattern at this point.
If you want to make them more appealing, sprinkle on some chopped fresh cilantro or green onion. I cut some of the corn off the cob and made grilled corn black bean salsa. That was absolutely delicious. Stay tuned for the upcoming recipe.
- 4 ears of corn
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili pepper powder or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- optional 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing
- Remove the husks from the corn.
- Mix together the salt, chili pepper powder, and Sichuan peppercorn powder in a small mixing bowl.
- Brush the corn with oil and sprinkle with the salt and spice mix.
- Heat the grill until it’s smoky hot. Approximately 600 °F.
- Place the seasoned ears of corn on the hot grill. Cover the grill and turn the ears of corn every 2.5 minutes. Cook the corn for 10 minutes until charred.
- Remove the cooked ears of corn from the grill. Sprinkle chopped cilantro leaves on top and serve immediately.