If you are throwing a protein on the grill, it makes perfect sense to throw on a vegetable at the same time and keep even more mess out of the kitchen. Once you learn how to grill corn on the cob in foil, you will never want to boil a pot of water again! Grilled corn on the cob is perfection. Just look at this and tell me you don’t want to take a bite!
Oh man, if you have never had grilled corn on the cob before you are in for a treat!
🍽️ Why This Works
Caramelization. Corn has a high natural sugar content, and heating it up on the grill to get a little char activates that sugar in the most delicious way.
No mess. You can literally throw away your cooking vessel (foil) and keep all of the mess out of the kitchen and off of the grill. Clean up is the easiest thing ever.
Ready when your meat is ready. No more starting a pot to boil first and waiting while it slowly comes up to temp. A watched pot never boils anyway, so this feels like an exercise in futility. Grill your corn instead and watch it all come together perfectly.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Corn on the Cob – You don’t need the husks, so if you can buy the corn already cleaned or shuck at the grocery store go ahead and do that so you can look for equally sized, filled out and firm ears of corn with no bad spots. If you can pick up sweet corn at a local farmer’s market that’s the good stuff.
Butter – Set your butter out to come to room temperature. Of course you can use a dairy-free butter substitute if you need to, but if it’s about health and not allergies just go for the real thing.
Salt and Pepper – Corn on the cob cooked in foil is tasty by itself in butter, but adding a little salt and pepper just elevates the delicacy even more.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
- Grill. This is so much more fun than boiling a big pan on the stove! Plus, I just love what those char marks do with the sugar in the corn.
- Aluminum Foil. Seals in the heat and the butter and allows the corn to basically steam itself.
- BBQ Brush. A pastry brush or the back of a spoon to smear butter on the corn.
Step One: Shuck the corn and remove the silks. Once all, or at least most, of the silks are off the cob give it a quick rinse.
Step Two: Use a pastry brush to smother your own in the room temperature butter. Don’t use melted butter, since it will just run off the corn and not get into all of the cracks and crevices.
Step Three: Wrap each cob of corn individually in foil. Make sure to wrap it up tightly so that it is sealed and doesn’t leak out butter.
Step Four: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Let’s talk about the best way to grill corn on the cob in foil.
To shuck a corn cob, peel back the green husk and remove it. If necessary you can break the base off to remove the husk fully. Once the husk is removed, you need to remove all of the corn silk. Rub your hands up and down quickly over the cob to quickly and easily remove most of the silk. Pesky pieces can be picked off individually. A vegetable brush also comes in very handy to remove the silks.
If you grew up in the country shucking corn by the trunkful you might view this task as a drudgery. I have a piece of advice. Give the job to your kids. Kids without that history love shucking corn!
If you find any messy spots on your corn where it has dried out, started to go bad, or gotten eaten by an animal, you can trim that section off with a knife.
Cut off the end of the cob at the base to clean it up. You can also cut the tip end if you want to use cob holders. Cob holders are small handles with steel prongs that stick into the ends of the corn and give you something to hold onto while eating fresh, hot corn on the cob.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Leftover corn on the cob can be kept for up to a week or so. It will start to get mushy or slimy when it goes bad.
Place your leftover cobs in a plastic zipper bag or an airtight container in the refrigerator to save it for later.
You also have the option of cutting the corn off the cob for future use. This corn can be refrigerated or frozen and used within one week in soup, casseroles, stews, or just reheated with butter.
Frozen corn cut off the cob and stored in a plastic zipper bag can be kept for up to a year in a deep freeze and reheated in the microwave or saucepan on the stovetop. Add butter and heavy cream for a special treat.
To reheat corn on the cob, place it in a microwave for twenty to thirty seconds. When it is hot enough to melt butter, it’s ready to eat. You can also drop cold corn on the cob into a pot of boiling water for a minute or two to reheat it quickly.
Additions and Substitutions
Do you love seasoning? Quite a few dry rubs also work to flavor-up your grilled corn on the cob in foil. Try a sweet and smoky rub or a pineapple rub for starters. We love making Grilled Beer Corn on the Cob to eat on its own or turn it into Beer Corn Crack Dip.
Use this same concept and apply the seasonings of the Grilled Mexican Street Corn – Elote.
No foil in the house? Try grilling your corn on the cob in the husk instead.
Corn on the cob goes with any meat you’ve ever smoked or grilled. It works with all different kinds of cuisine and the leftovers will integrate into dozens of recipes. The sweetness hints at dessert, but the savory goodness resonates with perfect contrast to mild or spicy, smokey or sweet, acidic or smooth. Try it with Smoked Chicken Legs, Smoked Chuck Roast, or Grilled Stuffed Copper River Salmon.
Leftover corn is amazing on salads, nachos, tacos, rice bowls, soups, stews, stir fry, and even as a sweet topping on baked potatoes!
❓ Recipe FAQ
About twenty minutes on medium-high heat. If your grill runs hot, watch the corn closely and flip it more often to prevent burning. In that case, it will be finished sooner.
Yes. Increase your cook time to 25-30 minutes at medium high heat.
*To freeze whole cobs of fresh summer sweet corn, blanch the cobs for four minutes in boiling water and then drain them and place them in a freezer-quality plastic bag. Sealed and frozen, the ears will keep for six months in a deep freeze. Of course, you can also buy frozen corn a the grocery store, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good and can get rubbery fast.
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- 4 ears Corn
- 4 oz Butter room temperature
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start with removing the husks off of the ears of corn, including the corn silk strings. Cut off the end of the corn to clean it up. Rinse.
- Brush the corn with the room temperature butter with the bbq brush on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place one ear of corn in a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it up tight so the butter doesn't leak out.
- Heat up the grill to medium high heat. Cook the corn for a total of 20 minutes, turning over at the 10 minute mark.