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Grilled corn on the cob - did I do something wrong?

I saw online a way to do grilled corn on the cob (I've never done this before). I pulled the husks back, got rid of all the silks, and buttered, salted, and peppered the ear. Wrapped the husks back up, and rolled each one in foil.

I grilled this over high heat for about 5 minutes, turning regularly. Another 5 minutes on medium heat. Then, I put the ears on the top grate while I cooked my chicken.

The corn came out delicious - tender, and just perfect texture - the others loved it. But I couldn't get the smell of the singed husks out of my nose (so to speak) and didn't enjoy it. It smelled nasty to me, but others didn't notice it?

For others who have grilled corn - is this normal? Just part of the experience of grilled corn? Or did I fail by using regular foil and not heavy duty? The foil didn't 'burn' but some of the husks were dark.

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  1. There are SO MANY ways to grill an ear of corn...my usual method is to:
    Pull back the outer/inner green husks and remove silks ONLY..;
    Then replace all husks and SOAK ears of corn in water for a few hours;
    then drain each corn cob, shaking off extra water;
    place on hot grill with husks IN TACT, turning every so often.

    The husks WILL brown up but not burn so badly...I'm not saying that this is the only way to grill fresh corn...it's just what works for us! Some would say that I am really just steaming my corn but the inside kernels DO blacken up in spots and we like it!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Val

      We just soak the whole corn in a punch bowl or bucket of water for a few hours, throw them on the grill - charcoal or gas and let them go. We've never had a problem w/ the smell but we have singed them before w/ no ill effects. We've never used foil. The heat usually burns away the silk and crisps the husks, that's how we know they're done.

      1. re: JerryMe

        Yeah, no foil for us either...just put the ears of corn on the grill after soaking...but I've seen folks here on the HC board say just put the bare ears on the grill, no worries. It all seems to work pretty well!

        1. re: Val

          I'm one who puts the bare ears on the grill with just a spritz of evoo and S&P. It is delicious!

          1. re: Barbara76137

            I'm with you on the bare ears -- never did understand all that mucking about with with the husks.

          2. re: Val

            I too put the bare ears on the grill without soaking. Cook till they get a bit of color all around, then add butter, salt & pepper. Sometimes a compound butter with herbs.

            1. re: AreBe

              We do the same with bare ears. Sometimes if we're not paying attention we get some very well done spots on the corn, but even those taste pretty good. It's hard to ruin perfectly fresh corn.

      2. At the end of the day, what you and the others are doing is steaming corn on the grill. You're getting it very wet and wrapping it tightly. The husks were closer to direct heat, so they probably browned a bit. You did nothing wrong - I'm surprised you found the taste offensive.

        Personally, I don't bother with soaking, wrapping, husks. I take the husk and silk off just as I would when making steamed or boiled corn on the cob. Then lay the corn right on the grill. Turn it a few times, till it's lightly golden brown all over. Takes a few minutes, and it's done. The browning means the sugars are caramelized; this gives a complex sweetness to the corn, and it smells like popcorn.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sbp

          I do this on the stove top as well. When I had electric and now with gas it all works well. I like the toaster corn flavor you get from direct contact with the heat source. One trick is to not break off the stem end after cleaning, leaving it long to act as a handle

        2. If you liked the way they turned out, then this should be the "normal" for you.

          There are many many ways to grill corn on the cob -- husk on, husk off, seasoned, unseasoned, soaked, etc. -- and they are all perfectly fine.

          The key is to find one technique that works for you and which yields results that make you smile just a little bit bigger.

          1. Soak for an hour, season, pull husks back, put on grill without foil. Only the ends should start to burn and that's when you know the corn is ready. Plus, isn't that burnt smell a perk?

            1. When I've grilled corn by peeling the husks back in order to remove some silks and add some flavor, I've found it hard to get the corn properly covered up again. I should think that, if you want to wrap all that in foil, you might as well get rid of the husks entirely before doing so.

              Last weekend I happened to have grilled half a dozen ears which were an afterthought to a meal--we were grilling chicken and figured we'd just throw the ears on the grill, too. No preparation whatsoever. They cooked for at least 30 minutes, maybe 40, and they were delicious. They were over indirect heat almost thehttp://www.chow.com/static/20110608153303/im... whole time, I should add.

              1. To the OP's question, that smell is normal. It appears offensive to you. I don't mind it, but I don't find grilling in the husk to be the be all end all.

                1. One more voice for bare-on-the-grill. I toss mine in oil, sometimes with balsamic, and salt & pepper them afterwards.

                  The point is, as someone already pointed out, to grill the corn rather than steam it.

                  You get grill marks and nice caramelization, along with variations in texture that IMO make for a more interesting result.

                  I do the same with thin tender asparagus, it always turns out great.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                    I love the toasted corn flavor. I usually just get a good char on the kernels and don't cook it much further.

                  2. I prefer to shuck it, butter it, and and roll it in foil with a gentle twist on the ends, so that a bit of sweet escaping steam tells me when it's done. A little bit of carmelizing, no scorched husks. Be careful not to overcook it.

                    1. For me this is the easiest and tastiest way to grill corn. I enjoy the burnt smell and think it's part of the experience.

                      Take corns in husk and throw them on the grill. Rotate every few minutes until the outside looks more or less burnt. Take off grill and let cool enough to handle.

                      Peel all the husks back and remove silk, put back on grill, turning regularly until some of the corn is charred/blistered. Remove and enjoy with butter + salt or mexican style (mayo/sour cream/cotija/chili/lime)...or when you have really good fresh corn...straight up.

                      1. Have any of you ever done corn on the cob lollipops (FLOABW).

                        Cut the shucked ears into pieces about 1-2 inches thick, put a skewer in like a lollipop, then grill?

                        After grilling, I was going to go ahead and do them Mexican style - lime/mayo/cotija cheese/chili powder...

                        Seems like a good idea for a pot luck bbq. What do you think?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                          That will work. If you use bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them first. I learned your "Mexican style" in Guanajuato and liked it. For the time I lived in the Yucatan, fresh corn was a rarity.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Soaking skewers is a must. Plus if you put a piece of foil on the grill and then position the item being grilled with the skewers shielded with the foil, the item grills nicely and the skewers don't burn...

                        2. Our favorite way to grill corn is to simply slather the husked corn cobs in olive oil, seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, throw them over the fire for about 10 minutes turning them a quarter turn during the cook making sure the kernels get roasted but not burnt. Everyone I make them for seems to like it quite a bit.

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