Grilling Corn on the Cob with no foil and no husks is the easy way to get great char to add to the wonderful taste of fresh corn in only 10 minutes over medium heat.
The perfect grilling side dish for any grilled meal. It is easy, cheap, and so good.
Corn still in the husk or wrapped in aluminum foil will steam cook from the trapped moisture. While without the covering, the corn will develop char, a Maillard reaction, with adds lots of extra flavor you will love.
- Ears of corn
- Vegetable oil
- For serving—salt, black pepper, butter.
- Other seasoning options—smoky paprika, Old Bay seasoning if served with seafood, or Ranch powder.
👨🍳How to grill corn on the cob without aluminum foil or husks.
- Husk and clean corn. Brush with vegetable oil and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, turning and moving around every 2-3 minutes.
- Cook until the kernels are charred to your liking.
- Salt, pepper, and butter or other seasoning you choose to taste.
🌡️What grill temperature to grill corn on the cob?
The best grill temperature to grill corn on the cob is 400° to 450° which is medium to medium-high on most gas grills—the same temperature range for most grilled chicken recipes and pork, like grilled pork chops and grilled pork tenderloins. This is the correct temperature for husked, unhusked, or foil wrapped corn.
It will take about 10 minutes to grill corn out of the husk and not in foil at 450°.
Grilling at high temperatures may burn the surface of the corn before it is cooked. If you are cooking a grilled strip steak or grilled burger, which require a high grill temperature, decrease the heat in an area of the grill for the corn.
Charcoal grills may be used, but it is harder to control the grill temperature. For more discussion, see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
🌽How to Pick the Best Corn
- Do not peel back the husk to look; it provides no useful information and will accelerate the deterioration of that corn—bad for you if you buy it and for the seller if you don't.
- Where you get your corn is the first step to the best corn. The best, in order, is your garden, your neighbor's vegetable stand, the farmer's market, and finally, the supermarket.
- Examine the tassel; it should be brown and silky, not black and dry, which are signs of older corn.
- The husk should be bright green and tight against the corn. It should have good moisture and not be turning yellow or brown on the edges.
- Look for little brown holes in the husk, usually near the top. Those are wormholes. Just say no.
- Feel the kernels through the husk to ensure they are even and plump.
There are several hundred types of corn on the cob, commonly called sweet corn. Some have enhanced the sweetness; unless you planted the corn, you wouldn’t know the variety.
What you can control is the freshness since the sugar in the corn starts to deteriorate rapidly as soon as picked and, in 3-4 days, will be mostly starch. The easiest route for most of us to the sweetest corn is getting the freshest corn.
Both methods depend on the internal moisture of the corn to steam cook it in a closed space. Both will take about 20 minutes or more to cook at 450°, although the corn with husks may take a few more minutes. Be sure to rotate every 5 minutes.
To grill in the husk, soak the corn in the husk in water for 20 minutes after trimming off the silks and loose husk. To grill in foil, remove all husk and silks and wrap tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or double wrap in standard foil.
Mexican street corn, known as elote, is sold by street vendors. The husk is peeled back and tied with twine, then grilled and coated with a spicy sauce of mayo, sour cream, crumbly cheese, and spices, commonly topped with lime juice and cilantro.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Husk and clean corn of silks. Brush with vegetable oil and a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper.
Grill over medium-high heat of 400° to 450° surface temperature for 8-10 minutes, turning and moving around every 2-3 minutes. Cook until you are getting the char you want.
Salt, pepper, and butter to taste.
Grilling Corn on the Cob (no foil and no husks)
- 2 ears corn - husked and cleaned, do as many as you need
- vegetable oil
- butter - to taste
- Husk and clean corn of silks. Brush with vegetable oil and a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper.
- Grill over medium-high heat of 400° to 450° surface temperature for 8-10 minutes, turning and moving around every 2-3 minutes. Cook until you are getting the char you want.
- Salt, pepper, and butter to taste.
Your Own Private Notes
- Assuming you are cooking this with something else, corn can tolerate a hot grill but cooks much faster and can burn. Most chicken and most pork recipes are cooked at the suggested temperature for corn.
- Fresh corn equals the sweetest corn.
- You don't need to peek at the corn under the husk. The silk needs to be brown and moist. Not black and dry. The husk should be moist and bright green, and the kernels should feel full through the husk.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published August 20, 2010. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.