The secret to perfectly grilled corn? Cook them unhusked


Soaking corn in salted water before grilling unhusked keeps kernels moist and seasons them, too.

Soaking corn in salted water before grilling unhusked keeps kernels moist and seasons them, too. Photo by: Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP


America's Test Kitchen



Grilling corn sounds like a simple proposition -- but our research found dozens of variations on the cooking method for this classic summer vegetable. 


For a recipe that produced corn with a distinctly grilled taste and lightly charred kernels, we grilled the corn unhusked. The grill imparted great flavor to our grilled corn, but also made the kernels tough and dry. To avoid this, we soaked the husked corn in salted water before grilling, which kept the kernels moist and seasoned them as well. 


If your corn isn't as sweet as you'd like, stir 1/2 cup of sugar into the water along with the salt. Avoid soaking the corn for more than 8 hours, or it will become overly salty. 






Servings: 4-6 


Start to finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes 




Salt and pepper 


8 ears corn, husks and silks removed 


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 




  • In large pot, stir 1/2 cup salt into 4 quarts cold water until dissolved (add 1/2 cup sugar, if desired). Add corn and let soak for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. 


  • For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. 


  • For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. 


  • Clean and oil cooking grate. Grill corn, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until kernels are lightly charred all over, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove corn from grill, brush with softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Serve. 


    Nutrition information per serving: 222 calories; 107 calories from fat; 12 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 27 mg cholesterol; 199 mg sodium; 30 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 5 g protein.



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