Grilled Cornish Game Hens

A typical Cornish Game Hen is about 2 ½ pounds, so it is a good substitute for the pre-packaged grocery store selection and less intimidating or time consuming than a full-sized bird. These hens do well in the oven or on the grill, cooked whole or easily butchered. To prepare one Cornish Game Hen, cut away the spine with scissors and split the breast, removing the breastbone. Leave it butterflied or cut it in half. Once prepared, they work great on the grill and are a perfect addition to a summer barbecue. Brining helps to keep the meat moist, but these delicate birds don’t need a barbecue sauce.

By / Photography By Amy Nawrocki and Eric D. Lehman | July 10, 2017


Combine ingredients in a large pot. Mix well to dissolve salt and sugar. Cool to room temperature. Immerse split hens in cooled brine, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Combine basting mixture ingredients and set aside.

Prepare grill and bring heat up to medium (350°). Brush grates with oil so birds don’t stick. Cook hens skin-side up for 25 minutes, basting once. Flip and cook for an additional 15 minutes, basting again before finished. Delicious when served with potato salad or roasted Brussels sprouts.

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Basting Mixture
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Four dried chilis (optional)
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