How To Grill Corn On The Cob

Fresh corn on the cob doesn’t take much cooking at all. Some people insist that the only way to eat it is to get it within hours of being picked and boil it for two or three minutes. These same people will put the water on the stove before heading out to the farmers market or roadside stand to get the corn, so they won’t waste a second after shucking it.

These people are crazy. (I’m looking at you, Alton Brown.)

I’ve kept corn in the fridge for two or three days before cooking it and I can’t tell you the difference. Maybe I have an unrefined palate. I think it’s more likely that preparing it well is more important than whether you eat it the first day or the third.[1]

So here are my three tips for perfect grilled corn on the cob. Actually, one tip for grilled corn on the cob, and the other two you can use no matter how you cook it.

Start with corn that is fresh enough that the silk — that’s the clump of hairlike strands sticking out the end — is still slightly sticky. Peel off the dried-up outer layer of husk, but leave at least one whole layer of leaves on the cob.

Snap the stem off at about two or three inches, and wrap each ear in a piece of foil that is about two inches longer on each end.

Submerge the wrapped corn in water for about an hour. I used my roasting pan because it was big enough, and I hadn’t put it away in the basement yet after using it for canning the pickles.

After an hour of soaking, put the corn on the grill close over extremely hot coals …

… or, if the grill is full of hamburgers already, on the bottom rack of your oven set to 350°.

Turn them over once after 10-15 minutes. They are pretty insensitive to cooking time, so don’t stress too much about the exact minutes. Oh, and lean back when you open the stove. There will be a huge blast of steam when you do. If you’re doing it in the stove, that is.

After another 10 minutes pull them out very carefully. These things are extremely hot little steam bombs. If you’re doing a bunch, you can stack them in a cooler and they’ll stay hot for several hours.

Open the foil very carefully — steam bombs, remember? — and peel the remaining layers of husk and silk back. Presto, instant handle, without using those little molded-plastic spear thingies. (That’s the second tip.)

Now this third tip is my all-time favorite way to butter corn. Get the crust from the bread. Since no one ever eats the crust, you should have one on top of the loaf in your breadbox. Throw a big slab of butter on it.

Now run that hot corn back and forth on the butter until it’s dripping with buttery goodness.

Do this with two or three ears of corn and you’ll be left with a melted-butter-soaked hunk of bread that the kids will absolutely fight over. Use it as a bribe to get them to clear the table. While they’re dumping the plates in the kitchen, eat the bread yourself. Laugh at their naiveté.

[1] Tomatoes are completely different. Refrigerating them noticeably reduces the flavor. Corn fiends are extremists. Tomato fiends are simply observant.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled Corn on the Cob


  • corn with the husk on
  • foil
  • water


Peel off all the husk except for one layer.

Wrap each cob individually in foil that is at least two inches longer on each end than the corn.

Soak the corn in water for at least one hour.

Place on the grill - or a rack in the oven set to 350°. Turn over after about 10-15 minutes. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Unwrap the foil and fold the last layer of husk back to use as a handle.

Add too much butter and plenty of salt.