You can grill fresh corn on the cob off to the side while you’re doing burgers and steaks, but that doesn’t mean you should treat it as an afterthought. Use sweet corn purchased within a day of its harvest to get the best results from grilling.

Things You'll Need

Prep and Precooking

Grasp the clump of corn silk, or tassle, at the top and pull it straight down the cob to the base. Pull the corn silks off then soak the cobs for 10 minutes in salted water. Fold the husks back over the corn to protect it during grilling. Grill the corn over medium heat for 15 minutes, then finish with your choice of seasonings and sauces.

Butter-Bourbon Barbecue

Butter-bourbon barbecue sauce adds a smoky kick to corn that pairs with just about anything you grill alongside it. Bring your favorite barbecue sauce to a simmer over low heat, add a generous splash of bourbon and some butter, stir to combine the ingredients, and then set it aside. Grill the corn, turning it occasionally, until it’s charred and tender, then brush the ears with barbecue sauce. Keep the corn on the heat until it’s caramelized and sticky, about 2 to 3 minutes, then garnish with freshly chopped chives.

Asian Sensation

Corn might be a distinctly American food, but that doesn’t mean it can’t borrow some style from the Far East for a fusion fiesta. Mix 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with a pinch of sugar to brush on each ear of corn; let them sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. Brush the corn with Sriracha and grill it over indirect heat, turning it occasionally, until it’s tender. Lightly brush sesame oil over each ear and garnish with freshly torn cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

The Cobfather

Fresh corn’s natural sweetness pairs so well with the tastes of Italy you would think it grew alongside tomatoes in Tuscany. Put an Italian spin on corn by rubbing it with olive oil and grilling it until it’s tender and charred all over. Then, rub the cut surface of a halved garlic clove over the kernels while they’re still smoking hot. Sprinkle roughly chopped basil leaves on a plate and roll the ears over them; finish with a garnish of chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Muy Mexicano

From Leon to Los Angeles, “elotes,” or Mexican grilled corn, is a summer street-food staple. Mix equal parts crumbled cotija cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream along with minced garlic and cayenne pepper to taste; set it aside. Grill the corn until it’s charred and tender, then liberally slather the mixture over each cob. Roll the corn in crumbled cotija cheese and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro; serve with lime wedges.

Honey-Glazed Maize

The spicy-sweet balance of honey-glazed corn spiked with toasted chili flakes perks up the palate with a pinch of peppered piquancy. Toast the chili flakes in a saute pan over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Warm honey and a generous squeeze of lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat and stir in some butter; set it aside. Keeping it away from direct flames, grill the corn until it’s tender, then lightly brush it with the honey glaze and return it to the grill until it’s caramelized and sticky, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted chili flakes and freshly chopped mint over the corn to taste.

Southwestern Summer

Take a jaunt to the Southwest for a version of grilled corn that combines salty, sweet, smoky and sour in each bite. Add butter to a food processor along with pungent ingredients, such as fresh garlic and ancho chilies, and fresh herbs, such as coriander and oregano, followed by a generous squeeze of lime. Pulse until the ingredients combine. Grill the corn until it’s tender, then slather it with the herb butter and garnish with minced chipotle peppers.