Grilled Corn on the Cob
Updated Nov 08, 2023
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Grilled corn on the cob is a quintessential BBQ side dish! But the question everyone always asks is… should you grill corn in the husk or without the husk? I’ll answer that question today and share a few tasty serving ideas that scream summertime on a plate.
I’m a sucker for BBQ season. Not only is it a chance to gather with friends and family in gloriously sunny weather, but it’s also a celebration of the best summertime food. That means large bowls of coleslaw, the best finger foods, and the most flavorful grilled recipes — especially corn on the cob.
Grilled corn is such a simple and nostalgic dish. But that first juicy bite always hits the spot. So today, I’ll show you how to master juicy, smoky, perfectly grilled corn on the cob just in time for all your summer festivities.
What You need For Grilled Corn
Technically, you don’t need anything extra. You could just grill the corn as is. But why not go the extra mile to make it that much better. Here’s what I’m using.
- Corn: Fresh ears of corn are best for this recipe
- Oil: If you plan on grilling the corn without the husk.
- Butter: Before serving, a little smear of butter on hot corn is the best.
- Sea Salt & Pepper: A sprinkle of flakey sea salt and ground black pepper elevates the natural sweetness of the corn.
For a Mexican twist, you can make elote! Grilled corn is layered with zesty lime juice, creamy mayo, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lots of cilantro.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
Shopping Tips For The Best Corn
Peak season for corn is between May to September, and your local market should be brimming with boxes of fresh corn. But when you’re picking from the bunch, feel free to peel back the husks a bit to look at the kernels. Keep an eye out for:
- Tight green husks with golden brown tassels (the hairy bit up top). Avoid brown crackly husks and dried out tassels.
- Thick, plump kernels. If they’re missing a lot of kernels, skip those.
Grilled Corn Methods (2 Ways)
There’s really two main ways to grill corn, with the husk on, and with the husk removed (aka naked straight on the grill). Some might say there’s a third method – to remove the husk and then wrap in aluminum foil – but the results are virtually identical to the husk on method. And in the process you waste a whole bunch of foil (an entire roll if you’re grilling a bunch of corn). So I rule that method out. Here are the two best methods to consider:
- Grill with the husk on. This method essentially steams the corn, making the kernels extra plump, tender and juicy, with a slight smoky flavor. The downside of this method is that you also get a bit of a mess when you shuck the charred, blackened husk from the cob.
- Straight on the grill. If you’re all about that smokey, charred flavor and grill markings on your corn, you can add it straight to the grill (with the husks and silks removed). Bonus, it cooks faster! The downside of this method is that your kernels won’t be quite as juicy, but the flavor will be off the charts.
Which method is my favorite? Both are great options, and it really depends on how I’m serving it up. If I plan to chow down directly on the cobb, I might keep the husks on. And if I plan on removing the kernels to use in a salad, dip, or other recipe, I’ll likely grill naked for the best flavor. Honestly, I’d say 80% of the time I choose the latter, because I’m all about more flavor and less mess! But one pro of the first method is if I’m at a party with a community grill, I’ll leave the husk on to avoid gluten-cross contamination (as I’m celiac). The husk is a natural barrier!
How To Grill Corn On The Cob
With the Husk
- Get grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill (no need to soak in water), close the grill, and cook for about 15 minutes, while rotating every 5 minutes or so.
- Remove and shuck the corn: Remove the corn from the grill with tongs, let cool to the touch, the remove the husk and silks.
- Butter them up: Brush on melted butter (or add a pat of butter), and sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
Without the Husk
- Shuck the corn. Prep your corn for grilling by removing the husks and stringy silks. Then, lightly brush the naked corn with avocado oil or another neutral, high-heat oil.
- Get grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the corn directly on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, while rotating every couple of minutes for even char marks.
- Remove and add butter. Remove the corn from the grill with tongs, add some butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
Ways To Serve Grilled Corn
Sweet corn straight off the grill tastes amazing as is. But if there’s room for even bigger flavors, you know I’m all for that! Here’s a few delicious variations to try:
- Chili Lime: Squeeze some lime over your corn then add a dash of paprika or chipotle powder.
- Herbed Butter: Stir in some fresh chopped herbs with your melted butter before brushing on.
- Garlic Parmesan: Mix in minced garlic into your melted butter before brushing onto the corn. Then sprinkle grated parmesan on top.
- Chipotle: Whip up my chipotle sauce to give it a quick drizzle over the corn before eating.
- And if you’ve got some leftover corn, shave it into this delicious corn salad or make creamed corn!
More Tasty BBQ Recipes
Barbecue season is in full swing, which means it’s time to whip up these tasty grilling recipes and crowd pleasing sides! And if you need to build out a full summer menu, take a glance at my lists of Memorial Day Recipes or July 4th recipes!
- Greek Chicken Kabobs
- Vinegar Coleslaw
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Beef Shish Kabobs
- Classic Potato Salad
If you make this grilled corn recipe, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Grilled Corn On The Cob
- 4 ears of corn
- Optional: avocado oil to brush the corn, if grilling without the husk
- Optional: butter, salt and pepper for topping
Without The Husk
- Remove the husks and silks from each corn. Lightly brush the naked corn with avocado oil or another neutral, high-heat oil.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the corn directly on the grill, close the lid, and cook for 10 minutes, rotating every few minutes for an even char.
- Using tongs, remove the corn from the grill and transfer to a plate. Top with a pat of butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
With The Husk
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place your corn on the grill, close the lid, and cook for 15 minutes, while rotating every few minutes. The husk will become blackened.
- Using tongs, remove the corn from the grill and transfer to a plate. Let it cool to the touch before removing the husks and silks.
- Top the corn with a pat of butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
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