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The BEST Smoked Cornish Game Hen Recipe

The Cornish Game Hen will become your signature dish after sharing with your family!  You won’t believe how easy and delicious it is!  It is so easy to make a Smoked Cornish Hen– follow our simple recipe to learn how.

The Cornish Game Hen might be something new to you. It’s actually something I hadn’t made before now.

But now that I have-  I can definitely say it I will be making it again. Yup, it was that good. A sure sign of a great dish is when my girls gobble it  up. Which is exactly what happened.


What is a  Cornish  Game Hen?

Don’t let this little bird intimidate you. Even though it might be unfamiliar it really is quite simple and a fantastic method of cooking a bird.A Cornish Game Hen is actually just a little chicken. It’s neither Cornish or game hens.

What does a Cornish Game Hen taste like?

Cornish hen tastes like chicken because it is still a chicken  just smaller.  Cornish hens are younger than chickens so they end up being more tender.

What Can I Serve With Cornish Game Hen?

The Cornish Hen is a basic entree so you could serve just about anything with it.

I prefer roasted veggies and potatoes. You could roast them, bake them, or mash them and it would be an amazing choice of side dish.

Check out our  Funeral Potatoes recipe- it would be pretty dang good along side this hen.

I also have to recommend our fresh cranberry sauce recipe as well.

What kind of bird is a cornish game hen?

A Cornish is a particular breed of chicken. Traditional Cornish hens are female Cornish chickens. The Cornish hens available in grocery stores are actually a hybridized breed of bird developed especially for commercial production.

Where can I buy a cornish game hen?

You should be able to find a cornish game hen at your local grocery store! They typically come in a two pack and are fairly inexpensive.

Can I cook it in my oven?

Yes,  Roast hens 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue roasting 30 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F


How to Smoke a  Cornish Game Hen


two cornish game hens

for the brine:

12 C Kosher Salt

3 T. Brown Sugar

12 orange (sliced)

4 C. boiling water

6 C. ice

For the rub:

2 T. Kosher Salt

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

14 tsp ground clove



  1. Remove hens from packages and clean under cold running water.
  2. Make Brine by adding 1/2 C Kosher Salt, 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar, 1/2 orange (sliced), 4 Cups water.
  3. Boil for 2 minutes or until salt dissolved.
  4. Add 6 cups ice and stir until melted to cool brine down.
  5. Add hens to brine and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is acceptable.
  6. Preheat smoker to 225° F
  7. Remove hens and rinse well.
  8. Spatchcock the hens by removing the backbone with kitchen shears and lay flat.
  9. Season generously with the poultry rub of your choice or the following rub: 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground clove.
  10. Place on smoker for 20 minutes then increase heat to 350.Cook hens for approximately another 15-20 minutes or until a probe thermometer reads 165 in the thickest part of the breast.
  11. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Carve and serve.


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How do you spatchcock a chicken?

By spatchcocking (or butterflying) the chicken, everything cooks at a more even temperature and in less time, making for a perfectly smoked chicken.

After taking the chicken out of its wrapper you will want to pat the bird dry with a paper towel.

You will then remove the back bone using kitchen shears by cutting along side the backbone on both sides.

Then you will remove any unnecessary fat or skin. Continue on by  flipping over and pressing down on the breast bone bone until you hear it pop. This helps the chicken to lay flat on the grill.

How many servings are in a Cornish Game Hen?

A whole Cornish hen is enough for one generous serving. Or you can split the hen in half for two servings.



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