How To: Grill Corn on the BBQ

CATEGORIES: Grill, How To..., Kate, Sara, Vegetables

Grilled corn on the cob is a staple at our house, especially when we have company over because it’s generally a crowd pleaser. People are constantly asking how exactly to do it, so I’m going to show you several methods and you can pick the one that “speaks” to you! Whatever method you choose, you’ll get yummy, perfect corn that has an extra punch of flavor from roasting on the grill. I hope after this you’ll never boil a giant pot of water again!

Some tips:

No matter which method you choose, if you’ve got the time, soak your corn first for at least 30 minutes. (This is imperative if you’re grilling with the husk on or that sucker will toast right up) With the other 2 methods, it will keep them plump and tender.

See that end stump that you normally cut off? When I’m grilling corn I always leave them on. It creates a nice handle to turn and also makes those little corn holder things unnecessary when serving. My kids love to hold on to it like a popsicle.

If you have an upper rack on your grill, use it. While your meat is cooking below, the corn can cook happily up top and you won’t have to be so vigilant about keeping an eye on it.

Okay, here we go- our three favorite ways to grill corn on the cob.BBQ Grilled Corn: In Foil
This is probably the safest, easiest method if you’re new to the whole corn-grilling thing. It consistently gives you juicy, tender corn kernels and it’s easy to customize the flavors since you pop them right in your little packet.

1. Lay the clean corn cob on a piece of heavy duty foil. If you don’t have heavy duty, make sure to layer a few sheets of normal foil together or you run the risk of burning the corn.

2. Rub butter {real butter! always!} all over the surface of the corn cob. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can add in any seasonings or fresh herbs you like at this point. Be creative. Kate even throws onion slices in hers sometimes.

3. Securely seal the foil on both ends and the top. You will rotate the corn so you want to make sure it’s sealed up tight so the butter doesn’t leak out.

4. Place on preheated grill and rotate every 5-10 minutes for about 15-20 minutes. Be careful when opening. It’s steamy and hot!

BBQ Grilled Corn: Directly on the Grill
This is what I do the majority of the time. I love the caramelized kernels (both the look and the taste) and the smokey flavor it picks up from the grill. You do however need to be careful because you can burn and dry out easily. Use an upper rack if you have one, and turn often. Don’t overcook, or you’ll end up with dry, chewy corn. And that’s not yummy at all.

1. Lightly brush (or spray) olive oil over clean corn cobs. Use your hands to make sure it’s well coated.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and desired seasonings.

3. Place directly on the grill with medium heat and turn often. The kernels will brighten in color and then caramelize. When you see golden brown spots, it’s probably done. It usually takes only about 10 minutes. 15 if you’re on a lower heat or upper rack.

4. To avoid burning corn, place it on an upper rack if you have one.

BBQ Grilled Corn: In the Husk
This is the method I use least often. It’s kind of a pain to do the whole silk-removal and re-husking thing, but the bonus is that the husks keep in moisture so you get a pretty juicy cob, and since it’s right on the grill you sill get some of that smokey flavor as well. Plus, it looks super cool 🙂

1. Carefully pull down the outer corn husks (the green part) leaving them attached to the corn cob.

2. Remove the stringy silk and then carefully place the husks back up onto the corn cob.

3. If you like, use a longer piece of husk to secure the rest of the husks to the cob.

*Make sure to soak your corn for at least 30 minutes in cool water before proceeding to the next step.

4. Place directly on grill (again, upper rack works well to avoid burning, or place it on the outer edge of the grill where it’s not so hot)

5. Turn every few minutes until corn kernels brighten in color and appear plump. Takes about 15 minutes. When it’s done, slather on the butter and salt.

**After reading lots of comments from readers, apparently removing the silk isn’t necessary, so feel free to skip that step if you’d rather peel it off after cooking instead.

Try any of these methods in Grill Roasted Salsa. Or if we’ve got you in the mood for veggie grilling now, you’ll probably also like this Garlic Balsamic Asparagus.


  1. Daryl, you can do that. In fact, that’s how the purists do it–they soak the corn for about 10 minutes and then leave it in the husks. *My* problem is that you have to remove the silk before you do that or it will burn and usually, when I’m grilling, I have too much else going on to have time time pull back the husks, remove all the silk, soak the corn, and then grill it. If you have lots of people helping, totally go for the corn husks–you’ll get a great flavor on the corn. Or if you’re just grilling hot dogs or something. But the idea of doing something that requires a little more supervision (like ribs) PLUS the whole cornsilk thing is usually just more than I want to do.

