Corn and the Grill: Separating Fact from Fiction on Soaking

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Corn cooking on a grill on top of coals


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You may be wondering whether corn needs to be soaked prior to grilling. Soaking corn in water before grilling can help lock in moisture and prevent the kernels from drying out.

However, it is not necessary to soak corn before grilling. Some people prefer to grill their corn without soaking it first and achieve good results.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the desired texture of the corn.

Corn cooking on a grill on top of coals

What Is Grilled Corn?

Grilled corn is a flavorful and easy-to-make dish that’s great for summer barbecues or as a side to any meal. It involves cooking fresh ears of corn on the grill until they’re slightly charred and tender.

The key to making delicious grilled corn is choosing the right type of corn, soaking it properly (if desired), seasoning it well, and grilling it correctly over direct or indirect heat.

Grilled corn can be served hot off the grill with butter, salt, pepper, or other seasonings. It can also be mixed in salads, salsas, dips, or used as a topping for tacos and burgers. With the right technique and ingredients, you can easily make mouthwatering grilled corn at home.

Type of Corn for Grilling

When it comes to grilling corn, the type of corn you choose can make a big difference in the overall flavor and texture of your grilled corn. There are two main types of corn that are typically used for grilling: sweet corn and field corn.

Sweet Corn: Sweet corn is the most commonly used type of corn for grilling because it has a higher sugar content and is much more tender than field corn. It’s also less starchy, which means that it will cook faster on the grill. You can typically find fresh sweet corn at your local farmer’s market or grocery store during peak growing season (June-August).

Field Corn: While not as popular for grilling as sweet corn, some people do prefer using field corn because it has a firmer texture and can hold up better on the grill without becoming too soft or mushy. Field Corn tends to have less natural sugars than sweetcorn resulting in less sweetness but more robust flavors.

Overall, if you’re new to grilling and aren’t sure which type of corn to use, we’d recommend going with sweetcorn – especially if you’re planning on serving it as a side dish or topping for something else. However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more bite or plan to incorporate grilled corn into other dishes like salsas or salads then give field corne try!

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is the most popular type of corn used for grilling because of its tender and juicy kernels. This variety is usually available in grocery stores during the summertime, when it’s in season.

One advantage of using sweet corn for grilling is that it doesn’t require as much cooking time as field corn due to its softer texture. This means you can cook it quickly over direct heat without worrying about burning or drying out the kernels.

When selecting sweet corn for grilling, look for ears that are plump and evenly sized with bright green husks. Avoid ears that have brown or wilted leaves or feel light and dry to the touch.

To prepare sweet corn for grilling, peel back the husks but don’t remove them completely. Remove any visible silk threads from between the kernels and then replace the husks over the kernels, securing them with a piece of kitchen string.

Soaking sweet corn before grilling isn’t necessary if you plan on cooking it over direct heat because this method will cook the kernels perfectly fine without any additional moisture. However, if you prefer softer and more flavorful kernels, soaking them in water with salt or sugar can help infuse flavor and add moisture to prevent drying out while on the grill.

Field Corn

Field corn, also known as dent corn or maize, is primarily used for animal feed and industrial purposes. It has a tougher husk and kernels that are less sweet than sweet corn. However, it can still be grilled to achieve a delicious smoky flavor.

When grilling field corn, it’s important to soak the ears in water before cooking. This allows the husks to absorb moisture and prevent them from burning on the grill. Soaking field corn for at least 30 minutes will suffice.

After soaking, you can season the corn with your favorite spices or herbs such as chili powder or garlic butter. Then wrap each ear of corn tightly with aluminum foil before grilling over direct heat for about 10-12 minutes per side.

Once cooked, remove the foil and enjoy your perfectly grilled field corn. It pairs well with savory dishes like barbecue chicken or steak.

While not as popular as sweet corn for grilling, field corn is a great option if you’re looking to switch things up at your next barbecue. Just remember to soak it beforehand and add plenty of seasoning to enhance its natural flavors!

Soaking Corn Before Grilling

As a helpful neighbor, I highly recommend soaking your corn before grilling it. Soaking corn in water or milk can help keep the kernels moist and tender during grilling, preventing them from drying out or getting tough.

There are several advantages to soaking corn before grilling. Firstly, it helps add flavor to the corn by infusing it with moisture and any added seasonings you might use in the soaking liquid. Secondly, it helps to reduce cooking time and prevent burning on the grill.

But does all corn need to be soaked? Generally speaking, sweet corn benefits most from soaking because of its delicate texture. Field corn is tougher and more resilient, so it may not require as much pre-soaking.

If you do decide to soak your corn before grilling, there are a few ways you can go about doing so. You can soak your ears of corn in cold water for up to two hours before grilling them. Alternatively, you can soak them in a mixture of milk and water for an hour or two for even more moisture infusion.

