The sight of buttered corn on the grill always makes my mouth water. Charred on the BBQ grill and smothered in a spiced compound butter that's dripping off the warm kernels...it's enough to make me go weak at the knees. It's one of the best BBQ side dishes and a summer staple in my house.
I like to cook sweet corn on the grill as it gives it that smoky taste and then I'll make a compound butter to smother all over it. Because what can be tastier than buttered BBQ corn? Making compound butter is a really easy way to add finesse to a dish, and elevates this dish from simple to sublime if you're hosting guests.
When is homegrown sweetcorn ripe?
Wondering how to know when homegrown sweetcorn is ripe? When you grow corn on the cob in the garden you have to wait for the little tassels that grow out the top of the husk to go completely brown and dried out before you can harvest it. Peel back the green outer leaves and the corn kernels should all be pale yellow (not white) and fully formed and looking plump and juicy. Beware, squirrels and other pests love sweetcorn so protect it with a fruit cage or net or you will end up with nothing come harvest time. They also need a lot of water so make sure you keep them watered especially when the weather is hot and sunny.
This grilled corn on the cob smothered in spiced compound butter is just one of my many summer recipes like this BBQ black garlic chicken that I love serving at summer parties. I often serve grilled corn on the side of various cuts of grilled meat (and it's easy to find cheap cuts of meat for grilling if you're feeding a crowd).
There's nothing fancy or complicated that goes into grilled corn on the cob, nature gives us what we need when it comes to fresh sweet corn and all we need to do is make a spiced compound butter to smother all over it. Don't boil corn first, as it will leech out all the flavor and goodness. If you do want to pre-cook corn before grilling, then lightly steam it for 10 minutes to preserve the sweetness.
Here are the ingredients you will need...
- Sweet corn: Fresh corn on the cob is in season during high summer, and this is when it will taste its best.
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter (European style) in cooking to control both the quality and quantity of salt in a recipe.
- Lime: Zingy fresh lime juice and zest lifts the entire recipe, don't skip it!
- Cilantro: Use both cilantro (also known as coriander) leaves and stalk for optimal taste. Cilantro is one of the few herbs that has flavor in the leaves, stalks, and roots.
- Allspice: The earthy warmth of Allspice is delicious in compound butter and tastes delicious against the char of the grilled corn.
- Spring onion: Fresh green salad onions have a milder taste than white onions, and the vibrant green color also provides some visual interest to the dish.
- Olive oil: You can also use a neutral cooking oil, but be sure to find one with a high smoke point.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full quantities and step-by-step instructions.
How to make compound butter
- Use a fork to mash the butter with the lime juice, zest, and ground Allspice powder. Then stir in the chopped cilantro and diced spring onion.
Hint: Soften the butter first to make it easier to mix by taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you need it.
How to cook BBQ corn on the grill
- Remove the outer leaves from the sweet corn husks, take off the ends, and cut them in half.
- Spray or lightly rub the sweet corn with olive oil and place them on the BBQ grill (the best temperature to grill corn is 375° Fahrenheit or 190° Celsius). Turn frequently (use tongs). Alternatively, place it on a hot griddle pan. The fresher the corn, the more likely the sugar content will cause it to burn so keep an eye on it.
- Take the sweet corn off the grill and place it in a warm serving dish. Spread the spiced compound butter on top and allow it to melt over the corn and pool underneath.
Here are some ways to adapt this easy grilled corn-on-the-cob recipe to suit you
- Spicy - add red pepper flakes or hot sauce as well as the allspice to give this an extra kick!
- Vegan - Use dairy-free butter or vegetable spread to make this dish vegan or olive oil.
- Herbs - Change things up with different herbs. Mint, dill, and parsley can also taste delicious.
An outdoor grill (BBQ) or a griddle pan on your stovetop will work best for this dish.
Sweet corn is best cooked as fresh as possible to maintain its sweetness.
You can make the compound butter ahead of time though and freeze it in covered ice cube trays which is a great way to free up fridge space.
Yes! For best results wrap it in foil so that the escaping steam can help it to cook faster.
Grill corn at 375° Fahrenheit or 190° Celsius.
Corn on the BBQ will take around 20-25 minutes depending on size and external temperature.
Spiced Buttered Corn On The Grill
- BBQ or grill
- 3 sweetcorn husks
- 3 tablespoon butter (softened)
- 2 limes
- 2 spring onion
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 2 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Remove the outer layers of the sweet corn husks
- Cut the sweet corn into pieces
- Spray the corn with olive oil or lightly brush some on and place on the BBQ or on a hot griddle pan, turning frequently
- Make the butter by mashing it with the other ingredients and season to taste
- When the corn is cooked, place it in a dish and spread over the butter straight away, allowing it to melt. Serve immediately and enjoy!