Three Ways To Grill Corn On The Cob

Grilled Corn on the CobI remember the first time that I ate grilled corn on the cob. It had the most intense flavor; it wasn’t watered down like boiled corn, and the light char combined with roasted garlic butter awakened my taste buds like never before.  Corn on the Cob is simple to grill, but the results can be amazing. There are three basic methods to grill corn on the cob. Each has its pros and cons. How much attention you want to dedicate to grilling, the desired taste, and your type of grill will dictate the best method to use for your next barbecue.

In The Husk

This is the most natural technique to grill corn. For this method will only need a large bucket or cooler of water and half a dozen or so ears of corn. Leave the husk on the corn and let it soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour in the water. This will give the husk time to absorb a good amount of water so that it doesn’t burn on the grill.

While the corn is soaking, preheat your grill to medium high. After a good soak in the water, remove the ears of corn and drain the excess water out of them. Place the husked corn over direct medium-high heat and grill with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating every 4 to 6 minutes. The excess moisture in the husk will perfectly steam the corn naturally tucked inside. Don’t be alarmed if the husk begins to char and burn a little, your corn will come out unscathed.

When the kernels are soft, remove the corn from the grill and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the husks and serve with butter, salt, and pepper. For presentation purposed you can pull the husks back leaving them attached to the stem.  This method works well on both gas and charcoal grills.

Wrapped in Tin Foil

I use this method when I want to infuse flavor into the corn as it cooks. The materials and ingredients needed for this technique are: half a dozen or so ears of corn husked, tin foil, salt, and your favorite flavored butter or aioli. The first step is to baste the corn in your chosen flavoring. I prefer to form the tin foil in a small bowl shape and liberally spread the aioli on the corn as it sits on the foil. Carefully wrap the corn tightly in the foil bowl being careful not to lose any excess flavoring that may have dropped off the corn. Then repeat the process for each ear of corn. There are times that I season each ear with a different butter for a variety of flavors.

Place the wrapped ears of corn on the grill over direct medium-high heat and grill with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. The natural moisture in the corn will steam it, and the flavored butter will infuse flavor. Rotate the corn every 4 to 6 minutes to ensure that the now melted butter coats the corn evenly. When the corn is cooked through remove from the grill and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This method works well on both gas and charcoal grills.


If you are going for that grilled char taste, this is the method for you. For this technique you only need husked corn, butter, salt, and pepper. I usually don’t use flavored butter for this because it doesn’t seem to infuse the flavor to the magnitude that wrapping in tin foil does. Plain butter seems to give work best to get that grill flavor.

Preheat your grill to medium heat and lightly butter each piece of corn, being careful to cover all areas, including the stem. Place the corn over direct medium heat and grill with the lid off for 15 minutes, or until tender. Be sure to pay close attention, knowing that there is a fine line between a charred ear of corn and an inedible burnt ear of corn. Rotate each ear frequently, while basting every 3 minutes. After the first 5 minutes you should begin to see grill marks in the corn with speckled char marks throughout. I usually setup my grill with a small area of indirect heat as a safe zone where I can move pieces that are cooking too quickly. This allows them to cool down a bit before going back over the direct heat.

I prefer this method when using my charcoal grill. Gas grills don’t seem to give the same intense flavor.

Experiment with these three corn grilling methods. Over time you will prefer one over the other, but each has its own purpose and flavor. If you like different flavors the tin foil method will work best. If you like a more natural flavor, give the husk technique a try.


Derrick Sharp is a Barbecue enthusiast with over a decade of grilling experience who owns and writes for the Backyard Grilling & Outdoor Living Blog. He has spent the past two years designing and building his own built in Brazilian Churrasco style brick barbecue grill. Derrick has published extensively online and is a platinum level author at EzineArticles.

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