Smoked Corn On The Cob: Step-by-Step Guide with Flavorful Recipes and Perfect Pairings

Smoked Corn On The Cob: Step-by-Step Guide with Flavorful Recipes and Perfect Pairings

Smoked corn on the cob is corn cooked using the indirect heat from smoke, typically generated by wood chips. The corn absorbs the smoky flavors, creating a unique, rich taste different from traditional grilling or boiling methods. To smoke corn, you need a smoker or a grill that can maintain a consistent low temperature between 225°F and 250°F. You can keep the husk on or remove it based on your preference for texture and flavor.

The Appeal of Smoky Flavors

Smoky flavors elevate the natural sweetness of corn, adding depth and a slightly charred taste without direct flame contact. Smoke infuses the kernels with a complex flavor profile, making the corn more aromatic and enticing. Many find smoked corn on the cob a delightful addition to various meals, from casual gatherings to more elaborate feasts. The combination of sweet and smoky flavors makes it a versatile side dish that pairs well with grilled meats, salads, and even seafood.

Required Equipment for Smoking Corn

Choosing the Right Smoker

Selecting the appropriate smoker is crucial for achieving the perfect smoked corn on the cob. Consider models that offer consistent temperature control and adequate space for multiple ears of corn. Electric smokers are user-friendly and maintain steady heat, ideal for beginners. Pellet smokers provide versatility with precise temperature settings and wood pellet options, enhancing flavor profiles. Charcoal smokers offer classic smoky flavors but require more manual temperature management.

  • Wood Chips: Choose hardwoods like hickory or applewood to infuse rich, smoky flavors.
  • Grill Tongs: Use long-handled tongs to handle hot corn securely.
  • Basting Brush: A silicone brush helps evenly apply butter or marinades during smoking.
  • Meat Thermometer: Ensures the internal temperature of the corn reaches the desired level for optimal taste.
  • Heat-Resistant Gloves: Protects your hands while handling hot equipment and corn.
  • Corn Holders: Makes eating and handling the corn easier and safer post-smoking.
  • Smoker Box: For gas grill users, a smoker box containing wood chips creates a smoke-infused cooking environment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Smoking Corn

Preparing the Corn

Start by selecting fresh corn with green husks and moist silk. Peel back the husks without removing them, then remove the silk. Rinse the corn under cold water. Fold the husks back over the kernels and soak the corn in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning. Optionally, remove the husks entirely and opt for foil wrapping instead, which can intensify the smoky flavor.

Smoking Techniques and Tips

Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Use hardwood chips like hickory, oak, or apple to enhance the corn’s flavor. Once the smoker reaches the desired temperature, place the corn directly on the grill grates or on a raised rack. Close the smoker lid and maintain a consistent temperature. Smoke the corn for 1-1.5 hours, turning it occasionally to ensure even cooking. Monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, aiming for 150°F for perfectly smoked corn. If using a charcoal smoker, add charcoal and wood chips as needed to maintain a steady smoke flow. For an extra touch, brush the corn with flavored butter or oil 10 minutes before the end of the smoking process.

Flavor Variations and Recipes

Classic Butter and Herb

Use a mix of butter and herbs to elevate the natural flavors of smoked corn on the cob. Start by melting butter and adding minced garlic, chopped parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Brush this butter mixture onto the corn during the last 10 minutes of smoking for a rich taste. You can also use herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano to add different notes.

Spicy and Sweet Options

Combine sweet and spicy elements for a unique twist on smoked corn on the cob. Mix melted butter with honey, chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Brush this mixture onto the corn during the last 10 minutes of smoking. For added depth, sprinkle a bit of smoked paprika. Another variation involves using a mixture of brown sugar, melted butter, and a dash of hot sauce for a caramelized and spicy finish.

Pairing Ideas for Smoked Corn On The Cob

Best Foods to Accompany Smoked Corn

Smoked corn on the cob pairs well with a variety of dishes. Grilled meats, like BBQ ribs, chicken, and steak, complement the smoky flavor of the corn. Fresh salads, such as coleslaw or mixed greens, provide a refreshing contrast. Baked beans, mac & cheese, and potato salad add hearty sides to your meal.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

Selecting the right beverage enhances the flavors of smoked corn. For wine lovers, a crisp Chardonnay or a light Pinot Noir balances the smoky notes. If you prefer beer, opt for light lagers or pale ales. Lemonade, iced tea, or flavored seltzers offer non-alcoholic choices that refresh your palate.


Mastering the art of smoked corn on the cob can elevate your grilling game and impress your guests. By using indirect heat and maintaining low temperatures, you ensure your corn absorbs that rich smoky flavor while retaining its sweetness. Whether you stick to classic butter and herb mixes or venture into spicy and sweet variations, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this delicious dish. Pair your smoked corn with BBQ favorites like ribs or chicken and complement it with refreshing beverages. Your next cookout is bound to be a hit with these tips and recipes.

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