The Best Basic Grilled Corn

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

The Best Basic Grilled Corn

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Vicky Wasik]

So, what's the best way to grill corn? I frequently use three different methods, and each has its distinct advantages and drawbacks. But that doesn't mean I don't have a favorite. Here's the best way I know of to make basic grilled corn, cooked on a hot fire until blistered and charred, served with butter and salt.

Why It Works

  • Shucking the corn before grilling imparts smoky, charred flavor to the kernels, which you don't get from grilling corn in the husk.
  • Grilling your corn naked also helps it cook faster.
  • Yield:Serves 8
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ears corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 1/2 stick butter (2 ounces; 55g)
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. 1.

    Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  2. 2.

    Place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and fully tender, about 10 minutes total.

  3. 3.

    Remove corn from grill and allow to rest for 2 minutes. Roll in butter, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.