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Jul 17, 2010 09:31 AM

Grilled corn on cob butter recipes and pointers please.

I have to mak this for like 25 or so.

I was thinking a shallot butter with chili sprinkled on top.

Any other suggestions on your favorite pairings?

Now as for technique..

I was thinking of par boiling them and finishing on grill.I want the smokey flavor so I was probably gonna use wood chips and grill with husk on.. No aluminum foil or anything .

Does that sound about right to ya?

Also .. I'm gonna try to get some naturally sweet corn .. But is there anyway to boost the flavor a bitthat doesn't involve Adding more sugar/salt to the butter?

Thanks !

By the way I'd be interested in some spicy butters too!

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  1. peel back the husks, but do not detach them from the stem. pull off all the silk. rub the corn w/butter salt and pepper. fold the husks back up over the corn. grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.

    7 Replies
    1. re: thew


      Question for you. Why do you de-silk prior to grilling. Jfood has done yes/no on this and finds no diff in end product but by not peeling back it keeps the husks intact to avoid the potential for burning the kernals. Yes, husking after grilling is a challenge not burning the hands but curious on your POV. thx

      1. re: jfood

        i think it is easier - i also think of it as food prep i guess, and i'm in the food prep mode before the cooking and eating modes. when it's done i just wanna eat it, not work on it.

        1. re: jfood

          I think it was you or Alan (again!) who suggested no de-silking recently and that's all we do anymore. So easy and no downside.

          Corn only needs heating not cooking so definitely no parboiling. Also I've been doing something a little different lately regarding butter and corn. I melt the butter and then pour it over the corn (after checking to make sure all guests want butter). Especially with larger groups, it assures that the butter doesn't wind up on corn that's no longer quite warm enough.

          1. re: c oliver

            Can't remember where I saw this: You put hot water in a deep, narrow container, then pour melted butter over it. Use a skewer or corn handle on one end of the cooked cob, and dunk it. As you pull it out it is coated with butter and the water remains behind.

            1. re: c oliver

              prob ALan not jfood...jfood was the one who wrote that he could take right from the grocer bag and onto the grill

              1. re: jfood

                That's what I meant. Although I have been triming the very ends of the silks. But, yeah, just take the corn as it comes from themarket and put it on the grill.

        2. I'll be really interested in everyone's ideas on this.

          Here's a recipe from Russ Parsons at the LATimes. (I love that guy.)

          He has a lime tequila butter with jalapenos. And talks about how he grills corn.

          The recipe is here and the link to the full article is there too.

          1. Soften butter, mix in lots of ground cumin. Proceed as thew suggested.

            Unbelievable good!

            2 Replies
            1. re: meatn3

              So I wouldn't need to parboil? Just cook them on grill? I needed it to be quick since I'll be doing like 9 things at once.

              The tequilla butter looks great. May have to use that.


              1. re: lestblight

                Don't parboil corn. Either boil or grill, not both.

                For grilling, just toss'em on the grill with the husks on. When they're done the husks come off easily. Then slap some butter on them (the flavored kind like tequila lime if you so prefer) and you're set to go.


            2. A nice chipotle butter for some smokiness and heat; I like the lime tequila butter idea, and a nice herbaceous garlic butter always works well with corn for a more traditional approach; sun dried tomato butter with fresh basil and parsley or roasted garlic butter.
              Certain cheeses go well with grilled corn also, grated Parmesan, shredded Manchego, goat mixed with butter or cojita.

              1. Here's my take : Take all the husks off and grill the corn naked. No oil or butter (yet) because that can lead to flare-ups and flare ups when grilling corn isn't good - you get gray/black soot.

                Do not par boil.

                Remember that corn on the cob doesn't need to be cooked that long. You can eat it raw if you want, so what you're doing is heating it a bit and giving it some grill flavor.

                When I grill corn, I want grilled flavor. In my experience when you grill with the husks on, you STEAM the corn rather than truly grilling it. You get a MUCH nicer caramelization on the corn kernels and it will be evident you actually grilled it. It is also much less labor intensive as all you have to do it is husk the corn and grill it. No half-husking, removing the silk, re-wrapping with the husks, etc. When you've achieved the desired char on your corn then you can dress it with flavors: butter, salt & pepper, spices, cheese... limited only by your imagination.

