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The BEST Smoke Cornish Game

The Cornish Game Hen will become your signature dish after sharing with your family!  You won’t believe how easy and delicious it is!  It is so easy to make a Smoked Cornish Hen– follow our simple recipe to learn how.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, hen, smoked meats, spatchcock
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author AJ Maudsley


  • two cornish game hens
  • for the brine:
  • 1 2 C Kosher Salt
  • 3 T. Brown Sugar
  • 1 2 orange sliced
  • 4 C. boiling water
  • 6 C. ice
  • For the rub:
  • 2 T. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 4 tsp ground clove


  1. Remove hens from packages and clean under cold running water.
  2. Make Brine by adding 1/2 C Kosher Salt, 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar, 1/2 orange (sliced), 4 Cups water.
  3. Boil for 2 minutes or until salt dissolved.
  4. Add 6 cups ice and stir until melted to cool brine down.
  5. Add hens to brine and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is acceptable.
  6. Preheat smoker to 225° F
  7. Remove hens and rinse well.
  8. Spatchcock the hens by removing the backbone with kitchen shears and lay flat.
  9. Season generously with the poultry rub of your choice or the following rub:
  10. 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground clove.
  11. Place on smoker for 20 minutes then increase heat to 350.
  12. Cook hens for approximately another 15-20 minutes or until a probe thermometer reads 165 in the thickest part of the breast.
  13. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
  14. Carve and serve.

Recipe Notes

To bake in your oven you can  hens 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue roasting 30 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F