When done right, grilled corn results in sweet, tender kernels with a pleasant char.
Which leads to a common question: Do I grill my corn with the husk on or off?
The good news is you can do both, but one way yields much better results.
The answer may surprise you.
Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter
Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!
Grilling corn with the husk on actually produces more charred corn. Think of the husk as a protective blanket. It traps steam, allowing the kernels to simultaneously tenderize and achieve smoky char.
Grilled corn with the husk on couldn’t be easier. Simply cut and remove silk protruding from top of each ear of corn cob. Throw your corn on the grill, cover, and cook, turning the corn every few minutes, until the husks have blackened all over.
Advantages? It’s a one-step process. You’ll have more char. Plus, the corn silk lends a pleasant grassy flavor to your corn.
Vegetables IllustratedThe best-selling cookbook for anyone looking for fresh, modern ways to add more vegetables to their everyday diet. Covering 70 vegetables, Vegetables Illustrated has you covered for every vegetable and every season.
Counterintuitively, grilling with the husk off requires more work. Our testers found that throwing huskless corn straight onto the grill led to tough, dry kernels.
To grill corn without the husk, you’ll need to brine the corn first. In a large pot, stir ½ cup of salt into 4 quarts of cold water until dissolved. Add your corn and let it soak for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Then go ahead and grill your corn, turning it every 2 to 3 minutes, until the kernels are lightly charred all over.
Advantages? Still easy. Plus, you’ll get nothing but that sweet, charred corn flavor, should “grassy” not be palatable to you.
Disadvantage? It requires an extra step.
To husk or not to husk? Our recommendation: husks on.