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South Dakota boasts the world's only Corn Palace, and that says something. We like corn, especially sweet corn. It could be said that "visions of sweet corn dance in our heads."
In our July/August 2008 issue, we wrote about Mark and Jane Moore of Valley Springs who traveled to various fairs and festivals across the state selling sweet corn. Their concessions trailer (called Marc O's) can be found at Jazzfest, Brookings' Summer Arts Festival, Riverboat Days and the State Fair.
|Roasting sweet corn is a summer avocation for Mark and Jane Moore. Mark told us South Dakota sweet corn is the best. "It's so sweet you could sweeten your coffee with it," he said.|
Mark told us that most of his customers are women. "It's probably because they don't have to shuck it or cook it," he says. He might be joking, but he does remember that a young lady ate 14 ears of corn at Yankton's Riverboat Days.
But she couldn't hold a candle to Edward Kottwitz, a Grant County farmer who became South Dakota's own World Corn Eating Champion. He won the title in 1933 by eating 37 ears, one for every year of his life.
Kottwitz defeated 10 other finalists at a Sweet Corn Festival held just across the South Dakota border in Ortonville, Minn. "I probably could have eaten more if I had to," he said. "You see, I had, only a short time before, eaten 10 ears at the free corn dinner and it took the edge off my appetite."
Inspired by the Moores' (and Kottwitz's) love of sweet corn, we tried grilling some here at the office. On the first attempt, we placed the corn directly on the grill, just like it came from the field, husks and all. Unfortunately, most of the kernels burned. We tried it again. Here is the technique we used with more success.
Grilling Sweet Corn
1. Peel back the outer layer of husks, but leave them attached at the base of the ear.
2. Remove the silk and the inner layers of husk.
3. Rinse the ear of corn well in cold water.
4. Fold the remaining husks back over the corn.
5. Soak the ears of corn well in cold water.
6. Spread plain or seasoned butter over the corn kernels, under the husk. (Optional).
7. Grill over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally.
8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove husks. Enjoy!