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Grilled corn three ways.How to best grill sweet corn on the cob. Perfect summer BBQ food!

Updated on May 3, 2009

Smoky grill charred sweet corn on the cob

Perfect grilled corn on the cob

Ah sweet sweet corn on the cob. Summer's perfect vegetable, and a great excuse to eat loads of butter and salt! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a beautiful steamed or boiled cob of corn, and providing you've got a good fresh batch of corn, there is not too much that you can do to mess it up.

(That being said, don’t overboil your corn, it only needs a few minutes in the water, and once it is heated through, it is done)

But if, you’re on a bit of a boiled corn marathon, it can be nice, for a change of pace, to give that corn the kiss of smoke on the BBQ. Grilling corn is easy, and it makes cooking even easier when you can do your veg and meat at the same station.

Generally with corn, the most important thing is freshness. This is of course true for all vegetables, but especially for sweet corn. Corn starts turning its natural sugars into starches from the moment it's picked off the stalk; and after only three days has transformed half of its sugar into tasteless starch. Refrigeration can retard this process slightly, but fresh corn is always best

There are three basic techniques for grilled corn, and all will produce a different result, whichever you choose, all will be delicious.

The methods are:

  1. corn cooked in their shucks
  2. corn cooked in just the inner silk
  3. naked corn on the grill

The first two methods require a bit of soaking before hand, to save the "skin" from premature burning, about a half an hour is enough.

1. Corn Cooked in Their Shucks

For the first method, after you have soaked the cobs, just toss them onto your preheated BBQ, and after about 15 minutes of closed lid cooking they will be done. This is the most effortless method, and will always produce a great cob of corn; but it won't be noticeably BBQ'd. The ears in effect simply steam inside the outer layer and the end result is not that drastically different to a boiled or steamed cob of corn.

2. Corn Cooked in the Inner Shuck

The second method also requires a soaking, but for these cobs, you've peeled off the outer layer, leaving only the inner silk as a coating. These will require a little more attention on the grill, and will need to be turned occasionally to avoid burning. These should also be cooked with the BBQ lid down. This method will protect the corn from the direct heat of the grill, but will allow some of that smoky heat through for direct contact with the corn. The corn will end up a touch blackened and smoky sweet

3. Naked Corn on the Grill

The last method has you completely shuck the corn, and simply grill the exposed corn directly over the heat of the grill. This method requires the most attention, and will result in a more blackened cob of corn. This blackening in not a bad thing, and as long as you are vigilant, and turn often, this corn will taste nutty, smoky sweet. You should keep the lid down, but will need to keep turning the corn about every minute or so.

In general, most people find that the second method is the best compromise. It's easier than the direct corn on the grill method, but will end up noticeably BBQ'd and not simply steamed, as for the first method. It depends a lot on your personal preference, and if you don't want to see any grill char on your corn, then the unshucked method is probably best for you.

Try one, try them all, corn on the BBQ is great.

Serve with lots of butter and salt, or as in Mexico, with lime juice, chili flakes, and thick sour cream. Make a fresh BBQ corn salad, grilled corn soup or most likely, just devour hot off the grill.

Good old summer corn on the cob!

One more way - Cooked in foil!

Corn grilled in its silk


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    • The Dan Sai Kid profile image

      The Dan Sai Kid 9 years ago from Scotland

      I can't get nice, sweet corn in Scotland - woe is me! Edit: I mean corn that is sweet btw. Not sweetcorn, there is always plenty of that. Does that make sense?

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 9 years ago

      I feel for you Dan.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 8 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Great hub, have linked it to mine on grilling thanks

    • profile image

      Greg 8 years ago

      wrap in foil shucked and cook for fifteen minutes in the covered bbq.... yummy!!!!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Delicious ideas. Thanks for sharing. God Bless You

    • profile image

      jason 7 years ago

      I had the best burgers and I can honestly say your ideas had a lot to do with it. Thanks so much.

    • profile image

      qfas'gsvnafg 7 years ago

      thank's for posting vid

    • profile image

      bill 7 years ago

      It is called an ear of corn. The cob is what the kernels are attached to and you don't eat the cob.

    • profile image

      notacook 7 years ago

      I can cook to pass, but one thing I do know is the blackened char on anything charbqued is carcinogenic.

    • profile image

      Cindi 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info, just got a new grill and I wanted the lazy mans cooking for corn on the cob. Going to try the corn in it's husk and see how I fare. Thank you.

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 6 years ago

      Yep - sometimes the cooking doesn't have to be complicated!

    • profile image

      Ronnie 6 years ago

      AWESOME VIDEO!!! Thanks sooo much for posting/making it!!!!

    • profile image

      Vague 5 years ago

      Your instructions for barbeque corn as very vague. You do not say how long to cook the bare corn or even how long to soak if you are leaving the shucks on?

    • profile image

      Not Vague 5 years ago

      To Vague: You should read the article. It does mention soaking and cooking time.

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