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!).