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Need a refresher course on smoking Cornish Hens!

shea1973

Meat Mopper
154
10
Joined Sep 16, 2010
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! 
 

lololo

Newbie
4
10
Joined Aug 23, 2008
Thanks for the link Oldschoolbbq!  I found a lot of good recipes.  I noticed some wrapped theirs in Bacon, I guess that gives it a different kind of flavor for the Cornish Hens? 
 

shea1973

Meat Mopper
Thread starter
154
10
Joined Sep 16, 2010
Thanks for the link Oldschoolbbq!  I found a lot of good recipes.  I noticed some wrapped theirs in Bacon, I guess that gives it a different kind of flavor for the Cornish Hens? 
 

tucson bbq fan

Smoking Fanatic
331
25
Joined Jun 30, 2013
 
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!
 
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