Fresh grilled corn on the cob is a whole different flavor experience. The flavor is richer, deeper, the sugars are enhanced, and you get that slightly charred taste. Not to mention, making corn on the grill is easy and less work for the cook—no husking! Cooking corn outside keeps the heat and mess out of the house, too.
These are all excellent reasons to cook corn on the grill. But what if you don’t have a traditional grill with grates? What if, like many of us, you’ve made the switch to a flat top griddle-style grill? Can you still cook your corn on the cob on the grill?
Good news—you can!
Cooking Corn on a Flat Top Grill
There are some real benefits to switching to a flat top grill. These large griddle styles, similar to what is used in commercial kitchens for cooking all sorts of foods, can cook a large amount of food all at once. The food doesn’t dry out like it can with regular grated grills and flame grilling, either.
Fats can still run off from a flat top grill, they just run down the griddles to a grease trap that whisks them away—which means the meat is plenty healthy, and you have no fat dripping directly onto open flames and no flare-ups and fires. That is a great save for your food, and your meat never comes off the grill, tasting like jerky!
Some of the disadvantages (a word used lightly here) are that the grills don’t have top covers that can be closed like most gas and charcoal grills have. This isn’t a problem, as such; it only means you need to adjust what and how you cook on your flat grill.
You might think foods like corn on the cob would be impossible to grill on a flat top because of this. Corn is difficult to cook without all-around heat. With a little forward thinking, the job can easily be done on a flat top grill.
Corn On a Flat Top Grill or Griddle: How To
You can roast corn on a flat top grill in just a few simple steps.
- Do Not Husk – For the best results, don’t husk the corn. If you’ve already husked it, this method will still work, but next time try it with the husks on.
- Soak the Corn – Submerge the corn in a sink of cold water (or a basin or a bucket). Fill it until all the corn is covered. The corn is likely to float, which is okay. You can weigh it down with a plate or just roll it in the water periodically. Even if you don’t weigh it down or roll it around, the husks will do a good job of wicking up the water anyway.
Leave the corn in the water to soak for at least 30 to 60 minutes. You can soak it for several hours ahead of time. Soaking the corn saturates the husks, and when you cook the corn, the wet husks will steam the corn kernels.
- Preheat the grill – Preheat the grill top. Use medium to medium-high heat and preheat all the burners you plant to cook the corn on.
- Wrap in Foil – Remove the corn from the water, then wrap the ears in foil. The corn will cook the best if you keep the ears in single layers, but if space is an issue, you can do double layers of ears, too. You can wrap the ears individually if you like, but it’s the fastest and easiest to wrap three or four ears of corn together in each packet. Three or four ears will flip and turn easily for you without it wanting to come apart.
*This step is technically optional with the husks on, but it does help keep the moisture in, which helps to steam the corn more evenly and more quickly. Another choice would be to use a large rectangular basting cover. If you husked the corn, you will need to wrap it to get the corn to cook evenly.
- Place on the Grill – Place the wrapped packets of soaked corn on the preheated grill.
- Roast the Corn -- Cook the corn packets for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.
- Turn Corn Packets while Roasting -- Turn the packets periodically as they roast. Turn them about every 5 to 10 minutes while roasting. This will ensure both sides are evenly cooked and the corn steams well all around.
- Test for Doneness – Check an ear of corn after about 20 to 25 minutes of steam roasting. It’s best to peel back the foil and husk to check the kernels. Take care when handling the packets and ears—they will be very hot!
Steam will also escape as you peel back the husk, so be aware and take care. This is one of those times where heat resistant gloves come in handy! If the corn is not ready yet, close the husks and the foil and continue to roast for another 5 to 10 minutes (longer as needed to desired doneness).
- Remove packets from Heat – When the corn is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the heat. The corn will be very hot and hard to handle, so it’s wise to let it rest for 10 or more minutes before serving.
Be aware that even after resting the ears will still be very hot. Take care in handling and help children. To help the corn cool faster, remove the foil. The husks will continue to hold a lot of heat, too.
- Enjoy! That’s it! You’re ready to eat your fresh corn on the cob cooked right on your flat top grill!
Tip: Feel Free to Cook the Corn Ahead of Other Foods
As mentioned, corn that is steam roasted in the husk this way will stay hot for a very long time—often as long as an hour. It can easily be cooked ahead of time and still be plenty hot enough to serve for as long as an hour.
Corn can take up a lot of space on a grill, so if you’re pressed for space to cook your whole meal on your flat top, cook the corn first, then let it rest and cool while you cook the rest of your meal. The husks provide amazingly good insulation to hold in heat.
If you want to keep the corn hotter for longer, cover the tray with a couple of heavy towels or put the ears of corn, still with the husks on, in an insulated cooler (without ice or ice packs). The insulation will keep the corn hot for a long time—a couple of hours or more.
This makes this an especially nice option for when you are entertaining or cooking for a crowd.
Tip 2: Corn Can Come Off the Grill a Little Undercooked
When deciding on doneness, if your corn will sit for 10 minutes or more before you eat it, it’s fine to take it off the grill a little undercooked. The corn will stay hot and will continue to cook in the husks and in the packets. If you are keeping it in an insulated cooler, it will continue to cook in there, too.
You may find it is better to take the corn off a little underdone rather than fully cooked or overcooked so it is served at just the right level of doneness.
Other Helpful Accessories for Cooking Corn on a Flat Top Grill
There are a few tools and accessories that you might find helpful when roasting whole ears of corn on a flat top grill. Some recommended tools include:
- Large, flat spatula for turning corn packets
- Basting Cover if you want to skip the foil and use a cover to steam roast the corn instead. Rectangular Basting Covers work best for corn. This is a lower waste option.
- Heat resistant gloves make turning and handling the corn and packets safe and easy
- Basting brushes are handy for putting on melted butter and seasonings
- Tongs are a good way to serve and handle ears of corn or turn individual ears on the grill
- Squeeze bottles are good for drizzling melted butter or other unique sauces and corn toppings
- A Large Platter will be helpful for serving
Of these, the two that you absolutely must have are a good spatula and a set of tongs to safely turn and handle the corn on and off the grill.
Corn on the cob is delicious when cooked on a flat top grill. With these easy instructions, you have one more way to make good use of your griddle-top grill and keep the heat and mess out of your kitchen!