(It’s corn season! From the recipe archive. First posted 2007.)
The first time I tried grilling corn-on-the-cob, by placing shucked corn directly on the grill, the results weren’t all that stellar. Too dried out and chewy. I consulted “She-who-knows-everything-when-it-comes-to-home-cooking” (a.k.a. mom) who informed me that the best way to grill corn is to cook the corn in their husks, directly on a hot grill.
The husks protect the corn from getting dried out and the corn essentially steams in its own moisture while getting infused with smoky flavor from the charring corn husks. It’s also so easy! No need to even break off the silks. Just place the corn, as is, in husks, on a hot grill.
Many people call for soaking the corn in water first. There’s no need if you are working with fresh corn to begin with. Some techniques also have you pull back the husks, take out the silks, and then put the husks back over the corn before grilling. I’ve tried that. It does make it easier after the corn is done when removing the husks. But I find the corn more easily dries out this way, and the best way for juicy grilled corn is to not mess with the husks.
If you want some grill marks (as shown in the photos), you can pull off a few of the outer husk leaves, leaving less of a barrier between the outer leaves and the corn, for more the charring to reach the corn.
- 4 ears fresh corn, in their husks
- Butter (or an herb butter) for serving
1 Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F. (You know the grill is hot enough if are able to hold your hand one inch above the grill for only 1 second.)
2 The corn husks will protect the corn from burning or drying out while it is on the hot grill. If you want a bit of char on your corn, peel off a few of the outer layers of the corn husks first, before grilling.
Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover the grill. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are completely blackened and charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3 Remove the corn from the grill. Let them sit for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove the silks and charred husks from the corn. If you need to, use a damp towel to protect your hands from any sharp edges from the charred corn husks as you peel them off.
Serve with butter. (Or you can sprinkle with a little chili powder, cotija cheese, and some lime juice for a Mexican twist.)