How to Roast Ears of Corn Over a Fire

Corn is a domesticated plant native to Central and South America. Cultivated by Native Americans for thousands of years, sweet corn, so named because of its high sugar content, is grown best in free-draining soil in warm temperatures. Although raw corn is inedible, the cooking process breaks down the cellulose in its kernels, making them a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, folate and other nutrients. Corn is fully mature when the silks visible at the top of the ear are brown. When choosing corn, look for fresh, preferably organic, varieties from your local farmer's market or your backyard garden.

Campfire Technique

Step 1

Grip the bottom of the cob with one hand, and gently pull back the corn husk. Remove the silk without removing the husk from the bottom of the ear.

Step 2

Rewrap the corn with the husk and place the ear into a bucket of fresh water to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the corn from the bucket and shake lightly to drain the excess water.

Step 4

Place the ear of corn into the center of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; wrap and seal securely.

Step 5

Use a shovel to dig beneath the open fire and place the wrapped ears on the exposed coals. Cover the corn with additional coals and allow the ears to roast for 15 or 20 minutes.

Step 6

Scrape back the coals and remove the corn from the fire with long-handled tongs.

Step 7

Remove the foil from the ear and baste the corn with butter or extra-virgin olive oil.

Step 8

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Coal or Gas Grill

Step 1

Place the freshly purchased or grown corn in a bucket or tub of fresh water and allow it to soak for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Remove the corn from the bucket and shake lightly to drain the excess water.

Step 3

Place the corn on the grill over medium heat and roast until the husks brown, turning once. Roast for approximately 10 minutes on each side.

Step 4

Remove the corn from the grill with an oven mitt or metal tongs and place on a heat-proof plate. Carefully remove the exterior husk and corn silk.

Step 5

Baste the corn with butter or extra-virgin olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh, non-husked sweet corn

  • Bucket or plastic tub

  • Fresh, palatable water

  • Aluminum foil

  • Fire shovel

  • Long-handled metal tongs

  • Heavy-duty oven or barbecue mitt

  • Butter or extra-virgin olive oil


Although you should use your corn as soon as possible after picking, you can store non-husked corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.


A large percentage of corn grown in the United States comes from genetically modified plants. To avoid modified corn, buy organically grown corn whenever possible.

Always wear an oven-proof mitt and use long-handled tongs when working with an open fire or grill.