Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob

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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.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

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.

Updated from the recipe archive. First posted 2007.

Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob Recipe

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  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 ears fresh corn, in their husks
  • Butter (or an herb butter) for serving

Method

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.

grilled-corn-on-the-cob-method-600-1 grilled-corn-on-the-cob-method-600-2

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.)

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Links:

Mexican corn on the cob with cayenne, mayo, lime, and cotija cheese, from Lisa of Homesick Texan

Mexican Street Corn Nachos here on Simply Recipes

Corn on the cob with basil butter from Stephen Cooks

Mexican street corn from Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Showing 4 of 75 Comments

  • Yancie Beeson

    This is how we do our corn on the grill, except we pull back the husk and put some butter in each before cooking. Delicious!

  • Sareyna

    I wrap them in foil and cook them on the grill in the husk. After cooked if you cut the end off the husk slides right off

  • Mark

    I am content (happy) with boiled corn with butter and salt. There are two key things to remember…don’t boil the corn too long and get the freshest corn possible.
    If my memory serves me correctly, I boil for only 5 minutes, no more. If you happen to live close to a farm, ask if they will let you pick your own. Corn starts “going bad” the minute you pick it. You want to consume the corn within 24 hours at least. If you can pick it in the morning and have it on your table in the afternoon, that’s ideal. As soon as you pick corn, the sugars start converting into starch.

    After a week of sitting around, the corn will have lost most all of its fresh flavor. At that point, you’re better off buying frozen corn on the cob.

    I prefer to boil corn rather than grill it. MHO.

  • Lisa Brahm

    Nothing says summer then that first ear of ROASTED corn on the cob. Grilled golden bown till its just shy of kernels burning. BEFORE you butter & season corn, here’s a Holding Tip For little (or even for big) fingers: while using a hot pad to hold the corn, remove husks, spear end of corn with a metal shish kabobs skewer leaving enough of the ends to easily hold onto (Guy Fieri’s skewers works the best because of its handle-like end)! ENJOY

  • Ed Gray

    I have found a nice way to serve corn on the cob off the grill for that outdoor BBQ. Cook your corn in the husk till done on the grill. carefully remove the corn from grill, pull the husks back all the way around (or a napkin wrap works well), band the husks as a handle, brush or dip in butter with a bit of salt and pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon. This gives a nice way to hold the corn and the husks fold back very easy. A tip,,,,,when you get your corn, ask the grocer for some with longer stalks. Kitchen gloves to handle the hot corn is a nice idea and a spritz of water for the corn while cooking is nice when you turn your ears and remember if you want a little more smokey flavor, pull back a bit of the husks while cooking so the smoke can get to some of the kernels. You can hold the corn by the folded back husk and eat it with one hand.

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