Sweet and spicy, Grilled Corn on the Cob in the Husk is a real summertime treat. The technique of grilling fresh corn in the husk is the secret to getting tender steamed corn and smoky flavor all at once. This fresh corn is basted with spicy garlic-infused butter and grilled over direct heat for about 20 minutes — and turns out perfect every time!
For a fun serving idea, tie back the husks with kitchen twine. That way, there’s no need for corn holders! Just pick it up by the husks, eat, and enjoy.
Grilled Corn on the Cob in the Husk
The absolute BEST corn is fresh, sweet corn straight from the garden to the dinner table, and one of the absolute best corn cooking techniques is on the grill. But… grilling corn in the husks requires a time commitment.
Corn in the husks must soak in a bucket of water for an hour before cooking so they don’t dry out and flame up on the grill. If you don’t have the time to pre-soak, this quicker Parmesan Grilled Corn wrapped in aluminum foil is a tasty alternative.
Whichever way you choose to prepare corn on the cob (even in the microwave!), if you start with garden-fresh corn, you can’t go wrong!
Choosing the best fresh corn
How can you tell if an ear of corn is good? There are a few clues to look for when you’re choosing corn at the farmers’ market or produce aisle.
- Look for bright green husks that are tight against the cob and slightly damp.
- Avoid ears that have brown spots on the husks as it may indicate insects or worms are inside — yuck!
- The silks should be pale or just lightly brown. If the silks are dark and brittle, it is an old ear of corn.
- Check to see that the ear feels full and firm.
How to grill corn on the cob in the husk
- Peel back the outer husks from the fresh corn. It’s fine to discard the outermost layer, but be sure to leave most of the husk intact and attached to the ear.
- Gently remove the silks and recover the corn with the husks, pressing it tightly around the corn.
- Fill a clean bucket or large dish pan with cool water. Place the ears of corn in the water and soak for at least one hour. The corn will tend to float, so rotate it occasionally. You could also place a heavy plate directly on top of the corn to weigh it down into the water.
- While the corn is soaking, make the garlic-infused, spicy butter concoction (see the recipe below).
- After an hour, drain the water from the bucket. Shake each ear gently to remove any extra moisture.
- Peel back the husks and brush each ear liberally with the spicy garlic butter (save some of the butter for brushing on the corn later). Recover the ears with the husks, pressing gently to wrap them back around the kernels.
- Grill the corn over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the corn to a platter.
- Peel back the husks again, and this time secure the husks tightly with a piece of kitchen twine. Be sure to snip off any extra string.
- Return the corn to the grill and cook over medium heat for another 10 minutes, brushing each ear with more of the spicy garlic butter, until tender.
Do you have to remove the silks before grilling corn?
You wouldn’t necessarily have to remove the silks before grilling fresh corn on the cob in the husks as it would fall off easily after cooking — EXCEPT with today’s recipe. Since butter is brushed on the corn kernels before cooking, it is best to remove the silks.
Why is my corn on the cob tough?
If you start with old corn, the result may be tough kernels. Always choose the freshest corn available for grilling in the husks. It will be the most tender and sweet.
- Grilled Corn and Mushroom Risotto
- Peppery Grilled Okra & Lemon Basil Dipping Sauce
- Summer Squash and Zucchini Casserole
- Corn Salsa
- Warm Corn Chowder Salad
One thing to remember when grilling corn in the husks is to turn it frequently for even cooking. Also, I grill my corn with the lid closed to retain the heat.
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- 4 ears fresh corn
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
- Carefully peel back the outer husks from each ear of corn and remove the silks. Recover the ears with the husks, pressing them back into place.
- Fill a clean bucket or large pan with cool water. Place the corn ears in the water and soak in water for at least one hour. The corn will float, so turn them occasionally to make sure all sides are soaked.
- Preheat the grill to low heat (300 degrees).
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and garlic over low heat for 5 minutes to infuse the flavor. Do not let the butter simmer. Add the sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin and hot sauce and stir until blended.
- Remove the corn from the water and shake to remove excess water. Gently peel back the husks and brush the ears with the garlic butter, saving some for later.
- Replace the husks and place the corn on the preheated grill over direct heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the corn often.
- Remove the corn from the grill and carefully pull back the husks (it will be hot). Tie the husks with kitchen twine.
- Increase the grill heat to medium heat (400 degrees). Return the corn to the grill and brush with the remaining butter. Cook for another 10 to 12 minutes, until tender and just slightly charred.
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
Adjust the ingredient quantities as needed.
Choose the freshest corn possible for the best flavor. Look for bright green husks and ears that do not have dark black silks.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 602mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g
Sheila Thigpen, author of The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. A Southern girl living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters, are active in their church, love to travel, and are over-the-moon excited about becoming grandparents last year. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!