  2. Okay, the other day, I grilled JUST corn on the cob, nor wrapped in anything. I had dinner going inside so I could focus just on the corn. I rubbed the cobs with butter and then Penzeys BBQ 3000 seasoning and grilled them on low for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, and they were awesome. So go for it if you can give them the attention they deserve! I still don’t think I could grill something else along with naked corn…

  3. An easy way to do it in the husks without removing the silk is to wrap it in foil. That way the silk doesn't burn and it keeps in the moisture. No soaking, either. This is my favorite way because the silk comes off SOOO easily!

  4. Great Tutorial!
    I just had corn in the husks on the BBQ at a party on the weekend. It was awesome, but i do agree a lot of prep! Straight on the grill, or wrapped in foil with some butter and seasonings work well for me! 🙂

  5. Yum. I seriously need to get a grill! I'm new to your blog but I've gone through a lot of your older posts and "best bites" has been on the menu at our house a lot these past two weeks. Creamy taquitos, lime-cilantro dressing, spicy chicken salad, black beans, roasted tomatoes… I'm hooked! I like cookbooks with pictures of every recipe because I have a hard time deciding if I want to make something if I can't see what it looks like. Your blog has so many beautiful looking pictures and great tasting recipes. You're my new favorite recipe book!

  6. You can do something similar to this IN YOUR OVEN too : )Tastes basically the same, but if you don't have access to a grill or just plain don't feel like doing all that, it's a great alternative!

  7. ok this doesn't have to do with the corn on the cob… which looks fantastic and I was JUST trying to figure that out the other day… thanks!!! Ok, back to my question, how the HECK do you not get the taquitos to unravel and break? ALL of mine were by the time I was going to put them in the oven… they split! I did the whole paper towel thing for about 30 seconds or so… is there anything else i can do? They are the white corn tortillas right? 6 inch? Any brand necessary? Would it help to heat oil in a skillet first? Help me!! They tasted yummy all broken though… just wish they looked nice! 🙂 By the way, you girls are AMAZING and I read your blog EVERYDAY and make most of them!! LOVE IT!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

  8. Emily- sounds like your tortillas are a little dry. They split when they're not heated enough- or it may just be the batch/brand you got. Try heating them in smaller batches and using wetter paper towels. Or another option is to heat up about an inch of chicken broth in a skillet until it simmers. Dip each tortilla in it for a few seconds and then roll up. The great part about taquitos is that they still taste good even if they're not pretty, lol. Good luck!

  9. I am wondering if fresh picked corn is a bit different? We throw the corn on the grill silk and all, just take the kitchen scissors and cut off the excess hanging out the top. The silk turns a dark carmelie brown but it does not burn and it comes off super easy after grilling. Plus we never soak it, we cook it right after it is picked so the husks are plenty moist. We have a HUGE corn patch so fresh is always what we have. I wonder if anyone has tried fresh verses store bought?

  10. I’ve also never removed the silk, I would never have the patience for that! 🙂 I just give it a little haircut with scissors, throw it cold water to soak, and then grill it up. When it’s done the husk and silk just fall off – it’s the easiest thing in the world!

  11. I love to grill corn at home, so yummy. May I suggest you try it with a squeeze of lime? It is super delish. I spray my corn w/olive oil (using a misto or the like), squeeze with fresh lime juice & then lightly salt & pepper. Then I either wrap in foil or lay a sheet of foil on the grill & just lay the ears on top, sometimes I save the husk & sometimes I remove it.

  12. I just finished up directing a week of Cub Scout day camp. We had a medieval theme and did a feast with hands on food only. We grilled corn for 250 people and just soaked it in ice water in the husk without removing the silk. It turned out fantastic. If you cook it over a medium temperature you don’t have to worry about the silk catching on fire. One volunteer said that she would never shuck corn again. She was going to try roasting the corn in the oven as well.

  13. Try using your favorite barbeque sauce in foil. It works out great. The ladies usually like the honey barbeque sauce but many are good.

  14. If you’re doing method #1 or #3, you might as well just toss your corn in a steamer. With either method, you’re trapping the moisture against the corn, thus steaming it rather than grilling it.

    If you want to actually GRILL your corn, husked and directly on the grill (method #2) is what you want.

    Works great in the oven, too. I give it maybe 25 minutes at 400F.

  15. Thanks for the tips, we did BBQ Grilled Corn: In the Husk last week and it was so yummy – Can’t wait for corn season to come soon here in Canada.

