These Smoked Cornish Game Hens are a family favorite! I smoke year-round, but Cornish Game Hens is one of my $5 Friday deals at Safeway; I can get 2/$5! So I smoked them even though not in the best weather. I tend to make extra so that I can make soup the next day. This simple brine for cornish hens takes the hens to the next level for flavor!
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My favorite part of these cornish game hens is that they are easy to make and seem to make a fancy dinner with little work. Plus, you can drop the leftovers and the bones to make leftover soup, similar to my Smoked Turkey Noodle Soup. Plus, who doesn’t love smoked meat?
What is a Cornish Game Hen?
A Cornish game hen is a particular variety of boiler chicken; it is served young and immature. How big are cornish game hens? Typically they are less than 2 pounds in weight, but they are not game birds. Cornish game hen is a cross between a White Plymouth Rock Chickens and a Cornish hen. They are like miniature chickens, perfect for single servings.
For being little birds, they have tender meat that is so flavorful when cooked. The cooking time is less than for larger poultry like a whole chicken or turkey. They can be cooked by smoking, grilling, roasting, or in the crockpot. Whichever cooking process will win when you serve golden brown hens.
Pat dry with a paper towel, and dry rubs work amazingly or with a good brine. Just like regular chicken, the internal temperature of the game hen must reach 165 degrees using a meat thermometer before serving.
Smoked Cornish Game Hens Ingredients:
- Cornish Game Hens– You can use any chicken with this brine not just cornish game hens. Either bone-in or boneless will work.
- Garlic Salt
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Black Pepper
- Montreal Steak Seasoning
- Ice-This is for adding to the brine the next day or if you store outside the fridge.
how to brine cornish hens
Measure out your dry ingredients in to a large bin or container with a lid.
Next, add in some water and use a whisk to mix the ingredients. The seasonings won’t dissolve all the way.
Next, add in your cornish game hens and ensure they are fully submerged in the brine.
Either store in the fridge or add ice to the container. It is important to maintain the brine and hens cold. Brine for at least 24 hours.
Common Questions About Brining Cornish Game Hens
How long should you brine cornish hens? Until the cornish hen is thawed if it was frozen, but at least 4 hours before smoking.
Can you brine cornish hens too long? Yes the cornish game hen should be smoked with in the food safe time for thawing chicken to be cooked.
Can you brine cornish hens overnight? Yes, you can! I allow mine to thaw in the brine for two or three days.
How long can you brine cornish hens? I try not to go past the three-day mark when using frozen hens in a brine. If your hens are fresh or thawed, reduce the time to 12-24 hours and keep the brine cold with ice or the fridge.
How To Smoke Cornish Game Hens:
Prep your smoker; I always start by turning it on and placing it in my chips. (I love to use apple pucks) and get good smoke going. I add my water tray after I get the smoke from my pucks and then open up my smoke pipe.
While waiting for the smoke to start rolling, spray your racks with non-stick spray or rub them with olive oil. This will stop the hens from sticking to the racks while cooking.
Remove your cornish game hens from your brine and place them onto your smoker racks.
Once you have smoke rolling for your smoker, place your chickens in your smoker.
I kept my smoker at 200-225 (way easier in colder weather); I like to cook meat low and slow for flavor. There will be some fluctuation as the smoker will do its own thing regulating its own temperature.
Keep an eye on your smoker; smoke the chickens for a couple of hours.
Use a meat thermometer to verify they are 165 degrees; cook for temperature, not for time.
They will have nice crisp skin and color to them! Plus the smell will have your neighbors drooling.
What To Serve With Smoked Cornish Game Hens:
How to Store leftover Smoked Cornish Game Hens
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The remainder meat will be good for two to four days if stored properly. You can also debone the cornish game hens and freeze the meat. I would use the remaining meat within 30 days after freezing.
Smoked Cornish Hens Recipes:
These are some of my favorites to smoke. The flavor is always excellent, and they are easy to change up each time you make them. These can be made on a pellet smoker or any smoker.
- Sweet And Spicy Cornish Game Hens
- Mediterranean Smoked Cornish Game Hens
- Cold Smoked Cornish Game Hens
- Smoked Cornish Game Hens With Brine And Dry Rub
- Coca-Cola Smoked Cornish Game Hens
- Smoked Cornish Game Hens With Brine
Pellet Smoker Recipes To check out
- Dutch Oven In The Smoker Recipes
- Special Occasion And Holiday Recipes
- Smoked Side Dishes
- Smoked Deli Salads
Smoked Cornish Game Hens
- Measure out your dry ingredients in to a large bin or container with a lid.
- Next, add in some water and use a whisk to mix the ingredients. The seasonings won't dissolve all the way.
- Next, add in your cornish game hens and ensure they are fully submerged in the brine.
- Either store in the fridge or add ice to the container.
- Prep your smoker; I always start by turning it on and placing it in my chips.
- While waiting for the smoke to start rolling, spray your racks with non-stick spray or rub them with olive oil.
- Remove your cornish game hens from your brine and place them onto your smoker racks.
- Once you have smoke rolling for your smoker, place your chickens in your smoker.
- I kept my smoker at 200-225 (way easier in colder weather); I like to cook meat low and slow for flavor.
- Keep an eye on your smoker; smoke the chickens for a couple of hours.
- Use a meat thermometer to verify they are 165 degrees; cook for temperature, not for time.
- Remove and serve!