Cooler corn?

JoAnn_FlaMarch 24, 2013

Am I the only person who hasn't heard of "cooler corn"?

(this is not mys story, it was posted on FB)

As an obsessive food nerd, you'd expect that I would have at least heard of it, but over the weekend I was blind-sided by the simple genius of this method for cooking loads of corn on the cob perfectly.
I was hepped to it while visiting my family. Short story: We like corn on the cob. And with eight adults at the table, that means a couple of dozen ears. We would have used the lobster pot to cook them all, but the lobster pot was busy steaming lobster. "Let's do cooler corn!" Before I can ask "what is cooler corn?" a Coleman cooler appears from the garage, is wiped clean, then filled with the shucked ears. Next, two kettles-full of boiling water are poured over the corn and the top closed.
Then nothing. When we sat down to dinner 30 minutes later and opened it, the corn was perfectly cooked. My mind was blown. And I'm told that the corn will remain at the perfect level of doneness for a couple of hours.
Turns out, Cooler Corn is pretty well known among the outdoorsy set But for those of us who avoid tents as much as possible, it's perfect for large barbecues and way less of mess than grilling. In fact, I may even buy another cooler just so I'm ready for next summer. Now that I'm in the know.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've not heard of it, but know that it's gotta work. Might even be a bit over done for me....I like my fresh corn HOT , but not over cooked.

I WILL remember this and give it a try this summer. What a convenience when preparing a meal for a bunch of people!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:30AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

IT will however warp the heck out of your cooler and in a short time make it start to come apart. They are not meant to handle boiling water. I know this because we put boiled crawfish in them to keep them hot not even any water just the cooked crawfish and it will destroy a cooler quickly. Now if it is a solid Styrofoam very thick one it may not but the plastic ones just like in that picture it will warp them, I have a couple of those like the one in the picture and one is warped bad. They have that thin plastic inside then the Styrofoam inner core, it warps that thin plastic and pulls it away from the Styrofoam.
So before you try it make sure you don't care if it ruins your cooler, but yes it does work and yes I have heard of it and have eaten some it was just fine. Some depending on the plastic though will taste plasticy and of course that type of plastic is not made to be heated so hot no idea if it releases anything into the water and corn.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:09AM
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iowagirl2006

That was my question, RC! I thought there was no way that wasn't going to ruin a cooler.

I did try the microwave method. You cook your corn (4 minutes per ear) in the husk. Cut the stalk end off and squeeze out the ear. NO SILKS - the ear comes out clean as a whistle.

I did find that 4 minutes per ear was a bit much if you had several ears in. I think I did 5 minutes for two ears, and that was not bad.

I have some pretty organic sweet corn though - and I really don't relish the thought of microwaving an earworm along with the sweet corn. LOL! Ick!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 1:28PM
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tami_ohio

We had it at a RV rally a few years ago. It was good! I have to remember to try it this summer. If it ruins one of our coolers, I won't worry about it. Most of the time they are only used when I clean out the freezers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:27PM
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marie_ndcal

Wonder how it would work it you put the corn into plastic bags, the type you use for boiling, then use the another container .like a very large kettle either metal or heat resistant plastic that has been put into a lightweight blanket because sometimes even the styrofome coult melt with boiling water. If you are talented in sewing, you could make a pillow case type out of quilted material to put the kettle in. That way it would hold the heat in, but put it someplace no one would get burned. Just my thoughts

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 5:23PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

to me the worry is that plastic is definitely not designed to cook food in or get that hot (it is called a cooler for a reason to keep things cool) so could easily contain BPA and other dangerous materials which can release into the food.

I think it is would work better if you put the corn and boiling water in a large pot then put the pot in the cooler, insuring the food doesn't contact the plastic. I would use my big gumbo pot in the cooler.

I love the microwave corn it is so easy unless you have a lot to do. I usually roast mine in the oven in the husks wrapped in foil, that's our favorite.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:54PM
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susanjf_gw

pal did it for a crowd and and swears by it...

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:31PM
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kacram

yeah, what Raven said. That plastic is going to release nasty chemicals into the water and to the corn.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:46PM
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cynic

I've heard of it but I don't like the idea and don't see much reason for it. Never had the need to even try it. When we're doing for a group that size we always put it on the grill or in a roaster oven or even in a campfire. Much better than boiled corn IMO anyway. And yes, it'll damage the cooler unless you have an old metal one from way back. Might take a couple times to do some big damage to it but if it's cool out and you pop in boiling water, well, you know what will probably happen.

Even my 6 quart Nesco can probably handle 10 or 12 ears of corn, a good sized electric frypan can probably handle the same, so there's a lot of options for making it. This could be a good use for the crockpots that need to be replaced. Even a good sized enameled roaster will hold a lot. Put it in the oven or fill that with boiling water and maybe put the roaster in the cooler.

Buying a cooler for it isn't real cost-effective either. For the cost of a halfway decent cooler, you can buy a 16-22 quart roaster oven. A roaster might even be cheaper, I haven't priced coolers in decades, but roaster ovens can be had for $15-$50 easily and are far preferable for this use and way more functional for other uses. Put some boiling water in the roaster oven or let the roaster heat it and put the corn on the rack, crank up the heat and you'll have steamed to roasted corn quickly. You can also use it to keep the other foods hot.

A lot of people have turkey fryers that they tried one time and relegated to the back of the garage. Perfect use for that.

Corn shouldn't be boiled either, IMO. Far better to steam or roast it. Boiling in a lot of water takes the flavor out quickly. Corn doesn't need "cooking". All it needs is to be heated up. Many people wind up eating their cob corn cold anyway because it loses heat quickly.

It's a cute idea for a novelty thing. But not something I'd take seriously for regular use.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:01PM
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joyfulguy

Corn cobs into a cooking bag ... and I still have some questions about what may leach out ...

... dropped into a large pot of water ...

... which is then put into the cooler ...

... into which you've already placed a nice folded blanket or pillow.

I like corn with a bit of husk left on, cooked in the microwave for a couple or three minutes for first cob, with some extra time for additionals.

ole joyfuelled ... who likes corn, but with only three teeth, in one jaw, needs a heavy knife

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 6:30PM
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