Smoked Cornish Game Hens

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Cornish game chickens are a fast and simple supper that will elevate any meal into a wonderful event.

When cooked in a smoker, these small birds take on a whole new taste profile and are a pleasant alternative to the same old chicken or Christmas turkey.

In this recipe, I’ll teach you how to smoke cornish game birds so that every mouthful is soft and juicy.

What are Cornish game hens?

Smoked Cornish Game Hens

Cornish game hens are basically adult little chickens. The Cornish game hen, which was created in the 1950s by crossing normal Cornish chickens with White Plymouth Rock hens, grows swiftly.

Their rapid maturation leads in a heartier taste with massive breasts and fatty skin, giving cornish game hens a juicy texture that larger birds may lack.

Cornish game chickens must weigh between one and two pounds and be butchered before reaching the age of five weeks. They may be either male or female.

Where to buy Cornish game hens

Smoked Cornish Game Hens

Most chain supermarkets sell Cornish game chickens frozen in the meat area, but fresh ones are more difficult to locate on a daily basis.

If you want to utilize fresh birds, contact your local butcher ahead of time. The grocery butcher may also be able to help you find them.

How to make smoked Cornish game hens

1. The rub

Most birds do not come with giblets, but every now and again you’ll discover a little giblet pack placed into the cavity like a turkey, so keep an eye out.

I made the rub by combining unsalted butter and our Honey Garlic rub.

Gently peel the skin away from the breast with your finger, taking careful not to damage it. On each breast side, place half a spoonful of the butter mixture between the skin and the flesh.

Apply the remaining butter on the outsides of both chickens.

2. Prepare the smoker

Fire up your grill to 275F.

I used Fogo charcoal and cherry wood pieces to smoke it on the Burch Barrell.

The Burch Barrel features a nice function in which you can lift the lid with the grill grate to move the food you’re cooking away from the heat source for greater control.

You may also lower and elevate the charcoal-holding basket.

Because Cornish game chickens cook fast, keep an eye on the internal temperature. I inspect the thigh flesh as well as the breast meat.

3. Smoking

When the smoker is hot, place the chickens on the grates and smoke for about an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.

Remove the Cornish game chickens from the smoker and tent with foil after they have reached 165°F. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

Serving the hens

The chickens are tiny enough to serve on individual plates, or you may carve them like a turkey.

Want to stick to some traditional holiday dishes?

  • Twice smoked spiral ham
  • Smoked Ham with hot honey bourbon glaze
  • Smoked orange and herb roasted chicken
  • Smoked whole turkey


How long does it take to smoke Cornish game hens?

Indirect heat smoker with charcoal and hickory chips. Maintain a temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the game chickens on the grill and cover with foil. For 40 minutes, smoke.Get your grill ready.

How long to smoke Cornish game hens at 225?

Quick Overview: Smoke cornish chickens at 225° for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°, and then rest for 10 minutes until the temperature reaches 165°, at which point they are safe to consume.

How long to smoke a 1.5 lb Cornish hen?

Set the smoker to 230 to 260°F for cooking. If you can keep the temperature up, the chickens will only require around 1.5 hours. They will take around 2 hours at the most.

How to smoke a Cornish hen on the grill?

Place the seasoned birds (breast side up) on the grill grates, along with the pan of stuffing. Close the cover and smoke the meat and stuffing for 45-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Enjoy. Transfer the chickens to separate serving plates and serve.

What is the best temperature to smoke Cornish hens?

Preheat the grill or smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, as directed by the manufacturer. Place the Cornish chickens breast-side down on the smoker grates. Smoke the chickens for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest section of the thigh reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

What temperature do you smoke Cornish game hens?

Preheat the smoker to 275°F. Close the smoker and place the chickens on the grates. Cook the chickens to an internal temperature of 160°F in the thickest region of the breast and thigh. Remove from the smoker, cover with foil, and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Should I smoke chicken at 200 or 225?

The ideal temperature for smoking chicken is about 225 degrees.

Do you cook Cornish hens breast up or down?

Place the rack in a small roasting pan, breast side up. 5. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour (if the bird weighs more than 1lb 2oz, roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes), or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 180°F.

How long does it take to smoke 2 6 pound chickens?

Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the bird. Schedule 45-60 minutes per pound. I prefer to use a leave-in thermometer so I can keep an eye on the inside temperature at all times. I suggest taking the chicken out of the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to allow it to cool.

Is one Cornish hen enough for 2 people?

A whole Cornish hen yields one large meal. Alternatively, you may cut the hen in half for two meals.

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