Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen Recipe

Greg was given a Cornish game hen by a friend, so he grilled it up and shared his recipe. Check out the podcast if you want to hear more!

The Cornish game hen looks like a miniature chicken and most chicken recipes can be adapted to this hen. Because of its small size, the game hen cooks through more quickly than a standard chicken. This actually makes it easier to achieve crispy skin and properly cooked meat simultaneously. And the fatty skin naturally bastes the meat, keeping it moist as it cooks.

1 Cornish game hen approx 2-3 pounds
Pop Smoke Memphis Style Rub
Hot Brass Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce

The Directions:

Spatchcock the Hen
Spatchcock, also known as Butterflying, is a simple way to flatten the bird for a quicker grilling. You can use the same technique when smoking a hen as well.


Set the bird breast-side down on the counter and cut along one side of the spine with kitchen shears. The bones cut pretty easily. When you have cut from one end to the other, cut along the other side of the spine.

Cut along both sides of the backbone of the chicken with kitchen shears. Remove bone and reserve for another use or discard. With the skin-side down, cut down into the breast bone and a bit of the cartilage above the bone about 1/4-inch deep using the tip of a sharp knife. Turn the chicken skin-side up.

Turn the bird over and flatten it with your hands. You might hear the breastbone crack, but that is completely normal.

Rub down the bird with hot sauce and Pop smoke - make sure to coat both sides of the hen

Get the grill or smoker to medium to medium high temp - for this one I started used the indirect grilling method around 300F and raised the temp at the end to 350F. Note: I used Pecan wood chips for smoking

Remove chicken from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before grilling so it can come to room temperature.

Place chicken bone-side down onto the preheated grill and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 150 degrees F. Flip the chicken skin-side up (optional: brush with barbecue sauce) Continue grilling until chicken is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 20 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F.

Remove from the grill and allow the hen to rest, about 10 minutes. Cut the hen and serve with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.

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