HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Best method for grilling corn?

Any strong opinions out there? Just throw it on, husk, silk and all? Remove the silk, pull the husk back up, soak and grill? No soak? Remove husk and silk, then grill? Blanch, then grill? So many options...what works best?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I remove the husk and silk, rub generously with butter, season with salt, pepper, and usually a bit of ground cumin and chili powder (ground ancho is good), then wrap in foil and toss on the grill.

    1. My favorite method after trying all the permutations you mention is the method outlined by Jack Bishop in his "Vegetables Every Day" cookbook:

      1. Peel the outer layers of husk off until you have just one layer left - the thin innermost layer. (it also helps to leave a few inches of the stalk on to use as handle later)
      2. Peel that innermost layer back carefully - keeping it attached - & remove as much silk as you can. (you don't have to be religious about it - any remainder burns off). Then fold that layer of husk back over the corn.
      3. Place on grill & turn as the husks burn & the corn gets roasty brown (to your taste)
      4. Hold with a mitt & brush off any remaining husk/silk
      5. Anoint corn with butter, salt & chipotle/chili powder (though any or no flavoring is also great)

      We love the caramelized flavor that corn gets from the near-direct heat, preferring it to steamed corn.


      1 Reply
      1. re: liegey

        Just what I was looking for, thanks.

      2. Check out these recent threads on the naked v. husked debate, and other ideas for grilling corn:


        1 Reply
        1. re: djh

          Thanks, I can't believe I missed these threads!

        2. My favorite way is to peel back the husks, remove silk without worrying about every strand, spread a butter/herb combination over the corn, rewrapping the husks with string, soaking in water for about 20 minutes then onto the grill until done. Yum!

          1. I find with decent, fresh picked corn the less you cook it the better. I don't buy corn anymore that isn't very fresh. Two weeks ago I was given two dozen half grown ears of a super sweet white corn by one of my farmer clients. It was very good, but with a slighlty green taste from being immature.

            I never boil corn. When I cook it in water I let it sit in just boiled water for 2-3 minutes. I actually prefer to eat fresh sweet corn raw, but sometimes you want it hot.

            On the grill I don't husk, desilk, soak, or anything. I just throw them on a Very Hot Grill for a Very Short Time. When they are charred I use tongs to take them off, let them sit for two minutes, then just peel them back over a garbage bag and use the husk as a handle. Then paint on mayo and sprinkle with pecorino romano and cayenne.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JMF

              You had me 'til the mayo, etc...isn't less more with beautiful fresh sweet corn?

              1. re: kelvin8r

                I agree less is more with corn, if it is just picked fresh. That is when I eat it raw or just warmed in boiled water or a brief stint on the grill. In that case I don't even use butter.

                Once it has been off the stalk long enough that sugars are converting to starches, then I like to marry complementary flavors to it like the mayo, cheese, chili combo. (I could never use just mayo) Also the grilling works well with the varieties that are not so super sweet. Although the extra sweetness of just picked super sweet corn does go nicely. If you haven't tried grilled corn with mayo, cheese, chili don't knock it. It's pretty darn good.

                1. re: JMF

                  I posted about Mexican corn on an earlier thread about Cotija cheese. I grilled the corn, brushed with butter then McCormicks lime mayo, cotija cheese and ground chili de arbol. Six of us, and everyone agreed it was the best corn they ever had.
                  Pretty darn good is an understatement.

                  1. re: Bobfrmia

                    Last year I threw a cookout for a dozen friends. I prepped for two days. We started off with the corn... we ate all I had and then my friends ran out for more. That was all we ate that night.

            2. I used to remove the silks and put the husks back over the corn, then tie and soak in water. But, I got tired of the hassle. Now I shuck the corn then rub the corn with a bit of olive oil, then grill. Perfect--and much easier!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Funwithfood

                i agree, but i do enjoy rubbing the corn with butter after it's griiled. i season woth salt and pepper or sometimes seasoned salt. yummy!

                1. re: rumgum

                  Oh yes, lots of butter and salt after!
                  (The olive oil just helps them from drying out too much while grilling.)

              2. a friend's dad (Sr. Valdez y Rico)had a corn stand in Chualar, just south of Salinas (East of Eden) and he cooked his sweet corn very simply.

                He shucked them and laid the ears on a grate about 8-10" over briquette coals, turning until they were uniformly dark golden brown. They were slightly dry with a wonderful parched flavor. Although he had the mayo/chili condiments at his 'stand'--a pickup bed full of corn and a backyard bbq--we were always on tthe road, so we got a dozen ears to go. The aroma in the car drove me wild. I'd always end up chowing on a couple before we got to our destination. Once there we'd lightly steam them over simmering water to reheat.

                What an incredible flavor treat. Sr Valdez had been the go-to guy in the Gonzales area for years, being a master pit-bbqer and birria cook. In his later years (well into his late 70's) Sr. Valdez's stand was a familiar summer sight to anyone traveling 101. I miss his corn, and my attempts are pale in comparison, but I keep trying.

                1. grabbed a few ears last nite. soaked in water for 20 minutes and just tossed on the grill. took the same amount of time as the chicken ~20-25 minutes turning every few. let it cool off a little and peeled back the husk and silk and ate the corn au naturale (corn not me). No butter, no salt, no nothing. great flavor.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jfood

                    You got that right! Why remove anything? The husks and silk must impart some flavor.
                    My grandma used to put husks, milk & sugar in the corn pot, way back when-if the ears weren't picked that day. This was back before the super-sweets became commonplace.

                  2. I grill it bare naked. Sometimes I brush it with oil seasoned with chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion powder and dry mustard. Other times it's just bare. I turn it often to avoid burning; I like it to be carmelized and browned, it tastes superb and comes off the cob so easy.

                    I make a fire roasted tomato and corn relish that is to die for, and this is the only way to go for that recipe.

                    1. Anybody think about wrapping it in bacon?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bliebman2

                        I've done that with experimentation. The grease from the bacon makes for a lot of spit and flare from the coals and they tend to blacken things before cooking down. Not to mention the corn doesn't brown and carmelize. However, slightly cooked bacon wrapped loosely makes for a better result.

                      2. Remove husk and silk, coat with olive oil and salt and grill till nice and brown all over.

                        1. Naked, no prep. If you leave the husk on, or wrap in foil, the corn essentially steams in whatever is containing it (although the husk would add some flavor). I just leave it on the grill, roll a few times till it picks up some caramelization. The whole point in grilling corn is to (1) concentrate the flavors with dry heat driving out moisture and (2) add flavor through caramelizing sugars. I think this works best with the corn in direct contact. The kernels get a bit chewy and shrivelly, but I like this.

                          1. Naked too, no prep also. I do husk and wrap mine in those perforated foil sheets that Reynolds makes. They have holes in them, just enough for the heat to penetrate through and make a nice char on the corn. Yum!

                            1. I cut off any loose husk tips. Cut most of the silk off and soak for and hour or two. Then toss on the grill for 45 mins or so. It' steams right in the husk.