Cornish game hens take on a whole new flavor when prepared in the smoker. These flavorful little birds make for a great appearance on the table for a special dinner but are not too expensive to buy nor hard to prepare. This recipe for Smoked Cornish Game Hens with Peach Glaze will fool your guests into thinking you worked long and hard on dinner.
What are Cornish Game Hens
Cornish game hens sport of bit of a misnomer in that there is nothing wild or “game” about them. They are a cross between a Cornish Chicken and White Plymouth Rock chicken. They have been bred to grow breast meat very fast, and are harvested at a young age and small weight, usually around 2.5 lbs. While they were bred and developed to be a single serving each, I’m more than happy to split one.
Preparing Smoked Cornish Game Hens
I think that almost everything tastes better when it’s been smoked or grilled, including these hens. Most recipes call for them to be roasted or baked, and they’re very good that way. Smoking adds in that extra layer of flavor to take your meal to the next level. Preparing them is easy. As they are usually sold frozen, thaw them out a couple of days in the fridge before using them. Then, remove from the bag, lightly rinse then pat dry. Trim any excess fat, stuff the cavity with lemon, onion, and herbs, if desired, then season. I seasoned these with a light coat of my Grillin’ Shake and a moderate coat of my Lucky 7 seasoning. That is an excellent combination of seasonings for any fish or poultry dish. If you don’t have those, use your favorite grill seasoning, but lightly if it is very salty. Tie the legs together for aesthetics.
Smoking the Game Hens
This is really simple. I like to run my smoker at 275 degrees, and I like to use cherry wood for these hens. Place the hens in the smoker and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the thermometer reads 160, then start glazing.
The peach glaze is so easy I’m almost tempted to make it more complicated. Simply add some peach preserves to a bowl, add soy sauce, dijon mustard, honey, ancho chili powder, and cayenne and mix it up. When the hen reaches 160 degrees in the thigh, brush it on. Let it tighten up as the bird finishes. Pull the hen when it reaches 165 degrees, give it another coat of glaze and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
As always, I hope you enjoy!
- 1//2 cup peach preserves
- 1 TBS dijon mustard
- 1.5 TBS soy sauce
- 1.5 TBS honey
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. Brush on poulty in last few minutes of cooking.