Shattered Dreams of Corn-on-the-Cob

Once upon a time, before the sun disappeared, we (my husband, our company, and I) grilled Caribbean Jerk Chicken on our most beloved barbecue grill.

Grill on deckThe grill makes a cameo appearance in this photo from this very old post.

The main dish was everything that grilled chicken should be: savoury, spicy, tender, and tangy.  Maybe someday I’ll post the recipe.

Unfortunately, for every good culinary success in my life, there is an equal and opposite culinary failure.  Last week’s particular failure was corn.  Specifically, corn-on-the-cob on the grill on the deck.  That is to say, in addition to grilling chicken on our deck/backyard barbecue, we also grilled corn-on-the-cob.  Prepositions, anyone?

Grilled corn on the cobOur corn-on-the-cob on the cookie sheet, ready to be grilled.

Now, I had heard nothing but praises about corn-on-the-cob on the grill, so I was eager to try this new way of corning.  (Corn is a verb, as of now.  Quick, tell all your friends.)  We did everything Google told us: Soak corn; remove outer husks; peel back inner husks; remove silks; brush with olive oil and spices/herbs (we used salt and fresh cilantro); replace inner husks; tie with cute leftover-husk bows; grill; eat.

I will say this for the corn-on-the-cob on the grill: It was strikingly good-looking.  So good-looking, in fact, that we photographed it from every angle imaginable:

Corn on the cob for the grillMy sister is to credit for the cute little corn-husk knots.  She’s the good daughter.

Corn Husk Knots

Corn-on-the-cobShe’s always the good daughter.

Grilled Chicken and Corn

Sadly, though, the corn didn’t taste any better than regular pot-boiled corn-on-the-cob (or should I say, “corn-on-the-cob on the pot on the stove?”).

So even though our corn-on-the-cob on the grill on the deck looked fancy and festive, our final prognosis was this: OVERRATED.  We decided that for all the extra work involved, the grilled corn didn’t provide enough benefits.

Grilled corn-on-the-cob

But the thing is, I sort of can’t get it out of my head.  No, the grilled corn didn’t taste any better than boiled corn.  But it didn’t taste any worse. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily easy to prepare, but it wasn’t really hard, either—just time-consuming.  The biggest thing I liked about the grilled corn was how charming it looked.  The biggest thing I didn’t like about it was that it didn’t taste as good as I’d hoped.

So now I’m wondering if there’s a happy medium.  Is there a way I can grill my corn and eat it, too?  If there’s even a prayer of a chance that I’m doing something wrong on the grill, I would give it another go.  What spices might I try?  What different techniques?  Is there something—some key component—I’m missing that would change my world?  If you know any secret to delicious grilled corn, I am open to options.  I’ll grill corn every day for the rest of August if I have to, to get it right.

Then again, it may be a total bust.  If you believe that I got it right the first time—that grilled corn-on-the-cob isn’t as spectacular as I had hoped it’d be—please tell me not to hold my breath.  I hate chasing after unreachable dreams.

I guess that makes me a realist.  A corn-on-the-cob realist.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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17 Responses to Shattered Dreams of Corn-on-the-Cob

  1. Alexa Mae says:

    hmmmm interesting? i prefer it grilled over boiled any day. but…i’ve never made it myself. haha and when they do grill it (meaning my mom) she just does it plain and we add all our spices as desired. those really are some cute looking corn-on-the-cob-before-grilling though.

  2. Rachel says:

    I hate it when you get so excited that something is going to be so good and then it’s just mediocre. Especially after all the effort. My condolences on the loss of your corn-on-the-cob dreams.

  3. Jethro says:

    roasted corn cob:soak, all husk left on, grill, closed lid, low heat, turn occasionally, grill till soft to touch. strip husk and string, that’s roasted corn cob.

    i know, i always sound impolite. i’m really just trying to be helpful.

  4. Rachel says:

    Well, I say that if it didn’t taste worse than boiled corn on the cob, you did everything right. For some reason I’ve never had grilled ears that weren’t burnt and mushy on one side and raw-ish on the other. I’ve never tried to grill it myself because I am 1)against anything labor intensive and 2) afraid of my grill. It has literally never been used. And it’s a nice gas one. So I’m just stupid. *sigh* I want some corn on the cob now.

  5. Bethany says:

    Good to know about corn on the cob! Now I know the easier way taste just as good!

  6. anna says:

    First the pharmacists: pharmacy school is much shorter than med school, they make great money AND they don’t have near the liability doctors do.

    Second, the corn: do as you did but instead of tying your lovely little husk knots, wrap in tin foil. This keeps the corn from burning and getting soggy. That’s how I do it anyway and I think it’s yum-may.

  7. Crissie says:

    I need to tell you…for really and really, how glad I am to be back from vacation and back to my routine of reading blogs and pondering the complexities of the universe and such. I love the cute corn-on-the-cobs and so sad to hear that they didn’t wow you the way you had hoped. I’ve been to Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, AZ where they roast the corn on the cob and it’s super toasty looking on the husks (that means kind of burnt) and super delicious on the inside. Of course I’m not domestic enought to try it on my own. Kudos to you for trying.

  8. Jethro says:

    yes, thank you, crissie, i meant to say that too. grill till the husks begin to char. that brings the flavour.

    i have a Q for do feel about this whole healthcare reform thingy going on down south? think prezzy will get some good done? in the face of all the keds that don’t get the concept of solidarity, group conscience.

  9. RatalieNose says:

    Hmm don’t know much about this….but if you want to try something else…grilled pineapple tastes like candy.

  10. Whitney says:

    I hate when you think something is going to taste out of this world amazing… and it doesnt. It hurts you to the core. Its the same when your pregnant and you are craving something and you finally eat it and it doesnt even taste how you wanted it to. Im sorry.

  11. no idea, but i’m one of those people who likes things better if they look great.. so now i’m craving grilled corn on the cob…

  12. Jamie says:

    Shaun and I always take off the entire husk and put the corn straight on the grill. Olive oil, salt, pepper, delicious.

  13. Whitney says:

    What does the P stand for in your name?

  14. Sariah says:

    I love corn on te cob on the grill! I don’t know what you did wrong. I have always noticed the yummy grilly taste (is that really a word?). I usually soak the corn in water, for about 20 minutes or longer. I pull off any loose leaves, pull out any of the visible silk and put it on the grill. The key is keeping it on there long enough. It needs to look burnt ( I can’t remember how long, but I leave the corn on longer than the steaks). The husks are really black when I take them off, once you peel back the husks you see a couple of black kernells, but everything is perfect and yummy. Add butter and salt to taste and you are in grilled corn heaven.

  15. Jenn says:

    I’ve been on vacation and just catching up, but I recommend just throwing the corn on the grill as is, husk and all. We do that and it’s delicious, and way easy!

  16. Jenn says:

    PS, we don’t prep it at all, no soaking or herbs.

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