Here are 5 tips for grilled corn-on-the-cob that will bring out its natural sweetness and imparts a delicious smoky flavor. It's the quintessential summer treat, and grilling it to perfection is so easy!
To ensure your corn is perfectly cooked and bursting with deliciousness, follow the tips below. It's time to elevate your grilling game and make your corn-on-the-cob the highlight of any barbecue gathering!
1 Choose Fresh, High-Quality Corn: The first step to grilling exceptional corn is selecting the right ears. Opt for fresh, in-season corn with bright green husks and plump, well-formed kernels. Check for freshness by feeling the kernels through the husk; they should be firm and evenly spaced. Avoid corn with dry or discolored husks, as these are signs of age. Purchasing from local farmers' markets or trusted sources guarantees you'll get the best quality corn, ensuring a mouthwatering grilled result.
2 Preparing the Corn: Before grilling, it's crucial to prepare the corn properly. Start by peeling back the outer husks, but keep them attached at the stem. Remove the silk strands by hand or with a soft brush. Rinse the corn under cold water to remove any remaining silk. For added flavor and moisture, you can soak the corn in cold water for about 15 minutes. This prevents the husks from burning and helps keep the kernels juicy while grilling.
3 Seasoning and Flavoring: While the natural sweetness of corn shines on its own, a little seasoning can take it to new heights. Brushing the corn with melted butter or olive oil before grilling adds a rich and savory taste. You can also experiment with various seasonings, such as chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, or a sprinkle of your favorite herbs. For a tangy twist, squeeze some fresh lime juice over the corn or sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese. Allow the corn to marinate in the seasoning for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
4 Grilling Techniques: Grilling corn requires the right technique to achieve optimal results. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill rack, directly over the heat. If desired, you can first fold back the husks and secure them with a piece of kitchen twine for a rustic presentation. Close the grill lid and cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning the corn occasionally to ensure even cooking. The husks will become slightly charred and the kernels tender. If you prefer a deeper char, you can grill the corn for a few more minutes. Remember to keep an eye on the corn to prevent any burning. Once cooked, remove the corn from the grill and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
5 Flavorful Accompaniments: To enhance the flavor of grilled corn, consider serving it with accompaniments. The classic option is to spread some melted butter over the kernels and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. You can also elevate the taste by using flavored butters, such as garlic or herb-infused butter. For a spicy kick, slather the corn with chipotle mayo or sprinkle it with chili flakes. Alternatively, you can create a Mexican-inspired elote by brushing the corn with mayonnaise, sprinkling it with crumbled cotija cheese, and dusting with chili powder and fresh cilantro (photo below).
Grilling corn on the cob is an art that, with a few simple tips, can be mastered by anyone. From selecting the freshest corn to utilizing the right seasonings and grilling techniques, each step plays a crucial role in achieving corn perfection, and the results are worth every bite!