The Key To Flavorful Grilled Corn On The Cob Is The Butter Mixture

Grilled corn on plate
Grilled corn on plate - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Corn season is on the way and with it comes the opportunity to make grilled corn. If you've already got your grilling technique down pat, consider focusing on seasonings next.

For some people, jazzing up an ear of corn with anything but butter and salt is sacrilege. Sure, sometimes simple is best — especially if you have a really spectacular ear of corn. Homegrown heirloom variety? You don't need to gild the lily. But run-of-the-mill corn, even succulent, height-of-the-season corn fresh from the farmer's market, can benefit from a little something extra.

The wonderful thing about corn is its versatility. While the vegetable is native to the Americas, it has found its way around the world, adapting to new cuisines along the way. It works as a vehicle for high-impact spices — but doesn't overwhelm subtle seasonings, either. It pairs with sweet flavors just as well as savory ones. It's a blank slate.

If you're ready to dive in and try something unexpected next time you fire up the grill, check out our list of ways to season corn on the cob. But if you're part of the butter-and-salt-only camp, don't balk at corn seasoned with pickle juice or maple mustard. Start small and master the basics: Once you see how a simple garlic butter mixture works, you'll realize just how much potential a simple ear of corn has.

Read more: 12 Popular Grocery Store Butter Brands, Ranked

Season Butter For Exceptional Corn On The Cob

Uncooked corn with garlic butter
Uncooked corn with garlic butter - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn's grilled corn on the cob and garlic butter recipe recommends using fresh garlic crushed into a smooth paste with a garlic press. Once the garlic is ready, it's simply stirred into a bowl of melted butter and the mixture brushed onto the corn before grilling it. No grill? Brush garlic butter over corn before wrapping it in foil and roasting it in the oven. You can toss in a few sprigs of parsley or cilantro, too.

That smooth garlic paste is key: You don't want big lumps of garlic on your corn. It'll also help the flavor of the garlic blend with the butter. If you want to really make sure that the garlic flavor has fully saturated the butter, heat them together for a few minutes on the stove or in the microwave.

But don't stop at garlic. You can add other herbs or spices to the garlic butter mixture to take it up a level. An ear drenched in a mixture of garlic butter and old bay seasoning? Unforgettable. Add a sprinkle of chili powder, or dial up the heat even further with cayenne. An herb butter — also known as a compound butter — can give your corn a fresh herbaceous twist. If you have time, make your own with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and chives. And don't be afraid to add a dash of lemon for a bright summertime tang.

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