Grilling Corn on the Cob

No Foil Needed: Husks make a natural cooking "packet"

Grilled corn

 The Spruce/Anita Schecter 

The next time you plan to light the grill, add corn on the cob to your menu. Whether you have a gas grill or a charcoal grill, you can get delicious results from cooking ears of corn directly on the grates. Plus, you can vary the seasonings you use and try a little something different each time you make it.

Keep the heat at about medium to medium-high, and don't position the corn directly over an active flame, since the husks can catch on fire.

Soak the Corn Cobs

Corn soaking
The Spruce/Anita Schecter

As with many vegetables cooked on the grill, you should start by soaking corn on the cob in cold water. This adds moisture to the husks, softening them and reducing the chance of a flare-up. Allow the ears to soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes to an hour before you put them on the grill.


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Remove the Silk

Removing corn husks
The Spruce/Anita Schecter

To remove the silk from the ears of fresh corn, take off three or four outer layers of the husk, preserving a few leaves to protect the corn as it cooks. (Save the detached pieces to tie the tips of the corn cob.) Then gently pull down the remaining husk to expose the corn. Pull off and discard as much silk as possible; you can use a dry paper towel or clean kitchen cloth to wipe them away. Don't worry if a little remains, though, because you can remove the rest after you pull the cobs from the grill.

Butter the Kernels

Buttered corn
The Spruce/Anita Schecter

With the corn exposed from the husk, you have a good opportunity to add flavor. Rosemary olive oil is delicious on grilled corn, as is butter sprinkled with a little salt, dried dill, and powdered garlic. Preparing your favorite corn butter ahead of time helps make this process quick and easy. Brush the seasoning over the corn evenly and thoroughly.

Secure the Husks

Retied corn
The Spruce/Anita Schecter

With the corn seasoned and ready to cook, it is time to close the husks. Pull the husks back up over the ears as best as you can. Tear the reserved husks into strips and use them to tie the attached pieces around the end of the corn to hold the husks in place while the ears cook. When tying the husks, position the strip around the end of the corn cob, not beyond it, so you have something solid underneath the knot.

Grill the Corn

Grilling corn
The Spruce/Anita Schecter

With the corn seasoned and tied, it is time to grill. These ears will be forgiving of most things except unnecessary handling. Odds are you will be cooking them with something else, so find an unused corner of the grill away from the flame, or set the corn on the warming rack. Cook the corn over medium to medium-high indirect heat for 10 to 15 minutes. If you have the grill at a lower temperature or you're using the warming rack for the corn, increase the cooking time to 20 to 30 minutes. As long as the husks don't burn, it's hard to overcook the corn. A longer cooking time increases the delicious smoke flavor.

Serve the Deliciousness

Keep the corn in the husks until serving time; you can leave it on a cooler part of the grill while you plate the rest of the meal. Then carefully remove the remaining husks and any lingering silk strands and serve the corn immediately with additional butter and seasonings if desired.

Nutritional facts of corn on the cob
Kelly Miller/The Spruce