How Should I Grill Corn? (with pictures)

Zari Ballard
Zari Ballard
Cilantro can be used to flavor grilled corn.
Cilantro can be used to flavor grilled corn.

Learn how to grill corn and you will always have the perfect side dish to all the scrumptious meats at a barbeque. There are several different ways to grill corn and each is simple and delicious. In addition, a plate filled with grilled corn-on-the-cob always draws attention at the table because it simply looks and smells as great as it tastes.

When choosing corn cobs, always peek underneath the husk to make sure the corn kernels are nicely colored and all in one piece. To prepare to grill corn, soak the cobs in water, with husks intact, for about fifteen minutes. Soaking adds moisture to the cob and helps to steam the kernels once you’ve placed them on the grill.

Chili powder is often sprinkled on grilled corn.
Chili powder is often sprinkled on grilled corn.

While the cobs soak, preheat your grill to a medium high heat of 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If you are using charcoal, light up the coals. When the coals turn grey, arrange them in an even layer under the grate. Always grill corn on a good-sized grill so that you can grill many cobs at once.

After fifteen minutes, remove the soaking corn and shake off the excess water. Pull back the husks to the end of the cob but do not remove them. If the corn cobs happen to have thick husk layers, pull off the very top pieces but leave a good layer on the cob for protection. Next, remove the silk pieces that cover the kernels.

An ear of corn.
An ear of corn.

What happens next depends entirely upon your taste buds. Some people brush olive oil on the cob before rewrapping with the husks and leave the seasoning for later. Others brush with the olive oil and add salt or other spices. Another tasty option is to spread soft butter up and down the cob before sprinkling with spices and rewrapping. Be creative with your spices. Seasoning salt, curry powder, nutmeg, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, garlic, chopped onion, basil, cilantro, and oregano are just a sprinkling of what you can use and it all tastes great when you grill corn.

Olive oil, which can be used to brush corn before grilling.
Olive oil, which can be used to brush corn before grilling.

After buttering or oiling and sprinkling on the spice, pull the husks back over to cover the cob and tie at the top with string or twine. Place the corn directly on the grill and let the corn grill for about fifteen to twenty minutes, turning frequently. Another option is to wrap the whole cob and husk in aluminum foil before placing on the grill. This option will keep the kernels tender but the end result lacks the luscious smoky flavor that comes from grilling on the husks.

When the husks look nice and grilled, poke a kernel. If a sweet liquid squirts out, the corn is done. Peel back the husks, butter and spice again, and enjoy!

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    • Cilantro can be used to flavor grilled corn.
      Cilantro can be used to flavor grilled corn.
    • Chili powder is often sprinkled on grilled corn.
      Chili powder is often sprinkled on grilled corn.
    • An ear of corn.
      An ear of corn.
    • Olive oil, which can be used to brush corn before grilling.
      Olive oil, which can be used to brush corn before grilling.
    • Cotija cheese sprinkled over grilled corn.
      Cotija cheese sprinkled over grilled corn.
    • When grilling corn, use a grill that can hold several cobs at once.
      When grilling corn, use a grill that can hold several cobs at once.
    • Corn is sometimes grilled with paprika.
      Corn is sometimes grilled with paprika.
    • Favorite seasonings for grilled corn include garlic and chili powder.
      Favorite seasonings for grilled corn include garlic and chili powder.