Cook bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Scoop out bacon bits with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel.
Add 3/4 cup corn kernels, 1/4 cup chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cover; cook over medium heat, 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until corn is brown, about 7 minutes. Scoop out corn and onion; drain on paper towel.
If pot looks dry, add a little vegetable oil. Add remaining onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Add remaining corn kernels. Stir to coat.
Pour in broth and water. Add 3 corncobs. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 12 minutes. Cool a little. Discard cobs.
Blend soup thoroughly, in batches, if need be. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a clean pot. Discard solids. Reheat soup. Add salt and pepper if you like. Ladle into 4 bowls. Garnish with reserved bacon and browned corn. Enjoy.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at email@example.com.