Cornish Hens are wonderful. I don’t know if it’s because of their diminutive size, or the fact I like being able to devour my own personalized sized bird. Regardless of the reason, they are delicious and while flipping through the grilling tab on Zite I ran across a recipe for Thai Grilled Chicken. It called for the Cornish Hens to be brined overnight and then slowly smoked.
Gathering the ingredients I made the brine on Friday night and dropped four hens into its aromatic murkiness. The following afternoon I fired up my Old Smokey and slowly cooked the hens over indirect heat with plenty of hickory smoke. It took about an hour an a half (or a little over) to get the birds to the desired level of doneness.
When they were fully cooked the fat was rendered from the skin and they were a deep mahogany color. The meat inside was tender and very flavorful and paired well with a cold beer. Becky who was unsure why I would want to cook such tiny chickens became a believer after her first bite. Thai Grilled Chicken was a very easy recipe, and in the future I will be smoking more of these tiny birds.
2 quarts water
1 cup rum
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, cracked
1 tablespoon white or black peppercorns, cracked
1½ cups honey
10 large cloves garlic, smashed
¼ cup table salt
½ cup soy sauce
4 1.25-lb Cornish game hens
Put all of the ingredients, except the hens, in an 8-quart stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt and the honey.
Put the Cornish game hens in the brine making sure the birds are fully submerged.
Refrigerate 12-24 hours.
Remove the birds from the brine and pat them dry with paper towel. Discard the brine.
Tie the legs of each bird together. Smoke them using your favorite method and equipment, Cook until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.