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Smoked Cornish Game Hens With Brine And Dry Rub Recipe

These Smoked Cornish Game Hens With a Brine And Dry Rub Recipe and are full of flavor! Stuff with butter, leeks, celery, and green onions for moist meat!!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Soaking in brine4 d
Total Time4 d 3 hrs 50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 8


  • Smoker


  • 4 Cornish Game Hens
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 Cup of salt
  • ¼ cup of garlic salt
  • ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tbsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup Montreal steak seasoning
  • Ice
  • Sesame oil
  • Jack Daniels Chicken Rub
  • 1 Bundle of Leeks
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions
  • 3 Stalks of Celery
  • Garlic Herb Butter
  • Minced Garlic
  • Twine


  • This meal does take some planning to do. We keep our cornish game hens frozen, this time we put the cornish game hens in the brine frozen on Sunday night and made them for Thursday night football!!
  • Fill a large container with water and put in all your brine and give a bit of a mix with a whisk.
  • Place your frozen game hens into the container and keep refrigerated until you are ready to smoke. Note if you are not placing in a refrigerator you need to keep a constant ice bath on the chickens.
  • Pull your hens and brine mixture out of the fridge a couple of hours before you are ready to smoke to allow them to get to room temperature.
  • When you remove your cornish game hens pat them dry from the brine.
  • Rub the sesame oil on the hens and then seasoning with a rub. I used Jack Daniels Chicken Rub but you can use any seasoning flavoring. (Don’t worry it’s on Amazon -> here)
  • Start your smoker up with the water and wood pucks to get a good smoke rolling and going before putting in your chicken.
  • Spray your smoker racks with a non stick spray (optional).
  • Chop up your celery, leeks, and green onion into stalks that are about the same length.
  • Take your twine and tie a combination of the three into bundles that will fit into the cornish game hens. Note you won't be eating these, this is to keep the meat moist while smoking.
  • Scoop premade garlic butter or scoop your garlic butter blend into balls that will fit into the cornish game hens, you can make these any size I used a Wilton cookie scoop. (We swear by this one -> here the old lady uses it for everything)
  • Hold your hen open and drop in your garlic butterball, minced garlic, and then shove in a bundle of the green mixture.
  • Place your breast side down chicken on the racks in the smoker. Keep your smoker at about 225 degrees and smoke for about 3 ½ hours.
  • *Be sure to use a food thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked to the right temperature!