Cranberry-Balsamic Cornish Game Hens recipe

As I was thinking of different ways I could cook cornish game hens on the BBQ I also thought I should probably find out just what the heck a Rock Cornish Game Hen was.

As it turns out, they're not actually game birds but a type of small domestic chicken, and they're not always hens either, they can be either male or female.

And who knows if they're game or not.

cornish game hen recipe

Regardless of their pedigree, they are a tasty little bird. For this cornish game hens recipe we've created a very appropriate Cranberry-Balsamic reduction that is used to glaze the bird when it's almost cooked.

Tucked under the skin is a butter, lemon and italian seasoning mixture that bastes the meat as it cooks.

And when you stuff the cavity of the hen with lemons the meat stays nice and juicy.

› Cornish Game Hens Recipe

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Indirect Heat: 350F

What you'll need:

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens (1 1/2 to 2 lbs each)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole berry Cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

cranberry balsamic glaze

Step 1:

In a small sauce pan combine the whole cranberry sauce (not a jelly, make sure this is the sauce with the whole cranberries in it), the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thickened.

Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

skin on cornish game hens

Step 2:

Carefully loosen the skin over the breasts of the cornish hens to separate it from the meat.

seasoned cornish hens

Blend together the butter, italian seasoning, lemon peel and salt.

Lift the skin of the bird and spread the butter mixture well all over the breast meat under the skin.

This helps baste the meat as it cooks.

 rock cornish hens stuffed with lemons

Cut the lemon you used for the grated lemon peel into quarters and stuff 2 pieces in the cavity of each hen.

how to truss a cornish hen

Fold the excess skin up over the cavity opening and lemons and fasten with a skewer or toothpick.

how to cook cornish hens on the BBQ

Step 3:

Set up the BBQ or grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 350F.

Place a drip pan under the grate where the cornish hens will cook and fill with water.

When the grill reaches temperature place the birds breast side up and brush with some olive oil.

The game hens will stay in this position for the duration of the cooking time to allow the seasoned butter mixture under the skin to baste down over the meat.

Close the lid.

grilling cornish hens

After about 40 minutes lift the lid and brush or spoon the reserved Cranberry-Balsamic glaze over as much of each hen as possible.

Close the lid of the grill

Monitor the temperature of the meat, for this recipe you'll remove the birds from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 175F.

After removing them from the grill cover with aluminum foil (with a small steam escape hole cut in the top) and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

After resting, cut each grilled game hen in half and serve.


how to cook cornish game hens on the grill

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