The Cornish hen, often referred to as a Cornish game hen or Rock Cornish hen, is a hybrid chicken first developed in the United States in the 1950s. Besides being much smaller than its predecessor (the Cornish-Rock chicken, which is the common “broiler” chicken worldwide), it also generally has a higher white-to-dark meat ratio than its big brothers. Some other interesting tidbits include the fact that the Cornish “game” hen is not a game bird at all, it can be either male or female, and it reaches maturity within 30 days.
I love cooking these little bird because they’re the perfect single-person meal. You get the best of everything! Both drumsticks, both wings, and both oysters. I also find cooking Cornish hens easy and stress-free, and they can be ready in much less time than a full-sized bird.
1 cornish hen
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 head garlic (or 8 cloves)
1 tbsp melted butter or ghee, (or olive oil)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
Gently rinse the bird in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels on the outside and inside.
Rub the melted butter/oil all over the chicken, then place the 1/2 head of garlic (all at once, or with separate cloves) and thyme inside the cavity. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Warm up your grill, then set it up for indirect grilling (turn off one side of the grill). Place the cornish hen on the cool side of the grill, face-down. Adjust the heat to get to a roasting temperature of around 350 degrees.
After 45 minutes, it will start looking nice and toasty.
Flip the bird over and roast for another 15 minutes.
That’s it! Let it sit for five minutes before serving. Keep in mind that this recipe is only for one bird, but you can totally scale it for more eaters. It is a great way to feed small parties (everyone loves getting their own bird!).
12 thoughts on “Simple Cornish Hen”
That loooks delicious! I wonder if mom would cook me my own cornish hen? Of course, she would take the bones out. I’m off to ask her. XOXO Bacon
Bacon, it never hurts to ask! Let us know what Mom says :)
Individual cornish hens sounds like a great dinner party idea. Thanks! I’ll definitely be doing this soon.
Sweet, let me know how it goes!
Yum, I love the idea of grilling a Cornish hen! Such a great idea.
After a couple soggy Cornish hens in the oven, I’ve come to realize that grilling is the way to go for these birds :)
Nice job. Never thought of grilling game hen whole.
…I recently mentioned in a post my weakness for food with “grill stripes”…now THAT’S exactly what I’m talking about! BEAUTIFUL!!
Thanks Peter! :)
I was expecting something WAY different when I clicked to find out about the term ‘oyster’. More along the line of prairie oysters…
Turns out I actually I love that part of the bird! These look super delicious, love the sexy grill marks!
That’s hilarious about the oysters! I first learned the term from Amelie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpjlQSCbhjw