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How to Grill Corn on the Cob

Four Methods:In the HuskIn Aluminum Foil"Naked" Grilled CornFlavored Butter Recipes

Grilled corn is the perfect summer side dish. It is cheap, easy to prepare, and tastes fantastic. There are three common ways to grill corn, but the easiest method just leaves the husk on to trap heat and moisture.

Method 1
In the Husk

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    Choose your corn wisely. Look for the freshest, most barely-ripe corn available, preferably at a farmer's market. Choose bright green husks, tightly attached to the ear. The stalks should be a light yellow and the ends of the silks a light brown. While you are at the market, don't be afraid to peel back the husks just enough to reveal a few rows of kernels. They should be white or pale yellow, look nice and plump and be tightly packed into straight rows from one end of the cob to the other.[1]
    • Fresh, young corn is full of natural sugars which will caramelize beautifully over the heat of the grill. As the corn ages, these turn into much less flavorful starches.[2]
    • If the ear has an unusually thick layer of husks, remove the outermost two or three before you continue.[3]
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    Preheat your grill. Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat, about 350–400 °F (177–204 °C). For a coal grill, arrange coals in an even layer and heat until grey.[4]
    • The best way to heat a gas grill is to fire it up on high, then lower it to the desired temperature. This ensures a hot rack.
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    Soak the corn (optional). At this point, you may soak the ears of corn in cold water to increase juiciness and reduce the amount the husk burns.[5] Submerge the ears completely, soak for about 15 minutes, then shake off excess moisture.
    • If you hate the smell of burned corn husk, soak for 30–60 minutes instead. (Many people do not mind this smell, or even enjoy it.)
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    Add butter and flavoring (optional). There's no real flavor difference between adding spices now, versus waiting until it's cooked.[6] If you go with the first option, peel back the husks just enough to expose the kernels. Brush on olive oil or room-temperature butter with a pastry brush, and season with salt, pepper, and/or savory herbs (or try these fancy options). Pull the loose husks back up over the kernels.[7]
    • Tear off the silk and discard it just before seasoning.
    • Don't melt the butter first. This can make it more difficult for herbs to stick.[8]
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    Grill the corn. Tie a piece of string or loose husk over the tip of the husk to keep it on the corn. Place the corn on a lightly oiled grill rack, either just above the coals for a shorter cooking time, or high above the coals to lower the risk of charring.[9] Close the grill and cook for about 15–20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. Check the corn ready when the husks start to get kernel-shaped char marks and pull away from the tip.[10] If the kernels don't feel tender when poked with a fork, it's fine to leave the corn on until the husk chars black.
    • Be careful not to overcook your corn or it will become soft and mushy. If you can flex the corncob easily in your hands, it is probably overcooked.[11]
    • You can cook corn directly on the coals instead. In this case, the corn will be ready when the husk is completely charred.[12] Check frequently to avoid burning.
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    Serve. Using a pair of tongs or an oven mitt, remove the corn from the heat. Cover both hands with oven mitts or a dishtowel, and peel back the husks from the tip down. Serve the corn while it's still hot.
    • Be careful. The corn inside the husk will be extremely hot.
    • If you didn't season the corn in advance, serve alongside butter, salt, and pepper.
    • If any ashes get on the corn, just rinse them off in warm water.

