Learn how to grill corn on the cob. Grilled corn on the cob is so easy to make. Perfect for anytime you light up the grill.
Summer is here, and grilled corn on the cob is basically mandatory either indoors or for any outdoor barbeque. Sweet crunchiness with a bit of smoky char, and so juicy it runs down your chin – what could be better? Everyone loves corn on the cob – it’s simply irresistible and the perfect summer food.
The kind of corn that we grill with and use in corn dishes is called sweet corn. This corn contains more sugar than other corn types, and you can’t use it to make popcorn.
Other types of corn are not picked until the kernels are mature and dry, but sweet corn is harvested while the ears are still immature and the kernels are tender. If you want to learn about the different types of corn, click here.
The first step to really great grilled corn is, to begin with, the freshest corn possible. Whether your corn is yellow, white, or bicolored, as soon as it gets picked, the sugars in the corn start to be affected by enzymes that slowly convert the sugars into blander and more mealy starches.
Though corn growers are working hard at producing corn that is not only sweeter but stays sweeter off the stalk for longer, your best bet for really tasty corn is to buy locally grown corn that’s as fresh as possible – preferably picked that very morning and transported to a farm stand or farmers market – and to cook it as soon as possible.
How to Pick Out the Best Corn
Of course, it’s tempting to take a surreptitious peek and peel down a teensy bit of the husk to look for bright, plump kernels. However, this is not polite corn-buying etiquette and that section of corn that looked so and milky and bright when you peeled it will get shriveled and starchier more quickly. So here’s the right way to pick out the best corn:
- Look for small brown holes in the husk, especially towards the top. These are holes made by worms, and, naturally, you want to avoid worms.
- Place your fingers on the husk and feel the kernels. If you can feel any holes instead of kernels, then choose another ear.
- The corn tassels sticking up out of the top should be brown and slightly sticky. If they’re black or dry, you’re touching an old ear of corn.
- Look at the color of the husk. If the corn is fresh, the husk should be a bright green and tightly wrapped around the cob. Often, it will even feel slightly damp.
How Many Kinds of Sweet Corn are There?
You might be surprised at how many different varieties of sweet corn there are, and more are being developed every year. Sweet corn can be divided into the following four categories. You can read about them in more detail by clicking here.
- Normal Sugar Hybrids –Varieties such as Silver Queen, Early Sunglow, and Honey and Cream are considered the universal standard of quality for sweet corn. They have excellent flavor and texture but are less sweet than Sugar Enhanced or Supersweet varieties.
- Sugar Enhanced – These varieties are very tender, have the highest sugar content, and stay sweeter longer. They include Peaches and Cream, Kandy Korn, and Ambrosia.
- Supersweet – These sweet corn varieties have an exceptionally crisp texture and ultra-sweet flavor. They are usually at their best within four days of harvesting. They have names like Northern Xtra Sweet, Honey ‘n Pearl, and Early Xtra Sweet.
- Heirloom – Heirloom corn is grown in isolation from other varieties to prevent cross-pollination and preserve its historical significance. Varieties include Golden Bantam, Stowell’s Evergreen, and Country Gentleman.
Of course, roasted corn on the cob is only one way to eat corn. There are lots to do with corn when it comes off the cob too, like these copykat corn recipes:
Brookville Hotel Creamed Corn
Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q Creamed Corn
Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Spicy Corn Salsa
Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob
Roasted corn is really easy to prepare in the following steps:
Remove the silks from the ears of corn.
Soak the corn for about 20 minutes then shake off the excess water.
Close the ear of corn back up a bit, and place over a moderate grill.
How long to grill corn? Cook on each side for 15- 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so until the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife.
It doesn’t get easier than this to grill corn!
How to Grill Corn
- 4 ears of corn
- Pull back the husks carefully and do not remove them.
- Remove the silks of the corn.
- Pull the husks back up to cover the corn kernels.
- Soak corn in salted water for 20 minutes.
- Cook on each side for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so until the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife.
Recipe Tips for the Cook
Toppings for fresh corn
- Classic - melted butter, salt, and pepper
- Mexican style- Melted butter, Tajin seasoning, and lime juice