Featuring buttery, salty, sweet Grilled Corn Ribs.
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Grilled Corn Ribs

Sink your teeth into the ultimate taste of the summer with these sweet, salty, and smoky Grilled Corn Ribs that are as much fun to eat as they are delicious. With a pop of perfectly charred kernels with boldly seasoned butter, it will be love at first bite.

Grab some buttery sweetcorn ribs, fresh off the grill.

Nothing says summer like sweet corn hitting the grill and these corn riblets take it to the next level. The high heat of live fire intensifies all of the natural flavors while causing the corn to curl into fun shapes.

Serve these up as an appetizer at your next party or as a side with your Smoked Chicken Drumsticks, Brisket Burnt Ends, Smoked Pork Steaks, or even alongside Grilled Sweet Potato Fries for a grilled happy hour.

Grab a hold of a grilled corn riblet and dig in.

Why This Recipe Works for Grilling Corn Ribs

  • BEST method for grilled corn ribs. You read that correctly. Through months of testing out different processes, this extremely simple method of grilling corn ribs proves to be the easiest and gives the purist flavor of corn. Less work, more flavor.
  • Simple process. Just like anything else, it takes a little practice to break down the corn cob but once you have mastered that the cooking process is completely effortless. From firing up the grill or popping these in your air fryer, cooking these couldn’t be easier. 
  • Kids go crazy for them. If you’re a parent, you get it. Sometimes a vegetable just needs to be in a different form for the kids to grab them. These corn ribs are smaller, quicker to cook, and fun for the family.
  • Customizable. This corn ribs recipe is crave-worthy on its own but also a great starting point for you to play around with your favorite flavors. Keep it simple or load them up and top them.
This corn ribs recipe is simple to prepare and easy to consume.

Origin of Corn Ribs

There is a reason these quickly went viral and became a social media food trend. We’ve all seen them air fryer corn ribs as well as deep fried and tossed into a skillet for a quick shallow fry. Not only are these just fun to eat, but the process of breaking a cob of corn into quarters opens up the kernels slightly allowing added flavors to permeate and envelop them. 

These are a viral sensation with fine dining roots. According to a March 2019 issue of Woolworths TASTE magazine, an award-winning food publication, these were reportedly invented by an executive chef of Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York City, Max Ng. The restaurant has shared social media posts to Facebook and Instagram about this creative and unique menu item dating back as far as 2017. They’ve even found their way into their summer seafood boils.

Plenty of sweetcorn ribs grilling over charcoal.

Ingredients Needed

  • Corn – You’ll want fresh corn for this recipe, and the fresher it is, the easier it’ll be to slice through the cobs. For the most flavor you’ll want to make this recipe for corn riblets when it’s in season. Sweetcorn is preferred if possible.
  • Butter – Because we’re adding salt and spices to these corn ribs, you’ll want to use unsalted butter. Pick a high quality butter for the richest flavor as it usually has a higher butterfat content. 
  • Seasoning- The layered flavors of my Signature Sweet and Smoky Rub enhances the natural sweetness of the corn while also adding a savory element.

    Don’t forget to try some of the other flavors, such as Nashville Hot Seasoning (my favorite for sweetcorn ribs), Korean BBQ Seasoning, or the Smoky Southwest Dry Rub.
Sweetcorn is typically the best option for corn ribs.

How to Make Grilled Corn Ribs

First things first, safety. Slicing the ribs can be dangerous if you’re not taking your time.

Place a damp towel, cloth, or non-slip cutting board mat on your work surface and then place your cutting board on top. This will prevent your cutting board from sliding as you cut your corn cobs. 

Safety First! Make sure your knife is sharp, and your cutting board is secure. This will ensure the corn doesn’t slide from under your hands, or tip over as you apply force.

Slice the ends off the corn first.
  1. Slice the ends off. Trim off either end of a corn cob to create a flat surface so you can stand your corn upright.
  2. Cut the corn cob in half, lengthwise. Place the blade of your knife in the center of the top of the corn. Use your second hand to push down gently on the knife, cutting into the corn. Once your blade has begun to slice the corn in half, gently bang your knife towards the cutting board to drive it through the corn while carefully guiding it.

    Make sure that you keep your fingers out of the way. You want to use the palm of your hand with your fingers extended. Take your time and be careful.
Stand the corn upright and slowly press a blade through the center.
  1. Cut the cobs into quarters. Once you have halved your corn cob, stand an end back upright. Repeat the process, carefully cutting the half in half. Repeat the process with your remaining halves of corn.