Method 2
In Aluminum Foil

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    Follow this recipe for large portions. The aluminum foil will keep the corn hot for a long time. If you're grilling for a large party, grill foil-wrapped corn first, then leave them wrapped while you finish the rest of your cooking.
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    Soak the corn (optional). Some cooks like to soak their corn before grilling. If you choose to soak your corn, completely immerse the whole corn cobs in a pot or bowl of cold water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the corn kernels to soak up additional moisture, making them plump and juicy. Once they've finished soaking, pat off excess moisture with a paper towel.
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    Shuck the corn. Starting at the top, strip all the husks and silks away from the ears of corn and discard them. If there's any dirt on the kernels, rinse it off.
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    Preheat the grill. Preheat your barbecue grill to a medium high heat, about 350–400 °F (177–204 °C).
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    Prepare the corn for grilling. Brush the kernels with butter or olive oil and season with salt and pepper, or these gourmet options. Roll each corn cob in a square of aluminum foil, twisting the ends to secure, like a candy wrapper.
    • If you prefer, you can wait on the butter and herbs until the corn is cooked.
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    Grill the corn. Place each aluminum-wrapped ear of corn on the preheated grill/ Cover and allow to cook for approximately 15-20 minutes. Turn occasionally, using a kitchen tongs, to prevent the corn from charring on one side.
    • You can test if the corn is done by piercing a kernel with a fork. It should feel tender and shoot out clear liquid.
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    Serve. Remove the corn from the grill using oven gloves or tongs. Carefully remove the aluminum foil; it will be very hot! Serve the corn immediately.

Method 3
"Naked" Grilled Corn

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    Follow this recipe for a smoky flavor. Corn grilled without a wrapper will never be as juicy as the other options, and there's a risk of charring it into oblivion. When done correctly, however, the kernels will pick up plenty of flavor from the grill, caramelizing into smoky sweetness.
    • This is also the fastest method of grilling corn.
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    Heat the grill to medium-hot. A medium temperature is the best option for your first attempt. Once you've got a feel for how the corn should end up, you can fire it up to very high heat for a quicker grill.
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    Shuck the corn. Strip away the husks and silk. The silk will burn off on the grill, so you don't need to get every strand.[13]
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    Grill until golden brown spots appear. Place the corn on an upper rack if you have one, to prevent charring. Keep a close eye on the corn, turning occasionally. The kernels will brighten in color, then turn brown as they caramelize. The corn is ready when there are many light brown spots, but most of the corn is still yellow.[14]

Method 4
Flavored Butter Recipes

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    BBQ butter. For a delicious variation on regular butter, try making this BBQ butter to serve alongside your grilled corn. It will give an extra kick of flavor to your perfectly grilled corn and is sure to impress your guests. You will need:[15]
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Add the oil to a medium-sized pan and heat on high. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add all the spices to the pan and stir to combine. Add the water to the pan and continue cooking for a minute or two until the mixture thickens. Take the pan off the heat.
    • Blend the butter, Worcestershire sauce and spice mix in a food processor until combined. Add the salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the flavors to develop. Remove from the fridge ten minutes before serving.
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    Lime mayonnaise butter. This lime mayonnaise butter will add a zesty twist to your grilled corn and is sure to leave your family and friends clamoring for more. You will need:[16]
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 lime, zested
    • Lime wedges, for serving
    • In a bowl or food processor, combine the butter, mayonnaise, onion powder, and lime zest. Place in a small bowl and leave to chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
    • When the corn is cooked, generously brush on the flavored butter and serve with a wedge of lime.
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    Herb butter: An herb butter is another great way to liven up grilled corn, and is so easy to make. You simply blend all on the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, place in a small bowl and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Here are the ingredients:[17]
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives or tarragon
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
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    Garlic chive butter. Garlic and butter are perfect companions, especially when it comes to grilled corn. Simply mash these few simple ingredients together in a small bowl until completely blended, and then brush onto hot corn for a more side dish. Here are the ingredients:
    • 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped chives
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt


  • If removing the silk is too fiddly, just snip off most of it with a pair of scissors.
  • Consider growing your own corn, for the freshest, tastiest corn available!


  • Grilled corn gets extremely hot. Don't try to unwrap the corn too soon, or you will burn your fingers. Try running the corn under warm water to cool it down slightly.
  • Do not soak your corn in salt water or sugar water. This will make the corn tough and dry.[18]

Things You'll Need

  • Grill
  • Aluminum foil
  • Large bowl
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitt

Article Info

Categories: Barbecue | Maize