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How To Smoke Cornish Game Hen

How To Smoke Cornish Game Hen

Smoking Cornish Game Hen: A Delicious and Flavorful Option

When it comes to smoking poultry, Cornish game hens are a fantastic choice. These small birds are tender, juicy, and full of flavor, making them perfect for smoking. If you’re new to smoking meats or just looking for a new recipe to try, smoking Cornish game hens is a great option. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of smoking Cornish game hens to perfection.

Choosing Your Cornish Game Hen

Before you start smoking your Cornish game hen, it’s important to choose the right bird. Look for hens that are plump and fresh, with smooth, moist skin. If possible, opt for organic or free-range hens for the best flavor and quality.

Preparing the Hen

Before you begin smoking, it’s essential to prepare the Cornish game hen properly. Start by rinsing the hen under cold water and patting it dry with paper towels. Next, season the hen generously with your favorite dry rub or marinade. This will infuse the meat with delicious flavor as it smokes.

Setting Up the Smoker

Now it’s time to prepare your smoker. Whether you’re using a charcoal, electric, or gas smoker, make sure it’s clean and in good working condition. Preheat the smoker to a temperature of 225-250°F (107-121°C) for optimal smoking.

Smoking the Hen

Once the smoker is ready, place the seasoned Cornish game hen on the cooking grate. Close the lid and let the hen smoke for approximately 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). For added flavor, consider using wood chips such as hickory, apple, or cherry during the smoking process.

Monitoring the Temperature

It’s crucial to monitor the temperature of the smoker throughout the smoking process. Use a reliable meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the hen regularly. This will ensure that the hen is cooked to perfection without drying out.

Resting and Serving

Once the Cornish game hen reaches the desired temperature, carefully remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful bird. After resting, carve the hen and serve it with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables or a fresh salad.


Smoking Cornish game hens is a wonderful way to enjoy tender, flavorful poultry with a hint of smokiness. By following these simple steps, you can impress your family and friends with a delicious smoked Cornish game hen that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering. So fire up your smoker, grab a couple of hens, and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

Share your experience smoking Cornish game hens or ask for tips in the Cooking Techniques forum.
What is the best wood to use for smoking Cornish game hen?
The best wood for smoking Cornish game hen is a fruitwood such as apple or cherry. These woods impart a sweet and mild flavor that complements the delicate taste of the game hen.
How long should I brine the Cornish game hen before smoking?
It’s recommended to brine the Cornish game hen for at least 4-6 hours before smoking. This helps to infuse the meat with flavor and keep it moist during the smoking process.
What temperature should I smoke Cornish game hen at?
Aim to smoke Cornish game hen at a temperature of around 250-275°F (121-135°C). This allows the meat to cook through evenly while still absorbing the smoky flavor.
Should I spatchcock the Cornish game hen before smoking?
Yes, spatchcocking the Cornish game hen (removing the backbone and flattening the bird) helps it cook more evenly and allows the smoke to penetrate the meat more effectively.
How long does it take to smoke a Cornish game hen?
Typically, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to smoke a Cornish game hen at the recommended temperature of 250-275°F (121-135°C). However, always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
What are some good seasoning options for smoked Cornish game hen?
Some popular seasonings for smoked Cornish game hen include a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. You can also use a dry rub or marinade to add extra flavor before smoking.
Can I use a brine or marinade with citrus flavors for Cornish game hen?
Yes, a brine or marinade with citrus flavors, such as lemon or orange, can add a bright and refreshing taste to the Cornish game hen when smoked. Just be mindful not to let it marinate for too long, as the citrus can start to “cook” the meat.

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