This corn-on-the-cob guide is designed to pave your way to delicious, flavorful and moist corn. From choosing the right cob to prepping it, grilling and finally serving it, we have added every possible information to make the cooking simpler for you. So, without any further delay, let’s talk about how to grill corn on the cob without husks.
Search for the Right Corncobs
Grilling corn wrapped in the husk saves it from losing moisture or burning. As the husk contains some percentage of water, the heat evaporates it to form steam. Consequently, the steam helps in keeping the corn moist and juicier. Whereas the outer layer also works as a shield to protect kernels from burning.
On the contrary, when you plan to grill without the husk, there are more chances of burning or drying out. To avoid this, you need to find the freshest corn available in the market. It is better to skip going to the supermarket. Instead, pay a visit to the farmer’s market or look out for roadside stands.
As a matter of fact, when the corncob is harvested, the sugar content in it undergoes certain enzymatic reactions which makes the corn blander and tough. Hence, buying freshly picked corn is the only way to ensure they will have the best taste and moisture level.
In case you find it difficult to choose a fresh ear of corn, here’s what you need to look for:
- The husk of fresh corn is bright green and sometimes even damp.
- The husk should be tightly wrapped around the cob.
- The tassels on top of the cob should be brown and sticky. Black and dried out tassels are an indication of old cob.
- The kernels from the top of the husk should feel plump and full.
- Avoid buying a corncob with small brown holes on the husk. They are wormholes and of course, you wouldn’t wish to grill corn with worms inside.
Prepping Corn for Grilling
Once you’ve bought the corn, start the grilling procedure as soon as possible. Remove the husk and dump it in the compost bin (don’t miss the chance of treating your plants).
Below the husk, you will find cornsilk. Remove it as much as you can; however, pulling out every single strand is not the goal here. You can leave those difficult-to-remove stray bits, they will char while grilling.
Can’t figure out the husk removing method? Here’s what you can do:
- Heat the corncob in a microwave. (4 minutes/corncob)
- Hold the cob firmly and cut it from one inch above the tip.
- Hold and shake the cob from the cut end while squeezing it from the uncut end. Your corn will slide out of the husk silk-free!
Should You Brine a Corncob?
When it comes to treating corncob, many speak in favor of it, and many don’t really appreciate the idea. According to the brining enthusiasts, tossing corncob in a salt-water mixture for around 60 minutes helps to keep the grilled cob juicy and tender.
However, when it comes to experimenting with the idea, the kernels were observed deflating after brining. The salt, an ingredient supposed to make the kernels tender and plump, resulted in extracting the moisture out of them. Therefore, it is best to avoid soaking your corncob before grilling it.
If you wish to add a salty flavor to your corn, sprinkle it once you are done grilling. Whereas soaking for tenderness is not required when you have bought the fresh corncobs.
Should You Oil the Corncob?
You can either brush some vegetable oil on the corncobs, rub some butter or toss them right away on the grill. The oil and butter are found helpful in keeping the cob from sticking to the grates, however, this does not mean you no longer need to care about burning. Remain attentive throughout the grilling process or you will end up charring the kernels.
How to Grill Corn on the Cob Without Husks
Step 1: Preheat the Grill
Grilling corncob is not at all about cooking on low heat. Because leaving your cob for long in the grill will turn it dry and mushy. So, heat the grill to about 350°F.
Also, there’s no need to set up direct or indirect heating zones. You will be cooking your corn over direct heat.
Step 2: Start Grilling!
Transfer your corncobs on the grill and wait for 1-2 minutes or until the color of kernels starts turning golden brown. As a small area of your cob is cooked at one time, you will need to promptly rotate it for even grilling. Don’t let the kernels overcook or once they turn black, there’s no way you can turn them back into edible form.
Overall, it takes around 10-15 minutes to grill corn. However, depending upon the temperature of your grill, the cooking time may vary.
Step 3: Serve
Though you can serve the corncob right after grilling, there are some recipes that can further intensify the taste profile. Our favorite one is the Mexican grilled corn recipe.
For this, you will need to whisk 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of lime juice and one tablespoon of smoked paprika and chili powder. Brush this mixture and melted butter over the grilled cobs.
Next, sprinkle grated Cotija cheese and a pinch of salt. That’s all, your smoky corn with the perfect combination of flavors is ready to serve!
Flavor Profile of a Grilled Corn
Corn grilled without husk tastes quite different from boiled corn, microwaved corn, or corn grilled with husk. With this recipe, don’t expect the corn taste and sweetness to be dominant. There will be more BBQ flavor i.e., a smoky, charred or nutty flavor profile with nuances of sweetness.
Moreover, you can also add extra flavors to your corn by rubbing butter and sprinkling salt/dry rub over the cob when it’s grilled halfway.
Corn isn’t something you will find throughout the year. It’s frequently available from the months of May till September. If you are fortunate enough to read this guide during peak season, don’t miss out on trying grilling it.
Cooking on the direct flame without husk is outright the favorite method of BBQ enthusiasts. As nothing can beat the charred and caramelized flavors it leaves on your corncob.