  16. I cooked corn in the husk for the first time (used to grill it in the foil all the time). Did not remove the silk, just snipped it off with scissors. It turned out VERY good! Thank you!

  17. My dad grills corn with the husks on. First he soaks them and then just lays them on the grill. When they are done, he uses some heavy duty gloves that are for this purpose only to peel the husks and silk off. The silk comes off very easily with this method. No need to take them off before cooking.

  18. I made some awesome corn this weekend using a fun trick with ice cubes. Before wrapping the cleaned cobs up in foil, I added a few slices of butter (to the top) and a few ice cubes (about 3 tbs) along the side of the cobs. I used two sheets of foil since my foil was pretty thin. Seal it up really tight – you don’t want any moisture to escape! Put on grill for 30 mins (seam side up), turning over half way through cooking. The ice will melt and steam the corn perfectly inside the little packets!

  19. I like to roast my corn in the husk, but I learned that you don’t have to go through the bother of pealing back the husk, stripping off the silk, and pulling the husk back up again. I soak my corn, silk still on and roast it, silk and all. Once it’s done we use oven mits and strip off the husk and silk right there on the back deck next to the grill. The silk just about falls off and we pile up the pealed corn in a large bowl for serving – throwing a dish towel over the top to keep it warm. Soooooo much easier this way plus you get the good flavor from the husk.

  20. We grilled 24 ears yesterday!! Just cleaned up the cobs by removing the hanging tips off the husks and cut the top silks off and soaked for a few hours in cold water in the ice chest while we were swiming & till ready to grill. They were fantastic!! I’ve never even heard of taking the time to remove the silks before grilling. Seems like a huge time waster to me and i’d nver grill corn if it took that much work!!

  21. I tried grilling the corn in the husks (after soaking in water). I did this over a 350-400 degree fire on my big green egg. It was okay, the concept of cooking in the husks was more exciting then the results. Cleaning the silk strands was still a challenge at the end (maybe more of a pain since the corn was hot). Cooking time took longer then posted (about 30 minutes +). The corn was definitely steaming inside the husks so they were moist. My wife said she could taste the smoke flavor. At then end of the day, it was still corn. I may try it one more time. It did not knock my socks off (but again, it is just corn). The presentation of the grilled / charred husks was different and made a nice display.

  22. BTW: Thanks to the author of this blog for doing such a great job detailing the cooking with good pictures of the steps. Well done.

  23. We always grill in the husks,but we peeloff a couple layers of husk before putting it on the grill. Cuts down the cook time, and ups the “grill ” flavor…some of your kernels will get just a bit brown too, just like in method #2.

  24. All these ideas sound super yummy & are making me hungry, Lol! 🙂
    …i have also used these methods and agree w/ all variations as a go, HOWEVER, i must agree w/ the few who go against the grain & do NOT remove the husks (or silk for that matter as well!)! The husks actually impart a certain ‘new’ flavor into the finished product, that you just cannot accomplish w/ a ‘naked’ corn alone :P…it is ESSENTIAL to leave the husks/silk intact to get that ‘primitive’ & sweet flavor that comes from the caramelizing/smoking of the husks that create this unique flavor, in fact try this if you REALLY wanna try something unique & spectacular when you are camping!…
    1) Take your fresh sweet corn (whole of course!), trim just the crazy fluffy hanging stuff from the top, then soak in some salted (or seasoned) water for a few minutes…
    2) Wrap very well 2x w/ Heavy-Duty aluminum to protect it
    3) Make a little ‘cleared’ area in your campfire to expose a nice bed of coals & lay your corn in there…then cover them up with even more burning wood/coals
    4) Mind you, this method doesn’t take very long at all!…maybe 10-15 min, so you will have to keep an eye on it (smoking from within is a definite sign!) & also get a good personal ‘feel’ for the timing, as different corn, sizes, temperature of your fire, etc can affect the timing!
    4) Pull those sweet succulent ears outta the fire (safely of course!) & remove all the burnt husk & silk…roll ’em in REAL butter & ENJOY the GOODNESS!!!

    Believe me, you will NEVER want corn from a can EVER AGAIN! LOL!!! 😉

  25. Thanks , this site was very helpful lots of good ideas, I always boil my corn but tonight I wanted to try it on the bbq, anxious to see the results!! will leave the husk on, peel one side , butter it and wrap it in foil.

  26. I soak my corn sometimes with the husk on sometimes without, but I always, always soak the corn overnight in seawater. I live near the ocean in Nova Scotia so sea water is plentiful and clean, this insures a light salty seasoning throughout the ear. use this on mets as well. BYE FORE NOW!!!

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