                Given your interest in keeping this simple and fast, I really think this is your best option. I don't grill corn any other way (ever) as I really find other options a waste of time.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Shaw Oliver


                  quick question..

                  what is with soaking it in water for 10 minutes?

                  is this a no no?

                  1. re: lestblight

                    I've seen people do that when they cook the corn in the husk on the grill, as an attempt to steam it or something; I was never clear on the reason. I find it unneccesary. I prefer corn husked and grilled, with delicious char marks, as Shaw above and sparkareno below suggested; easier to eat also.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Actually, soaking the corn is a way to "plump" the kernels a bit before grilling them without the husks. The idea is to permit them to cook a bit before they begin to dry out from the direct heat of the grill, yet ultimately get the desired carmelization. This is the technique endorsed by America's Test Kitchen. It is pretty new to me as I have only tried it once (I was, admittedly, pleased with the result).

                      ATK actually almost "brined" the corn by adding salt to the water. Similarly, they proposed adding sugar to the water should the corn you have not be particularly sweet. I suppose, lestblight, that your best bet would be to see if you could find the ATK episode or recipe as it is early and I am basically paraphrasing from what I remember seeing some time ago.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I THINK the brining was on the episode which had the Mexican corn recipe to which I linked downthread. That was published in Sept. 2009 but I have no idea if that issue of CI covered brining.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          That certainly may be. I never seem to make it through entire episodes of the show. The corn soaking thing, however, caught my attention and piqued my curiosity.

                        2. re: MGZ

                          I was referring to the technique of soaking the unhusked corn in water, not a brine, for up to 24 hours, as I've seen people do. I believe the desired result was to saturate the husks in order to better steam the corn and prevent the husks from burning on the grill, which they will do. If you like steamed corn, then this is the way to go. I prefer grilled without the husk and I've never soaked it in the husk first.

                          I assume the ATK brining method is for husked corn? I can't see that it's necessary to plump corn kernels, if indeed it's possible, before grilling, especially if the corn is fresh or even better, just picked.

                          There was a post in a recent corn thread which explains that individual corn kernels have a outer pericarp which is impermeable and cannot absorb outside moisture, whether it be salt or sugar in a brine. Here's the link:


                          It seems like the brining step doesn't seem to be effective, according to other posters. I don't think adding moisture by brining is necessary to give corn time to cook before it dries out on the grill; it cooks quickly of it's own accord, 7-8 minutes, medium coals.

                          Whether you like corn steamed in the husk, de-silked or not, or grilled directly on the coals for a nice smoky flavor and some char, is a matter of personal preference. Here's a NYT article discussing various corn grilling techniques:


                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            The concept is to soak in water, with or without salt or sugar. I equated it with brining. The corn is unhusked when soaked and, as I noted, intended to be cooked directly over the fire, without husks. I've grilled corn in every imaginable way. This was new to me and therefore intriguing. On my one try, I used plain water. I got the carmelization one desires from direct grilling but without any toughening of the kernels. Try it???

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Oh, ok, that's just soaking, husk on and then grilling, ok, that's clear. Sure, next time I do corn I'll try the your husk on, soak, husk off, grill method. Cool.

                              It's not like I've never had it soaked and steamed husk on, but just prefer it naked and grilled. ;-)

                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                Sorry. I suppose "unhusk" isn't really a word. To clarify - they soaked the ears AFTER removing the husks.

                            2. re: bushwickgirl

                              If the contention that the kernels can't absorb water is correct, then I'm thinking something else is happening. Perhaps enough water, whether salted/sugared or not, is trapped between the kernels to create moisture during grilling. I don't always agree with CI's recommendations as far as taste is concerned, but I respect the thoroughness of their testing procedures and do not believe they would recommend the extra step of brining if it didn't improve the finished corn.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I feel the same way about CI recommendations for the most part, and wish I knew definitively what else is going on. Perhaps, as you wrote, moisture is trapped between kernels; if there is salt present in the water, as in a brine, it would remain on the corn, seasoning it.

                        3. re: lestblight

                          Soaking for 10 minutes won't do anything. You're not going to get any significant "plumping" it's only going to wet the outside a bit.

                          1. re: Captain Gingersnaps

                            I was under the impression that a proper husk on soak requires at least 12-24 hours.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              Who knows. I don't grill corn in the husk either. I think grilled corn on the cob is best when it's simple, not when I have to plan 24 hours in advance.

                              1. re: Captain Gingersnaps

                                Yup, it's bad enough I have to wait 20 minutes for the grill to heat up!