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Cornish game hens - my first experience with a smoker

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Just got my little WSM last week and broke it in with some Cornish game hens.  Let them soak in a brine of salt and brown sugar for 2 hours and used Lysander's poultry rub because I had it in the cupboards. It was a learning experience for sure, couldn't really get the heat higher than 200 but after a little more than 4 hours with some hickory chips, the payoff was divine. These suckers were tasty. Followed up the next day with some spare ribs slathered in barbecue sauce that I forgot to take a picture of but I got the temperature issue mostly figured out.  Just picked up a turkey breast to smoke tomorrow so I came back here looking for some guidance.  Can't wait! 

 

post #2 of 13

 Cornish hens look great! Thumbs Up Brine the turkey breasts as you did the hens. Smoke to 160 IT then let them rest under foil about 15-20 mins. Should be well done and juicy. Remember to take pics!

 

  Mike

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the foil tip.  Glad I didn't wait until tomorrow morning to read some instructions so I get it into the brine tonight. Pictures to follow.  

post #4 of 13

 Two to four hours brine time should be plenty. Hope it turns out great!

 

   Mike

post #5 of 13
Tasty looking hens!

I typically won't brine my turkey breasts. Main reason is the breasts we get here are unfortunately already enhanced. Just Simple rub of salt pepper garlic and usually a bit of paprika. For wood I'll usually use a mix of pecan and cherry or Kiawe and cherry. Sometimes peach or Apple.

I like to run my pit a bit higher for poultry to get the skin to crisp up. Typically shoot for close to 350. Smoke until the IT hits 165, foil and rest for 30-45 minutes slice and serve.

One more thing I run a dry smoker no water in the water pan. I do leave it in wrapped in foil to act as a diffuser. Sometimes though I will remove it all together for a direct style cook.
Edited by dirtsailor2003 - 5/30/15 at 6:54am
post #6 of 13

Those hens look really nice!

 

I'm interested in your opinion of that Weber Smokey Mountain 14" .  They have crossed my mind .  Currently I use a homebuilt Mini for my smaller cooks. b

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

This being my first smoker, I really don't have much to compare it to, but I'm happy with the quality.  The size is perfect for me as I usually am cooking for no more than 4 and the smaller size uses less charcoal.  I cooked five hens but could have fit a sixth. Not a lot of room for ribs, but I think I can get a rack to stand them on end and that would solve that problem. I did just finish my third smoke, a turkey breast just under 7lbs for 3 1/2 hours at 225 - 250.  With the exception of the first smoke where I didn't really get the coals going well before starting the smoke, It's been relatively easy to maintain the temperature.  Today I did nothing more but check on it every so often and although I haven't cut into, it looks pretty good: 

 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by NH Smoker View Post
 

This being my first smoker, I really don't have much to compare it to, but I'm happy with the quality.  The size is perfect for me as I usually am cooking for no more than 4 and the smaller size uses less charcoal.  I cooked five hens but could have fit a sixth. Not a lot of room for ribs, but I think I can get a rack to stand them on end and that would solve that problem. I did just finish my third smoke, a turkey breast just under 7lbs for 3 1/2 hours at 225 - 250.  With the exception of the first smoke where I didn't really get the coals going well before starting the smoke, It's been relatively easy to maintain the temperature.  Today I did nothing more but check on it every so often and although I haven't cut into, it looks pretty good: 

 


No argument here brother. It looks BETTER than good! b

points1.png

post #9 of 13

Looks as if you're getting a handle on your Smoking . Your Poultry looked great. Thanks for the look . . .

 

Keep posting you pics...

post #10 of 13

That turkey does look great.  (So did the hens)  I saw that you had cook temps of 250 and lower.    How was the skin?   Soft or crispy or in between?   It had lovely color.    I am very curious as I had thought to do Hens as my first smoke on my new cooker (arriving next week) and mine (MES 30 w/window + RF) will only go up to 275.     I'm sure I could finish them under the broiler or even just strip the skin, but was wondering about yours.

 

Thanks!

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDSkelly View Post
 

Those hens look really nice!

 

I'm interested in your opinion of that Weber Smokey Mountain 14" .  They have crossed my mind .  Currently I use a homebuilt Mini for my smaller cooks. b

i would say if you have a mini i wouldnt buy the 14.5 i have one but it was my first smoker and wished i had went with the 22.5 (i wasnt 100% sure i would enjoy smoking meat as much as i do) 

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm glad I smoked the hens for my first smoke and yes, they were tasty.  Skin I would say leaned toward the soft side but the turkey at 225 was crispy.  I usually don't eat the skin so it really didn't make much of a difference.  Since the hens and the turkey, I've done a pork butt that was so good, I just did another today using apple wood instead of hickory.  I've been smoking everything right around the 225-240 range and I have zero complaints. 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

The finished product on turkey day. 

 

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