In conclusion, while not absolutely necessary for all types of corn used in grilling (especially field corn), soaking your sweetcorn beforehand can provide some real advantages when done correctly and ultimately results in deliciously grilled cobs that are worth every ounce of preparation effort!

Advantages of Soaking Corn

As a helpful neighbor, I’m here to tell you that soaking your corn before grilling can have some real advantages. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Moisture: Soaking your corn in water or milk helps to add moisture to the kernels, which can prevent them from drying out or burning on the grill.
  2. Flavor: Soaking your corn in certain flavorful liquids like garlic butter or beer can help infuse flavor into the kernels, making for a tastier bite.
  3. Softening: If you’re using older or tougher corn, soaking it before grilling can help soften it up and make it easier to eat.
  4. Even Cooking: When you soak your ears of corn before grilling, they’ll cook more evenly because the heat will be distributed throughout each kernel instead of just on one side.

But does corn really need to be soaked before grilling? Let’s explore that next!

Does Corn Need to be Soaked Before Grilling?

Soaking corn before grilling is a widely debated topic among grill enthusiasts. Some swear by it, while others think it’s an unnecessary step.

Advocates of soaking corn argue that it adds moisture to the husks and prevents them from burning while on the grill. It also helps to steam the kernels inside, creating a tender and juicy texture.

However, some believe that soaking is not necessary as long as you keep the husks intact and properly cook your corn on the grill. If you prefer a smoky flavor in your corn, then grilling without soaking may produce better results.

In conclusion, whether or not to soak your corn before grilling ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you want a juicier texture with less charred husk, then soaking may be worth trying out. For those who prefer a more charred flavor and like their kernels slightly crispy, skip this step altogether!

How to Soak Corn Before Grilling?

Soaking corn before grilling can help the kernels retain moisture and prevent them from drying out while on the grill. Here’s a simple method to soak your corn:

  1. Fill a large container with water – enough to fully submerge your ears of corn.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the water. This will help flavor the corn and enhance its natural sweetness.
  3. Place your ears of corn in the container, making sure they are fully submerged in the saltwater mixture.
  4. Let the corn soak for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 8 hours.

It’s important not to let your corn soak for too long as it may become overly salty or lose some of its texture.

Once you’ve soaked your corn, you can either grill it on direct heat or indirect heat depending on how charred you like your kernels. Be sure to remove any excess moisture from the surface of each ear with paper towels prior to seasoning and grilling for optimal results!

Preparing Corn for Grilling

Preparing corn for grilling is an important step that can make a big difference in the final product. Here are some tips to ensure your corn is ready for the grill:

  • Cleaning Corn: Start by removing the husks and as much of the silk as possible. To do this, simply peel back the husk and remove any silk that you see. For a more thorough clean, you can rinse it under running water.
  • Seasoning Corn: One of the best things about grilled corn is its versatility when it comes to seasoning. You can use anything from simple salt and butter to more complex seasonings like chili powder or garlic butter. Make sure to brush or rub your seasoning onto every inch of the cob for even flavor distribution.
  • Wrapping Corn: Some people prefer to wrap their corn before grilling it. This can help keep it moist while on the grill, but be sure not to wrap it too tightly or you risk steaming instead of grilling your corn.

By properly preparing your corn before grilling, you ensure that all flavors penetrate evenly throughout each kernel – resulting in deliciously satisfying bites every time!

Cleaning Corn

Before you start grilling your corn, it’s important to clean it properly. You don’t want any dirt or silk ruining the taste of your grilled corn.

To clean the corn, start by removing the outer husks and most of the silk. A little bit of silk is fine, but make sure you remove as much as possible to avoid a burnt taste on your grilled corn.

Next, rinse the ears of corn in cold water and use a vegetable brush or cloth to scrub off any remaining dirt or silk. Make sure you get into all the crevices for a thorough cleaning.

Once cleaned, pat dry with paper towels before seasoning and grilling. And that’s it! Cleaning corn for grilling doesn’t have to be complicated – just remember to remove most of the silk and rinse well before cooking.

Now that we’ve tackled cleaning our corn for grilling, let’s move on to seasoning our sweet or field corn in preparation for its delicious flame-grilled finish.

Seasoning Corn

Seasoning corn is an essential step to take if you want to add flavor and depth to your grilled corn. There are many options for seasoning, ranging from simple salt and butter to more complex spice blends.

One of the most popular seasonings for grilled corn is a mixture of butter, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin. This blend adds just the right amount of heat and citrusy tanginess that pairs perfectly with sweet corn.

Another option is to use a garlic herb butter. Simply mix softened butter with minced garlic, fresh herbs like parsley or chives, salt, and pepper. Brush this mixture onto your grilled corn for an elevated flavor profile.

For those who prefer simpler flavors, just brushing on some melted butter with a sprinkle of salt can be enough. It’s important not to over-season your grilled corn as it can overpower the natural sweetness of the corn itself.

Remember that seasoning is all about personal preference so feel free to experiment with different blends until you find one that you love!

