Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 27, 2012 07:58 AM

Marinating Grilled Corn on the Cob for 1,000 People!

Once a year, I grill burgers/dogs, etc. at a music festival with attendance of about 1,000.

Next year, I want to serve grilled corn on the cob. In order to have the operation run smoothly, I need to completely shuck the corn in advance (there's limited grill space, and limited time).

If I'm not boiling the corn in advance, and not leaving any of the husks on the corn, is there any point to marinating the corn in advance? I'd rather not serve dry corn (though, that's how I eat it at home off the grill, and I love it). I'd love to do something involving Old Bay.

What can I do? I'm envisioning shucking the corn in advance and putting it in a large container with oil/Old Bay + (whatever), and then throwing it right on the grill. But will the marinade have any impact at all, or am I just wasting my time?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions for speciific marinade recipes involving Old Bay, that would also be helpful.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When I dress my corn first, I cook it in a steam table pan so it doesn't burn too much. It still does get black spots but not too much. I do more of a Mexican style marinade though, with lime juice, chili powder and parmesan cheese.

    1. i would grill, throw them in steam pans and brush/toss with oil/Old Bay/salt at the end . Marinading it in the oil will just cause a lot of flareups as the oil drips IMO.

      1 Reply
      1. re: boogiebaby

        I agree. Marinating in oil is asking for trouble. I never marinate corn. When I want a boost of flavor, I just brush on a seasoned/flavored butter before serving: cilantro-lime, Old Bay, lemon pepper,etc

      2. At the County Fair, the grilled corn booths have large containers of various condiments on another table for the non-purists. That seems to be a lot less trouble(and less waste if the flavor profile you choose isn't popular with some).

        You can also see it is grilled in the husk. One booth cleans the silk off, puts the husk back, soaks the corn in water before grilling and then the husk is turned over and a "handle. However one other booth grills the corn whole(also soaked in water) and after it is cooked, cuts off the bottom 'handle' and then pulls up on the husk-taking the silk along with the husk.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cathy

          Here are photos from the San Diego County Fair, the fifth most attended County Fair in the USA. This one vendor sells more than 1000 ears a day. He does not shuck. He does not marinade or pre-season.

          You can see three ears 'shucked' after cooking on the far right end of the grill in the first photo- silk ends up attached to the husk and not the ear. You can see in the second photo that most of the ears are semi 'pre cooked' and on the back area off the grills. They are then re-heated to complete the cooking, for serving. You can see condiments offered in the third photo.

          Since you say you want to do this for next year, practice *now* to see what is efficient as well as tasty. Marinate some ears overnight then cook 8, 12 and 24 hours later and see if the quality and/or taste of the corn is affected. Try cooking and shucking as shown in the photos. You'll have a 'system' ready for next year.

        2. My advice is to grill them dry. BUT, take old bay, lemon juice concentrate and water and pour into a squirt bottle (the windex kind).
          Now, when you're grilling the cobs, Keep dousing them in the lemony good marinade and serve. This way the marinade stays lemony fresh and the cob tastes amazing.

          1. Unless the corn will be husked with the silks removed and placed on the grill with nothing between it and the heat, I wouldn't go through the effort of grilling it. Just boil it. I don't understand grilling corn with the husk on. That simply steams the corn and prevents any substantial browning or charring..

            To grill it, lightly brush the corn with oil mixed with salt and Old Bay and/or any other spices or herbs you want such as chili powder. Grill it over coals that are putting out medium-high to high heat rotating as needed until it's lightly charred all the way around, about 10 minutes.