Chris Cooks

How to Grill Corn – Plus an Awesome Grilled Corn Salad

May 31, 2013

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I’ve been asked, not infrequently, how to grill corn. Unfortunately, the explanation is so long and intense that, unless I have a ton of spare time, I’m usually not able to explain it to them. Enter Blogsville. I can finally put it here, one time, and not have to go through hours and hours of tutorial every time someone asks me. So, are you ready for some serious note taking? Here we go.
Do this:
…what? Sure, it may look easy, but trust me when I say it’s totally… ok fine, it’s like the easiest thing on this planet to do. For real, just take your corn and put it on the grill, medium-high heat. Flip it around every few minutes – takes like 10-15 minutes total. The husk will get charred and burnt, and that’s fine. Some of that char will get through the husk to the kernels, and that’s also fine. In fact, that’s encouraged. Some people shuck the corn first, then wrap it in tin foil. What the wha??? Why on earth? You realize that some cultures wrap food in corn husk to cook it, right?
Another thing people do is shuck the corn and just toss it on the grill without anything wrapped around it. I don’t suggest this, because corn is best when cooked with liquid. By leaving the husk on, it steams the corn, and makes it taste awesome. Cooking it without the husk, it gets more char, but the kernels also shrivel up and get leathery and have a weird texture. So…just leave the husk on.
As a bonus to this post, I’ma show you how to make one of my favorite, favorite, favorite summer salads. Here’s what you need:
4 ears of corn, grilled and kernels cut from the cob, like so:
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 Cucumber, peeled and diced
3 Green Onions, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
Salt & Pepper
I had some heirloom tomatoes left over from the Caprese this week, so I used those. But you can use any tomato you want. Add everything together, stir it up, and ideally you’d let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. You can also add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), but I usually skip it.

There are two types of side dish – those that are meant to accompany something specific, and those that are versatile enough to accompany just about anything. This salad falls into the second group, and really shines with grilled meats, like chicken or pork chops. So bust it out and impress everyone. I’d be willing to put money down that you’ll get compliments on it. Just don’t botch the meat. ;)

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What do you think?

  1. john Lawshe says:

    Turn the corn(in husk) 1/4 turn for 5 minutes each. Been doing it this way for 50 years!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just made this tonight for my Bunco group and it was a huge hit! Thanks for a fresh and easy side dish.

  3. This looks so good! I’m going to try it this weekend. Any alternate seasoning suggestions for a cilantro hater? Parsley?

    • Parsley could be good, but don’t use as much of it. A better option might be basil, but if someone doesn’t like cilantro, they may not like basil either. You could also skip the herb part altogether. It definitely adds, but the salad would still be good without it.

  4. Kate says:

    Made this last nice – delicious, light and fresh tasting. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Oh man! This looks so good! Definitely giving this a try this summer!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping you’ll share where you find qreat quality produce in SF, or if you get it else where…I’m a produce snob. :)

  7. Man, you guys eat great.

  8. Ok….I did this totally wrong last week…like everything! But now I know how to do it right – Thank-you!

  9. Rebecca W. says:

    Thanks for calling me out on the corn in tin foil!

  10. I’m with ya, leave out the beans!

  11. Me says:

    I pull off like a layer or maybe two of the husk, but that’s cause I think that the charred parts are awesome. I also soak the corn for 10-15 min in sugar water (in the husk)… I think it makes it a little sweeter (might be placebo but I have done with and without in back to back weeks).

    After grilling corn the first time I wondered why anyone would ever cook it any other way. Totally easy, and husking it is SOOOO much simpler after it’s grilled. Grab whats left of the silk at the top, pinch between two fingers, and peel like a banana. All the silk comes off with no stragglers to get into your teeth. I’ll never cook corn on the cob another way again. EVER.

    • Seriously. I’ve also baked it in the oven at 375 for like 15 minutes, still in the husk (when my grill runs out of propane without me knowing). It’s not quite as good, but better than boiling. Baking requires trimming the silk at the top and the husk parts that stick out (so they don’t dry out and catch fire), but a decent alternative.

  12. Tara says:

    Amazing!! Perfect timing. My son’s first birthday party is next week and I was just trying to figure out what new fun side dishes I can make. I put the ingredients on my shopping list. THANK YOU!! Any other favorite simple side dishes for a bbq?

    I also wanted to say that I read your blog every day and I just adore your family. I have never commented before but know that I’m your fan. I love the addition of the recipes. Totally fits into my life of kids, home projects and cooking. Thanks for all the inspiration! Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks Tara! We’re glad to have you as our internet buddy. And tell your son happy birthday from us. It’ll mean nothing to him, since he probably has no clue who we are, but you can’t NOT wish someone a happy birthday after you find out it’s coming up, no matter how little you know them. :)

      For the barbecue, the broccoli salad I posted this past Monday is a great one. Or a simple fruit salad with oranges, strawberries and kiwi. And of course, who doesn’t love potato chips at a barbecue. :)

  13. This looks SO yummy. I love corn in the summer and am trying to find new flavours and new salads to create. Pinned it! Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Owl says:

    Yum, corn salad is delicious!! I make something very similar to this and add chick peas. yum yum.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Salad looks delicious! Do you soak your corn at all before throwing it on the grill?

    • I have, but I don’t usually because I didn’t notice a big difference. But, if you’re using some corn that looks a little dried out (the husk may be shriveled and crunchy), soaking it for 30 minutes or so first may help.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha. I was all ready to take notes! Never tried to grill corn, but even I could do this. Salad looks yummy too. Thanks for the tutorial Chris!

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