As barbecue season continues, it’s always nice to learn more about how to develop or perfect your skills on the grill. Whether you’re grilling for an event or preparing a few grilled vegetables for your family’s weeknight dinner, there’s an art involved. This is especially true for those who would like to enjoy one of the seasonal favorites: corn on the cob. Truthfully, there’s more than one way to approach the preparation of grilled corn on the cob. Consider these three options when you’d like to learn how to grill corn on the cob right.
1. Corn in the Husk
You have the option to grill your corn in the husk. Depending on your personal preference, you might consider this option the best one. One of the main reasons why people don’t like cooking or grilling involves the preparation process. Whether you’re cutting up fresh herbs for seasoning the meat or in this case, shucking tons of corn, the preparation process tends to be a bit annoying. Thankfully, grilling corn on the husk doesn’t require any preparation as you don’t have shuck or clean the corn in advance. If you’ve ever shucked corn, you know that this process is one you have to do by hand. There’s no shortcut to it. So, if you have an option to skip it altogether, that’s an amazing bonus.
When you’re grilling corn in the husk, you can’t actually see the corn itself. As a result, you’re going to have to become fully reliant on your own instincts, the time and the color of the husk in order to know when to take it off of the grill. This process might involve a little trial and error. However, when the husk is completely black, that can be an indication that it’s time to take the corn off the grill. If it’s been on for less than ten minutes, keep it on the grill.
Juicy, Steamed Style
There are many people who love steamed vegetables. Steamed vegetables are great because they tend to still hold a significant amount of nutrients though they’re cooked. If you grill the corn in the husk, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of the juicy, steamed corn that so many love to bite into. Once it’s on a person’s plate and they pull the husk off, this grilled corn is perfect with a bit of sweet cream butter and a ton of napkins because juices will fly.
The Grilling Process of Corn in the Husk
Place directly on the grill
Fire up the grill to get it to the ideal temperature. Create an even surface so that you can evenly grill the corn at the same time. If you’re grilling on an old-fashioned grill with coals, evenly lay the coals on the grill. When the grill eventually heats up, you won’t have to worry about one side cooking faster than the other. Avoid the temptation to touch the coals to see if they’re all hot in order to refrain from potential injuries or burns. If you choose to use an updated grill, you can use knobs to control the heat at an even rate.
Turn for 15 minutes
Once you’ve placed the corn on the grill, it’s best to turn the corn every few minutes. Make sure you’re using the correct utensils in order to grill. A pair of tongs will work perfectly. As you slowly turn the corn in the husk, keep an eye on the time. If you turn for about fifteen minutes, you’ll have a better chance of thoroughly grilling the corn. Turn the corn, and let it sit for three or four minutes. Repeat that process for the next fifteen minutes. Another indicator that the corn is ready is that the corn husk will be completely black. As you consistently turn and wait for the grilling process to take place, be mindful of the smell. There’s a difference between a nice char-grilled smell versus a burnt smell. If you’re using an old-fashioned grill, remove a few of the coals or add a little bit of water to the mix to get rid of some of the heat.
The downside to Cooking Corn in the Husk
As the grill master, it’s good for you to be aware of the drawbacks of cooking corn in the husk. Though it doesn’t really have many disadvantages, it’s fair to be aware. When you’re preparing corn in the husk, you’ll need to be clear about the flavor. Even though you’re preparing delicious corn on the grill, it’s not going to taste like it. Most people use the grill because they love that delicious char-grilled flavor. Because the husk in covering the corn, you’re not going to get that. Because of the nature of the way you’ve cooked it, it’s going to result in steamed-style corn. You won’t have to worry about potentially drying out the corn. Instead, it will be nice and juicy upon the first bite. If that’s not what you’re looking for, it’s better to try a different preparation style.
Another downside to grilling corn in the husk involves the time of completion. You can’t shuck the corn while it’s in the middle or close to the end of the grilling process to know if it’s complete. This will completely ruin the steamed corn style you might’ve been going for. You also don’t want to leave it on too long only to end up with burnt corn. Your best bet is to make sure that the husk is completely black. Once you’ve turned the corn over a few times and waited at least fifteen minutes, all you can do is hope for the best. It’s not pleasant to bite into uncooked corn. It’d be pretty disappointing to let the grilled corn cool down in the husk, unwrap it and find it to still need more grilling time. However, that’s a chance you take when you choose this method.
2. Corn in Aluminum Foil
The Advantages of Grilling Corn in Aluminum Foil
One of the main advantages of grilling corn in aluminum foil is that it will stay warm for a longer period of time if you keep it wrapped. If you’re preparing large quantities of food on the grill, this can actually serve as a bonus. This will help you to make sure that when people get their food, it’s still nice and hot. This method is basically perfect for family reunions and barbecues where you’re expecting a lot of people.
If you like corn on the cob to remain juicy, you’ll still get the effect that you’d receive if you kept it in the cornhusk. However, you’ll get the benefits of adding butter and your own seasonings before you add another covering (in this case, the foil).
Even though the corn is still wrapped in foil, it’s still possible to get some of that coveted char-grilled texture. It won’t be as prevalent as the grilled corn without the husk. However, it will still have some of the darker colors that show it’s been hanging out on the grill for some time.
The Grilling Process
First, you’ll need to shuck the corn and thoroughly clean it. Then, pull out a piece of aluminum foil that’s large enough to wrap around the ear of corn. Make sure that you wrap each ear of corn in its own aluminum foil covering.
