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What is the Best Way to Grill Corn? How to Grill Corn on the Cob Right (2021)

by Outdoor Cooking Pros May 07, 2021

What is the Best Way to Grill Corn? How to Grill Corn on the Cob Right (2021)

It may be 2021, but we still think that CORN ON THE COB is still the perfect side dish.

This expert guide will cover the basics of our favorite grilled corn recipe - from the ingredients down to any questions you might have.

Let's get grilling!

Best Way to Grill Corn

You won't need to run to the grocery store the next time you want to get your corn fix! Our team is sharing with you one of our favorite methods to make grilled corn.

Don't worry because this will be an easy-to-follow recipe guide.

Ungrilled Corn

Things You'll Need For Grilling Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 Ears Fresh Sweet Corn on the Cob
  • 2 Tablespoons Flavored Butter or Plain Butter
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • Olive Oil (Optional)

 Equipment

  • Gas or charcoal grill
  • Kitchen shears
  • Knife

How to Pick Corn for Grilling

Four rules of thumb when choosing the perfect sweet corn:

  1. Always look for ears of corn with golden silk or tassels.
  2. The husks should be bright green and tightly wrapped against the corn on the cob.
  3. The corn should smell sweet.
  4. The corn should be strong and firm.

Grill Corn on Charcoal

Indicators of freshness include dryness and the presence of dark spots on the silk.

If you see any of these on yours, you'll still be able to cook them! Just don't expect the corn to be fresh or particularly sweet.

Remember: your choice of corn matters! The best way to grill corn is to ensure the quality of the main ingredient.

How to Grill Corn

Step 1: Prepare the Hot Grill

  1. Make sure that your grill is not too hot. This will ensure the perfect application of direct heat on your corn on the cob.
  2. Spray the grill grates with a non-stick cooking spray to avoid the sticking of corn husks.

 Step 2: Prepare the Corn

  1. Trim the silk from the top of each ear. Thick silk may cause unwanted fire and make it hard for you to assess your grilling.
  2. Gently peel off the first layer of husks and remove the stalk end using a knife. You may peel off some more to expose the kernels if you want your cob grilled some more.

 Step 3: Grill the Corn for 15 to 20 Minutes

  1. Place corn directly on the grill, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Uncover, turn, and cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Repeat while turning the corn cob at 5-minute intervals for a total grilling time of 15 to 20 minutes.

Grilled Corn on the center

Make sure the husks have visible grill marks on them. Any exposed kernels of your fresh corn should also be charred by then.

Step 4: Cool the Corn

  1. Remove the ears from the grill and cool for 5 minutes
  2. Pull back the husks and silk off of the cob.
  3. Serve with salt, pepper, and your choice of plain butter or flavored husks butter.

You may try coating your cob servings with olive oil instead of the usual salt and butter for a change.

How Long Should You Grill Corn?

We recommend medium heat grilling for about 15 to 20 minutes.

This is the best way to grill corn on the cob and deliver the RIGHT KICK and flavor you're craving for.

The key to even heating is regularly turning over the cobs every 5 minutes or so.

This is to make sure the sides don't char unevenly [1]. You could always cook it longer if you're after a huskier and more charred flavor.

Just MAKE SURE not to overcook it to avoid unnecessary chewiness.

Close look of a grilled corn

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do You Grill the Corn?

As mentioned, we prefer grilling for 15 to 20 minutes.

Other recipes opt for 10 minutes for less charring, while others go up to 30 minutes for a smokier flavor.

If you want less hand in turning your cobs around, then it might be better to look for recipes for which you'd use some aluminum foil to ensure even heating.

You may have to place the corn on the grill pan for longer periods of time but at lower temperatures.

Don't worry because each different recipe will result in the same grilled corn anyway!

Are You Supposed to Boil Corn Before Grilling?

The best way to grill corn is to not boil it before grilling.

Most grilling recipes would say the same too! It might be better to soak the cobs in water instead of boiling them.

How Long Do You Soak Ears of Corn Before Grilling?

Soak in cold water for a minimum of 15 minutes up to 6 hours.

Depending on how fresh the corn is, the time it takes to soak it will vary.

Grilled Corns

Benefits of soaking include:

  • Less husk moisture to prevent burning
  • Juicy and more tender kernels

 The method of soaking is critical if you're grilling them in husks.

How Do You Tell If Grilled Corn Is Done?

Successfully grilled corn should turn to a bright yellow color and look more opaque than before.

Don't be too surprised to see some charred areas and the silk burned away. That's normal if you follow the recipe!

It should also especially feel tender once pierced through with a knife.

Is It Better to Grill Corn With or Without Husk?

It really all depends on what you're going for!

The husk is what's responsible for the natural charring of the corn. It also serves as a protective barrier to preserve the tenderness of the kernels.

Regardless, we're here to summarize the pros and cons of these three options to make things easier:

Grilled Corn with skin

With Husk

  • Requires the least preparation and work
  • Results to the juiciest grilled corn kernels
  • Hard to tell if it's cooked
  • No charring (could be both a pro and a con depending on your taste)

Without Husk, Wrapped in Foil

  • Requires the most preparation and work
  • Juicy corn kernels
  • Less burning with the right level of heat
  • Enough char
  • Husky flavor

Without Husk, On the Pan

  • Direct heat for the corn on the cob
  • Most char
  • Most husky flavor

Our personal choice of method is to make grilled corn without husks directly on the grill. We also think that it's the most compromised recipe among the three possible options.

Conclusion

Grilled corn is a great side dish.

Serve with butter, salt, and a bit of pepper, and you've got yourself the perfect side dish.

There is no one method of cooking corn and our experts think that recipes all depend on your taste. You'll have a great meal at the end of the day regardless of your recipe choice.

Do you have any suggestions on the best way to grill corn?

Outdoor Cooking Pros
Outdoor Cooking Pros


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