How to Grill Corn

Say bye-bye to burnt kernels and dried-out cobs — follow these tips for perfect grilled corn.

April 21, 2022

Freshly picked corn on the cob is a summertime treat--and it's even better grilled. Luckily the best way to grill corn is also the easiest way. We'll show you how to do it without burning or drying it out. And if you want a reminder on how to boil corn, head over to our story How to Boil Corn on the Cob.

Prepare Your Grill

First, prepare the grill. For corn, we're aiming for hot, direct heat. For a charcoal grill, spread the hot coals under the area where the corn will be placed. For gas, turn the burners to high. Cover and preheat for about 15 minutes.

How to Grill Corn with a Husk

Perfectly Grilled Corn on the Cob

Find out the secret to Bobby Flay's Perfectly Grilled Corn on the Cob recipe from Food Network, a summer side served with homemade herb and barbecue butters.

This technique is easy as can be - the husks peel off more easily after they've been grilled. It makes for moist, juicy kernels with a smoky flavor - and minimal charring.

1. Should You Soak Corn Before Grilling?

You may have heard that corn should be soaked in water before grilling—but it really depends on the corn. If the husks are bright green and tightly wrapped, your corn is fresh and can be grilled with no additional steps. Don't shuck it or peel back the husks—the corn silk does not need to be removed before grilling.

If the husks are dry, peeling or turning yellow, the corn will need a soak first. Soak the whole, un-shucked ears in warm water for 10 minutes before proceeding. This helps rehydrate the husks and keeps the corn from drying out and burning on the grill.

2. Grill the Corn Until the Husks Blacken All Over

After preheating, place the ears directly on the hot grill. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs. The husks will blacken and char all over, but the kernels will be stay protected while they steam inside. Meanwhile, a delicious smokiness infuses the tender, sweet corn. If you like more char on the kernels, you can peel off a few of the outer layers before grilling.

3. Remove the Ears from the Grill and Clean Them

When the cobs are charred all over, remove them from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes until cool enough to handle. To check for doneness, carefully peel back the husk and press down on the corn. It should feel hot and tender. Pull away the charred husks and silk from the corn.

How to Grill Corn without a Husk

If you bought corn that was already shucked, it's possible to grill it directly on the grill.

1. Mimic the Husk with Aluminum Foil

If you'd like to replicate the corn husk, tightly wrap each cob in aluminum foil before placing on the grill. The foil will steam the kernels, much like the husk does, making for tender, juicy results. Place the foil-wrapped ears directly on the grill, cover the grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs.

2. Or Place the Bare Ears on the Grill

For charred corn, you can brush the kernels with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Then place the ears on the grill, cover the grill, and cook until evenly charred, rotating with tongs occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Serve Grilled Corn

While the corn is still hot, brush each cob with butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. But you don't have to stop there--try some of the below flavor combinations. And for even more serving ideas, head over to our story Reinvented: Corn on the Cob 5 Ways.

  • Butter, chile powder, cotija cheese, cilantro and a squeeze of lime
  • Butter, Parmesan and parsley
  • Butter, honey and chipotle powder

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