Once you place the corn in the foil, you can cut slices of butter to place on top of the corn. Then, add your fair share of seasonings like black pepper and kosher salt. If you want to add some more flavor, you can add cajun spices, garlic powder or fresh parsley. It’s completely up to your tastebuds.
Once you’ve added the seasonings and the butter, wrap the corn in the foil so that the steam and moisture stays inside. Then, add the corn to the grill to cook for at least twenty minutes. You can turn the ears every three to five minutes. As you continue to turn the ears, you’ll be able to make sure the corn is cooked evenly.
Try not to leave the corn on the grill for longer than 25 minutes. Once it’s complete, you can place it in its juices in the foil to sit for a few minutes or until ready.
The Disadvantages of Grilling Corn in Aluminum Foil
When it’s time to prepare corn in aluminum foil, you’ll have to consider the preparation process. You’ll need to shuck and clean the corn before you place it in the foil. If you have a large amount of corn to prepare, this isn’t going to be a fun process.
Afterward, you’ll need to pull out the right amount of foil for each ear of corn. Once it is in the foil, you’ll need to add the butter and other spices before you wrap it up. If you’re not in love with the idea of preparing a bunch of corn with the extra step of wrapping the ears in foil, this isn’t the best option for you.
After taking a look at all of the options, this preparation process might take the longest amount of time. This is mainly because of the work involved with the aluminum foil. You’re unwrapping corn from the husk only to wrap it again. It might feel redundant, but you do get to add your own seasonings and butter when you wrap it in foil. As a result, the foil process might serve as the middle ground for preparing grilled corn. If you want to skip this part of the process, consider enlisting the help of a friend or a family member for this dirty work.
3. Corn without the Husk
The Best Parts of Grilling Corn without the Husk
Corn without the husk has the potential to be a lot of fun for the person who likes to get creative and experimental with the way they customize their cooking and grilling.
Firstly, you’re finally able to see the corn you’re actually grilling. When you’re grilling corn with the husk or in the foil, you’re playing a guessing game. If you’re looking to create grilled corn that has the grill marks, you’re going to get that with this option. If you don’t like the way a piece of corn is turning out, you can always turn it over or take it off of the grill. You’ll be able to fully see what’s going on with the grilling process in real-time.
Another bonus to grilling corn without the husk is that you’ll get the full char-grilled flavor that so many people love when they prepare food on the grill. For many people, the whole point of the grill is to get that smoky, grilled flavor. While the other options might be healthier because of the steam, there’s nothing quite like a char-grilled vegetable like corn.
Furthermore, you can choose the way you’d like to flavor your corn when you choose to grill without the husk. There’s really no way to infuse the flavors when the corn is wrapped in the husk. You can choose to add seasonings before you add corn to the foil. However, there’s a different flavor that comes out when the corn is grilled directly on the coals or the grill rack.
The Grilling Process of Corn without the Husk
When you’d like to grill corn without the husk, it’s best to note that the process starts before you place the corn on the stove.
First, you’ll want to start off by shucking and cleaning off the corn. This process can be a little arduous and annoying because of the many strings you’ll need to pull off of the corn. Once the corn is shucked and clean, the real fun begins.
If you really want to know how to grill corn on the cob right, you’ll want to marinate it first. For your mixture, you’ll want to have a base and seasonings. Your base will be a specific liquid. You can choose to use melted butter as your liquid base. If you’d like to infuse more flavor, coconut milk is an excellent option. Once you’ve decided on your base, add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to the base. Then, add your own mix of fresh herbs and spices. Smoked paprika or cumin will help to bring out the grilled flavor. You can also add fresh ingredients like oregano, parsley or thyme. Scallions work well in a marinade too. Place the corn in the marinade, and allow it to sit in the marinade for just over an hour. Once it’s time to grill the corn, the heat will make the marinade come to life.
Once it’s time to grill the corn, be sure to turn over the corn every few minutes. Because it’s bare on the grill, it has more potential to burn or dry out. If you leave it on the grill for 10 to 12 minutes, it should thoroughly grill. Keep some of the marinade sauce to brush on the corn as it’s sitting on the grill. This step will also help the corn from becoming dry.
Just before you take the corn off of the grill, it’s an excellent idea to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the grilled corn. The juice of half of lime will work perfectly. Many people love to add toppings to their grilled corn such as feta cheese and more herbs. Mexican street corn is a really popular option for those who loved well-seasoned grilled corn.
The Drawbacks of Grilling Corn without the Husks
Depending on your personal style, you might not look at these two drawbacks as dealbreakers. This is especially true when you consider the way this grilled option turns out.
The first drawback of this option involves the corn’s potential to become dry. If you’re not keeping your eye on the corn, it can dry quickly. However, if you’re intentional with turning the corn over routinely and brush the marinade on while the corn is on the grill, you should avoid this issue.
Another drawback for many people involves the prep work. Yes, the preparation process isn’t necessarily the quickest. However, it’s not difficult to get it done. Plus, when you bite into the finished product, it tends to make all of the work worth the effort.
Grilling Corn on the Cob and the Various Options
Try all three options. Use your family members as guinea pigs. As you try different options, consider which ones you like the most. When you discover the favorite among the three, learn to customize it with your own spice blend, butter choices and more. You’ll also want to take the occasion into consideration. Some options will work best for large amounts of people and others are better for small crowds. Before long, you’ll become the grilled corn expert for every family barbecue.