Learning how to grill corn on the cob is a must for any grilling enthusiast. The flavor developed by slightly charred bits of corns wrapped in a smoky, blackened husk can't be replicated by simply boiling corn on the stove top!
My favorite side dish anytime I cookout has to be grilled corn on the cob. It is sweet, smoky, drenched in butter, and dusted with enough salt to melt an icy driveway! What's not to love? The traditional way of boiling corn on the cob on the stove is certainly easy, but it just doesn't pack that same punch of flavor as you get from a delectably charred cob.
If you don't know how to grill corn on the cob, it can be intimidating at first. However, taking a few simple steps can ensure perfectly grilled corn every time!
How to Prepare Corn on the Cob for Grilling
The first thing you need to do is purchase fresh corn still wrapped in it's husk. You can certainly grill naked corn, but it will burn easy and cook slow. Not exactly a recipe for success. The corn's husk will insulate it from the heat to prevent excessive burning and trap moisture to steam the corn, helping it cook. If you must cook naked corn, I recommend wrapping it in foil to simulate the benefits of a husk.
Prior to grilling, peel back the husks about half way and pull out the silk. Don't worry if you don't get every last strand, you just want to get most of it. Pulling back the peel only half way ensures the husk will wrap more tightly when you put it back into place than if you pulled the husk back all of the way.
When grilling corn on the cob you always want to soak it in water for at least 10 minutes. This allows the husk to soak up moisture which will be converted into steam when you grill the corn on the cob. This is why it is important for the husk to wrap semi-tightly around the corn, the trapped steam helps the corn cook more evenly.
Grilled Corn Over Charcoal
If you are grilling over charcoal, pile the hot coals on one side of the grill rather than spreading them evenly across the bottom. This will give you more flexible grilling temperatures to cook with. When you need high heat you can place the food directly over the coals, medium heat would be slightly to the side of the hot coals, and low heat would be on the far side of the grill. If you spread the coals evenly across the bottom you are asking for burnt food since anything you are grilling will have no reprieve from the heat if it is cooking too fast.
I personally use a charcoal kettle grill because I feel the charcoal flavor can't be beat. If you are considering a new grill, I can't recommend Weber grilling products enough. They are exceptionally high quality for both performance and durability. I would also recommend picking up a charcoal chimney starter right away too. They are inexpensive and simple to light, eliminating any need for stinky lighter fluid.
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Grilling Corn on the Cob on Gas Grill
If using a gas grill, simply adjust the flame to a gentle heat that will slowly char the exterior, while giving the corn kernels time to cook. Medium heat should work on most grills but adjust as needed depending on your own grill's performance. You can also place the corn on the upper rack, if available, to keep the corn further from the flames if they are still cooking too fast.
How to Grill Corn on the Cob
Finally when it is time to grill the corn on the cob, lay them over medium heat and cover with the grill lid. Keep the grill covered as much as possible because this traps the heat inside the grill so the corn bakes as it grills. However, you can still grill corn successfully without a cover. Keep turning your corn every 3-5 minutes until the kernels are tender, ~15-20 minutes depending on heat. If you want some kernels to be charred, open up the husks slightly during cooking.
Now you are ready to remove the corn from the grill! Just let them cool till they are easier to handle, remove the charred husks, and serve with plenty of butter and salt! These would be the perfect accompaniment to my BBQ Meatball Kabobs, which are perfect for the grill! Plus, they cook fast enough you can make them while the corn on the cob is cooling!
Corn on the Cob Recipe Ideas
If you want to upgrade the classic corn on the cob side dish, check out these great corn on the cob recipes as well! They all can be modified to cook on the grill!
- Browned Butter Maple Bourbon Corn on the Cob
- Parmesan Garlic Butter Corn on the Cob
- Honey Sriracha Buttered Corn on the Cob
How to Grill Corn on the Cob
- 6 fresh ears of Corn on the Cob
- 6 tbsp Butter
- Pull back husks from corn about half way and remove silk.
- Fold husks back into place and soak in water for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove corn from water and place on a heated grill over medium heat and cover with lid.
- Rotate corn every 3-5 minutes until kernels are tender on all sides. ~15-20 minutes.
- Remove from grill and let cool.
- Remove husks and any remaining silk, top with butter and salt generously.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com June 6, 2016.
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