Is Soaking Corn Necessary for Flat Top Grilling?

When it comes to flat top grilling, many beginners wonder if soaking corn is necessary. Well, according to the flat top grilling beginner’s guide, soaking corn is not mandatory. While soaking can add moisture, it might hinder the caramelization process. However, if you prefer a softer texture, you can certainly soak the corn before placing it on the hot grill.

Grilling Corn

Grilling corn is a great way to add some flavor and texture to this summer staple. And luckily, it’s quite easy to do! Whether you’re using direct heat or indirect heat, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when grilling corn.

Firstly, when cleaning the corn before grilling, make sure that all the husks and silks are removed. You don’t want any unwanted bits getting stuck on your teeth while enjoying your grilled corn.

Secondly, consider seasoning your corn with some butter or olive oil along with salt and pepper. This will help add flavor as well as prevent the kernels from drying out too much during grilling.

Now onto actually grilling the corn – if you’re using direct heat, it’s best to turn the cobs every 2-3 minutes for even cooking. If you’re using indirect heat (which means placing the cobs away from direct flames), then be prepared for a slightly longer cooking time of around 10-15 minutes depending on how hot your grill is.

And how do you know when your corn is done? Look for slightly charred kernels that are tender and juicy when bitten into. Overall, grilling is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh summer corn!

Direct Heat

When grilling corn, there are two methods of using direct heat. One is to simply place the corn directly on the grill, while the other involves wrapping it in foil before placing it on the grill.

Placing the corn directly on the grill is a quick and easy method that results in slightly charred kernels. To do this, preheat your grill to medium-high heat and place shucked ears of corn onto directly onto the grates. Rotate them periodically to ensure even cooking until they’re tender and have some char marks which should take about 8-10 minutes.

On the other hand, If you’d prefer less charred kernels with a more steamed texture then wrap your shucked ears of corn in aluminum foil tightly before placing them directly on coals or an area with high direct heat. Cook for 15–20 minutes turning occasionally till its fully cooked.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to keep an eye on your corn while it’s cooking so it doesn’t burn or overcook. When done right both these methods can give you incredibly flavorful cobs that pair perfectly with any backyard barbecue spread!

Indirect Heat

When grilling corn, using indirect heat is a great way to ensure that the kernels cook evenly without burning. To use indirect heat, start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Then, turn off one of the burners on your gas grill or push all of the coals to one side of your charcoal grill.

Place your corn on the cooler side of the grill and close the lid. The steam from the hot kernels will cook them through even without direct heat. Remember to flip them occasionally so they cook evenly on both sides.

Using indirect heat can take slightly longer than cooking with direct heat, but it’s worth it for perfectly cooked ears of corn every time. Plus, this method allows you to add toppings like butter or herbs without worrying about them burning.

Next up, we’ll go over how long you should be grilling your corn for depending on which grilling method you choose – direct or indirect heat.

Grilling Time for Corn

When it comes to grilling corn, timing is everything. Overcooked corn can become mushy and lose its flavor while undercooked corn will be tough and chewy.

The typical grilling time for sweet corn is around 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. The best way to determine if the corn is done is by piercing a kernel with a fork or knife – when it’s tender, the corn is ready.

If you want to add some smoky flavor to your grilled corn, try leaving the husks on while grilling. This will protect the kernels from burning and also keep them moist. Grilled husked corn should take about 20-30 minutes over indirect heat.

For field or dent corn, which has tougher kernels than sweetcorn, it’s recommended that you pre-cook them before grilling. Boil them first for around 5-10 minutes until they’re partially cooked before putting them on the grill.

Remember that different types of grill setups may affect cooking times as well! Always keep an eye on your food so it doesn’t burn, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different timings based on what works best for you and your grill setup!

Does Soaking Corn Before Grilling Really Make a Difference in Flavor?

When it comes to top grilling weekends explored, many people swear by soaking corn before grilling to enhance its flavor. Soaking corn in water for at least 30 minutes can make a difference by adding moisture and preventing the husk from burning. Give it a try and see the difference for yourself.


After exploring the various aspects of grilling corn, it’s clear that there are many factors to consider when preparing this delicious summer treat. From choosing the right type of corn to seasoning and grilling techniques, there is a lot to keep in mind.

One question that often arises in discussions about grilling corn is whether or not it needs to be soaked before cooking. While soaking can have some advantages, such as adding moisture and helping to prevent the husks from catching on fire, it is not strictly necessary.

Ultimately, whether or not you choose to soak your corn will depend on your personal preference and cooking style. If you prefer a more moist and tender kernel, then soaking may be worth considering. However, if you prefer a slightly firmer texture with a bit of char on the outside, then skipping the soak may be better for you.

Whatever approach you choose, be sure to take care when cleaning and seasoning your corn before grilling. And remember – there’s no one “right” way to grill corn. So experiment with different approaches until you find the technique that works best for you!