Grilling frozen corn on the cob is a convenient way to bring a unique sweetness that’s hard to beat to any BBQ session. Grilled corn can turn your backyard BBQ into a corn lovers’ haven, and the best part? You don’t even have to thaw it!
In this guide, we’ll be delving into the wonders of grilling corn in its icy state. We’ll explore whether to wrap our corn in shiny foil or let it bronze nakedly on the grates.
I’ll even share a foolproof recipe for delivering perfectly grilled, juicy corn, right from the freezer to the grill to your plate.
And for those of you who prefer corn off the cob, I’ve got your kernels covered too!
Table of Contents
- To Thaw or Not to Thaw: That is the Question
- The Foil Factor: Steamed vs. Grilled
- Recipe: Grilled Frozen Corn on the Cob
- How to Grill Frozen Corn OFF the Cob: The Skillet Method
To Thaw or Not to Thaw: That is the Question
This has been the subject of countless backyard barbecue debates: To thaw, or not to thaw your frozen corn before grilling?
Well, the truth is thawing is not mandatory! You can take your frozen corn on the cob straight out of the freezer and onto the grill. The only reason I would consider letting the ears thaw a bit would be if they were still in husks and if I wasn’t able to remove them in the frozen state.
Otherwise, there’s no real reason to thaw. The kernels will cook through just fine.
When the frozen corn hits the grill, the moisture trapped inside the kernels will turn into steam, cooking the corn from the inside out. This process ensures your corn remains juicy and doesn’t dry out.
The Foil Factor: Steamed vs. Grilled
Here comes another choice to make before throwing the ears on the grates: foil or no foil?
When it comes to grilling corn, foil plays a significant role in how your corn turns out. Each method has its own unique charm, and the choice largely depends on your desired outcome.
Wrapped in Foil
If you’re leaning towards a softer, juicier texture, wrapping your corn in foil is the way to go. When you grill corn wrapped in foil, you’re essentially steaming it. The foil locks all the released moisture in, ensuring each kernel pops with juiciness. The result is incredibly tender corn but it lacks that smoky flavor you would expect from grilled food.
Of course, you can unwrap the cobs just before they are fully cooked to get the grill marks, but the result will not be exactly the same.
If you’re after those charred, smoky grill marks that give grilled corn its distinctive BBQ character, then let your corn sit directly on the grill grates.
The end result will be slightly drier than with foil on but it will have much more of those smoky tones. Be sure to turn the cobs regularly to avoid over-charring.
Recipe: Grilled Frozen Corn on the Cob
Alright, now that we’ve navigated through the choices, let’s get to the heart of it all – the recipe!
Here’s a simple, foolproof method for grilling frozen corn on the cob that will serve 4 happy campers.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
- 4 ears of frozen corn on the cob
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Optional: your favorite herbs or spices Consider chili powder, garlic powder, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a twist!
- Preheat your grill to medium heat, about 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the grill is preheating, prepare the corn. Take each frozen ear of corn and smear a tablespoon of butter all over it. Then, season with salt, pepper, and any other spices or herbs you fancy.
- If you’re using foil, wrap each ear of corn tightly in the foil now. If not, they’re ready for the grill as they are.
- Place the corn on the grill. Cover the grill.
- Cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes for even cooking.
- If you’re going for grill marks, carefully unwrap the foil after 20 minutes (watch out for hot steam), and place the corn back on the grill for another 5 minutes or until you get those gorgeous grill marks.
- Remove the corn from the grill and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
And voila! Perfectly grilled, frozen corn on the cob, ready to steal the show at your next barbecue.
How to Grill Frozen Corn OFF the Cob: The Skillet Method
Switching things up and craving some off-the-cob action? Sure thing! Grilling corn off the cob allows for a whole new culinary experience, lending its juicy crunch to a wide variety of dishes.
But here’s the catch: traditional grills with grates aren’t the best match for our kernel pals. There’s no way those tiny morsels are staying on, they would slip right through the grates and into the flames, a tragic loss to any corn lover.
So, what’s the solution? Enter the skillet. Yes, you can use a cast iron skillet on a grill. Some grills even account for such circumstances. For example, Weber’s modular Gourmet BBQ System (GBS) does include (sold separately) a stellar cast-iron skillet or even a wok pan which would also work well for this task.
A cast iron skillet is perfect for tackling corn kernels, providing a solid surface that keeps every kernel in place saving them from a fiery fate. You can use other means of holding the kernels in place too – for example, a foil pan works well if you are careful not to pierce it when stirring the yellow pearls.
Place your skillet or foil pan on the grill, add the corn, and let it sizzle to perfection, giving it a stir now and then to ensure even cooking. And just like with corn on the cob, you can dress your kernels in a bit of butter or your oil of choice before they hit the skillet. In about 10-15 minutes, depending on your grill’s heat, your off-the-cob corn will be ready to serve.
Feel free to toss in some minced garlic or your favorite spices for an added flavor punch. And remember, there’s no need to thaw your frozen corn kernels – they can go straight from the freezer into your skillet.
There you have it, folks! Your guide to grilling frozen corn on the cob, along with some handy tips for the off-the-cob aficionados.
Whether you’re sticking to the classic on-the-cob grilling or venturing into the off-the-cob realm, the choice is yours.
How long does it take to grill frozen corn?
Frozen corn on the cob takes slightly longer than thawed corn – about 20 to 25 minutes should be enough. Frozen shucked corn takes about half the time. Of course, adjust the time based on the grill’s temperature and the size of the cobs.
Can I season my corn before grilling?
Absolutely! Smear on some butter or oil, and feel free to add garlic, spices, or any other flavors you fancy. Some of the added goodies may fall off during grilling but add more seasoning after the corns are done.
Do you have to put the grill’s lid on when grilling corn?
Either method works. With the lid on, the cobs will be done slightly faster.