    This step works best if the corn cobs are standing vertically. It might seem easier to lay them down on the cutting board, but it requires significant force to cut through the entire cob at once. Just take your time.
Carefully slice the corn cob halves into quarters.

Optional Method: Cut Corn Cobs in Half First

Doing so will take an extra step, but through testing, this process is MUCH safer than cutting full-length corn cobs.

Cut the corn cobs in half first, then process with the other steps for slicing into quarters. See below for an example.

  1. Make your seasoned butter. Add softened room temperature butter, the sweet and smoky rub, and salt to a bowl and mix until creamy and fully combined. You’ll want to taste it to see if you need to add any additional salt. It should be a little salty as this is going to be added to the hot corn ribs at the very end. 
  2. Prepare your grill for direct grilling. You want to preheat your grill to medium high. If using a charcoal grill, spread your coals into an even layer. Make sure that your grates are clean and fully heated before adding your corn riblets.

No Oils or Butter for Grilling: Most recipes will tell you to baste the corn in a seasoned oil just before grilling. This tends to create bitter flavors, flare-ups and cooks the kernels quickly. Stick to basting the grilled corn ribs with flavored butter when they come off the grill.

Grill the corn with the kernels facing towards the heat first.
  1. Grill the corn ribs. Preheat a grill for direct grilling at medium-high. Place the corn ribs directly on the grates with the kernels facing down.

    Grill them for about 5-6 minutes, rotating them as needed if they start to char. After about 8-10 minutes total, they are ready to come off.
  2. Baste the warm corn ribs. As soon as you remove them from the grill, baste them with the flavored butter.

    This is also a great opportunity to add any additional toppings like hot sauce, cheese such as queso fresco or cotija, or fresh herbs. Dive in and enjoy!
Flip the corn when they are starting to char and allow them to finish cooking.

Various Cooking Methods

Grilled corn ribs will give you the combination of charred kernels with a softer texture along with the additional layer of slightly smoky flavor if you use a charcoal grill. The process also works well with propane, minus the wood-fired flavor. However, grilling isn’t the only method to cook these.

Air Fryer Corn Ribs

These will have a crispier bite with a flavor slightly reminiscent of roasted popcorn.

Directions: Lay your corn ribs into a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook them for about 15 minutes at 375°F, flipping them halfway through. Brush them with the flavored butter as soon as they come out. 

Oven Baked Corn Ribs

These will have the softest chew of the cooking methods as they retain more moisture. They also won’t curve as much as the other two methods.

Directions: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Either fit a baking rack into your baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Arrange the corn ribs into a single layer, spacing them out. Allow them to bake for 25-30 minutes. Brush them with the flavored butter as soon as they come out. 

Important Tips

  • The easiest way to cut your corn into quarters is by standing it vertically. However, this is also the most dangerous. Don’t rush the process.  Make sure to keep your fingers above the blade when slicing downwards.
  • Pay attention to your salt content. Sodium can add up fast when you use ingredients like salted butter, barbecue rubs, and even mayonnaise. Taste your spread before adding it to the corn. You can always add a little more butter, mayo, or oil to dilute the seasoning.
  • You can prep your corn ribs up to a day in advance and then cook them when you’re ready. Keep them refrigerated in an airtight container so the corn doesn’t dry out.
  • Do not baste the corn prior to grilling. Most grilled corn rib recipes will have you baste your corn with oils or butter, which isn’t necessary. Not only will it just drip off while grilling it can cause flare-ups. You want charred corn, not burnt corn. Think of these corn ribs the same as corn on the cob where you apply your butter, flavored oil, or mayonnaise once they’ve come off the grill.

More Tasty Side Dishes to Love

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Featuring buttery, salty, sweet Grilled Corn Ribs.

Grilled Corn Ribs

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Sink your teeth into the taste of the summer with these sweet, salty, Grilled Corn Ribs that are as much fun to eat as they are delicious. 

  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: About 5-6 1x


  • 4 Corn on the cob, husks removed
  • ½ cup room temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Baste with flavored butter. Immediately baste the warm corn ribs with the seasoned butter. Now is the time to add any additional flavors such as hot sauce, cheese, or fresh herbs.


  • Cutting the corn cobs in half first makes the prepping process easier, but they will be shorter.
  • You can prep your corn ribs up to a day in advance and then cook them when you’re ready. Keep them refrigerated in an airtight container so the corn doesn’t dry out.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
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