How to Make Delicious and Smoky Cornish Hens at Home

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Cornish Hens and the Art of Smoking Them to Perfection

Cornish hens are a fantastic alternative to chicken or turkey, and smoking them on your grill or smoker can add that perfect flavor and tenderness that everyone craves. Smoking meats has been a popular cooking method for years as it imparts a delicious smoky flavor that can be hard to beat.

When smoking Cornish hens, it’s important to start with a clean and properly heated grill or smoker. You’ll want to season your hens with your favorite seasonings, and make sure they are cooked until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choosing the Right Wood Chips and Seasonings

When it comes to choosing the right wood chips to smoke your Cornish hens, there are plenty of options. Hickory and mesquite are two popular choices, but you can also experiment with other fruit or nut woods like apple or pecan.

Seasonings can vary depending on personal preference, but a simple mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary can create a delicious and flavorful result.

Preparing Your Cornish Hens for Smoking

Before smoking your Cornish hens, it’s essential to prepare them correctly. Rinse the birds under cold, running water, pat dry with paper towels, and apply any desired seasoning or rub. Make sure to place them on a rack or use some type of skewers to hold them in place.

Smoking Your Cornish Hens

Once your Cornish hens are properly seasoned and prepared, it’s time to place them in your smoker or grill. You’ll want to smoke them for approximately 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process.


Q: Can I smoke Cornish hens without a smoker or grill?

A: Yes, you can still smoke Cornish hens without a smoker or grill. You can use a stovetop smoker or even a simple DIY smoker using a large pot, a wire rack, and some wood chips.

Q: Can I smoke Cornish hens frozen or must they be thawed first?

A: It’s best to fully thaw your Cornish hens before smoking them. This ensures that they cook evenly and thoroughly.

Q: What side dishes pair well with smoked Cornish hens?

A: Smoked Cornish hens pair well with a variety of side dishes, including roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and salad.


If you’re looking for a unique and delicious option for your next family meal or gathering, try smoking some Cornish hens. With a little bit of preparation and some patience, you can create a mouth-watering and unforgettable meal that everyone will love. Remember to experiment with different wood chips and seasonings to find your perfect combination.


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