When in season, there is nothing more amazing than fresh grilled corn on the cob. For the best grilled corn you need to grill it in the husk. That provides the right balance of sweet and tender bites with that distinct grilled crunch and smoky flavor. It’s the perfect side dish to your grilled foods.
- Grilling corn with husks on prevent it from scorching and is the best way for tender flavor.
- Soaking will help keep a tender flavor when grilling over high heat and is the easiest method for tender kernels.
- The compound butter complements the corn flavor.
- Use this corn recipe for corn tacos or a corn salad by simply cutting the kernels off of the corn cobs.
Our go-to corn is seasonally fresh yellow corn in the husk. This recipe will work with any corn variety from sweet yellow corn, to the heirloom versions. When buying fresh corn:
- Find the freshest corn as whole cobs you can that is firm to the touch from a farmers market or your grocery store.
- Avoid if the outer husks is brown or missing.
- The tips of the corn should have the kernels.
The important part for grilled corn is to keep a good amount of the husk on. If you can’t find corn in the husk you can wrap the corn in aluminum foil.
First Step: Preparation
- Get the grill started using a two-zone method of grilling targeting 450 degrees F over direct heat. Or medium heat on your gas grill.
- Start by gently pulling back and opening the corn husks, but not completely removing them.
- Remove the silks from the husk and in between the kernels.
- Carefully rewrap the corn husks around the ear of corn.
- Soak the ears of corn in cold water for 20 minutes. We typically do this while our grill is heating up.
Soaking the corn does two things. First, it soaks the husk and minimizes the husks bursting into flame while over direct heat. The second, is the corn steams as it soaks in a little water and retains moisture while it grills.
After 20 minutes of soaking, remove the corn from the water and place on a paper towel or sheet pan. Carefully open the husks, pat dry the corn, and then season with extra virgin olive oil. Rewrap the corn and get ready to grill.
- Optional: If you like more of the Mexican Street Corn flavor you can dust some chili powder on the corn kernels before you re-wrap them.
Add an herb compound butter for additional flavor after it’s off the grill or squirt some fresh lime juice (we don’t recommend both).
The most effective method when grilling corn is to grill with the husks on over direct heat. Having two zone grilling allows to easily cook the corn and move to indirect heat if there are any flare ups from the husks catching on fire.
- Place corn over direct heat, wrapped in husks. Grill for five minutes.
- After five minutes there should be some grill marks on the husk, rotate the corn a quarter turn and continue grilling 5 minutes.
- Repeat the quarter turn two more times so all sides of the corn husks have grill marks.
- Remove from the grill and add an herb compound butter.
Optional: If you want grill marks on the corn, pull back the husks and then grill each side for 1 – 2 minutes tops after you have grilled on the husk.
Chef’s Note: Husks can dry out. It’s a nice option to have a spray bottle of water in case the husks catch fire. If they do, simply spray with a mist of water.
A compound butter is room temperature butter in which you have added herbs, spices, and other ingredients mixed together in the butter. Adding butter to the grilled corn on the cob really complements the flavor of the sweet corn. Follow our compound butter guide and recipe for more details.
Plan 1 tablespoon of compound butter per ear of corn.
Grilled Corn on the Cob is best served warm. So time cooking this so it’s ready to go with the main dishes. After removing from the grill with a good pair of long tongs, open the husks, and add 1 tablespoon of compound butter. Sprinkle some freshly shaved parmesan cheese and parsley for color.
If all you have is corn without the husks (I am talking to you Costco), then soak as mentioned and then wrap in tin foil. Grill as directed above. This gives a nice char, and then finishes the corn indirect until soft but not burnt.
Grilled Corn also makes an incredible ingredient to any dish from salads, to salsas. Consider adding grilled corn on the cob to your next favorite dish. Just use a sharp chef’s knife to remove the kernels from the cob.
- Brisket Chili with corn
- Skillet Cornbread – just add chunks of grilled corn
- Fish Tacos
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos and Lime Crema
- Chicken Tacos on the Grill
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
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