A Montana pitmaster shows barbecue isn’t all pork, beef, or poultry.
Corn is an American summer barbecue tradition. Smokers and grill across the country welcome yellow ears at least once a season, all prepared according to the pitmaster’s or grill boss’ tastes. Burke Holmes of the Notorious P.I.G. BBQ in Missoula, Montana, finds inspiration for his recipe south of the border. “This is our version of the Mexican-style street corn known as elote,” Holmes says.
A Missouri native who spent time in his early childhood in Montana and attended the University of Montana before spending six years as a fly-fishing guide in Big Sky Country, Holmes will be one of the featured chefs at this month’s Montana Master Grillers. He may be a Missourian who now calls Montana home and shares his love of American barbecue through his restaurant’s menu — there’s brisket, tri-tip, pastrami, among other smoky delights — and reaches across the Rio Grande for his corn recipe, but he adds another uniquely American touch to this dish: the tangy white barbecue sauce characteristic of Alabama-style ’cue.
Holmes shares the recipe with our readers ahead of Montana Master Grillers and just before summer kicks off in earnest.
Smoked Corn With Alabama White Sauce
16 ears fresh corn
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup apple cider
1 tablespoon jarred horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper, cracked
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven or smoker to 250 degrees.
With the husks still on, wash and smoke the corn for 2 hours or until the kernels are soft.
For the Alabama white sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, cider, horseradish, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Peel the husks back and gently torch the kernels with a kitchen torch. If you don’t own a torch, place corn on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 2 – 4 minutes or until corn is lightly browned, turning frequently.
Drizzle corn with sauce and top with Cotija cheese and cilantro.
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