Originally Posted by Shea1973
It has been a few years since I smoked Cornish Hens so just wondering if anyone could give me a quick refresher course on it! If I remember right I brine them about 6-8 hours. Smoke them for about 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours. The only wood I have right now is Hickory, I know it is strong for poultry but that is the only kind of wood I have.
Also what type of seasonings would be good for the Cornish Hens? I have a Applewood by Grillmates that I use on a lot of things and I think that would be good for the Cornish Hens. Any suggestions? Thank You!
6-8 hours of brining is good. You can brine overnight also.
I use the following for Cornish hen brine: (enough for 4-6 hens at a time) (got this from someone else on this forum I think)
1 gallon water
1/2 gallon apple juice
2 cups kosher salt
3 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Mix all together, and heat and stir till all the salt and sugar has dissolved. Then add 1/2 gallon ice water to cool it down. I usually brine overnight. After brining, I rinse the birds off, pat them dry - put a little salt and pepper on the outside, and I put 1/4 orange and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, sage & rosemary in each bird. Not tightly packed - I want the smoke to circulate inside as well as outside.
I use a mix of Hickory and cherry woods and have not had too strong a flavor - they are in the smoke for a short time - so it is hard to get too much smoke flavor on them.
I have done them two different profiles.
1: 225 for 2 hours, then ramp to 325-350 to crispen the skin for 30-45 minutes
2: 275 for 45min-1 hour then drop to 225 for 30-45 min.
I go to an IT of 165 at the thigh.
Both profiles resulted in very moist, great tasting birds. Profile 1 did not give me a crispy skin. Profile 2 got a crisper skin and took a lot less time (1 hr, 45 min total).
Enjoy and Happy smoking!