I used Bilbo's rub, which is located somewhere within this forum; however, I modified it somewhat because my wife will not eat anything with cayenne pepper. After I reviewed multiple threads about smoking poultry, I followed the consensus of placing hens in a brine for one hour, drying, and adding Bilbo's rub after splitting the hens. Earlier, I had already preheated the 30" Masterbuilt (MBS) temperature to 275F; however, complaints exist about the MBS temperature variance between real temperature and errors in the MBS controller. To make certain my three-week old MBS was tested before I continue using it, I added my own remote read, independent test probe. I confirmed the reports about the internal difference between the MBS controller's reading (275F) and the independent test probe (259F). Additionally, I added a remote read internal meat thermometer, but that was a challenge for those tiny hens. The hens were fully cooked in 40 minutes, except that I thought I wanted a slightly smokier flavor and turned the temperature down to 200F and added 20 minutes more smoking time.
I had previously smoked drumsticks with Mesquite and was pleased with the results. Having reviewed previous posts about the small, delicately flavored Cornish hens, I opted to use apple woodchips. As the picture indicates, Bilbo's Rub is what gave the hens their visually appealing color. The rub overpowered the smoke flavor entirely. I will return to Mesquite and continue to use Bilbo's modified rub since it worked well with the drumsticks I cooked a week ago. Neither my wife nor I eat the skin, so having a "crisp" or "crunchy" skin is never among our criteria for meat judging. Moist, tender, and done meat, however, is absolutely a requirement!