Rotisserie Cornish Game Hens, Brined and Herbed
I’ve been writing this blog for a little while now, and I’ve been amazed at the number of readers that my rotisserie recipes attract. I know from my own research that rotisserie recipes are few and far between – when I find a new one, I get excited about something else I can try with my favorite grill gadget.
The recipe that everyone seems to find is my Rotisserie Cornish Game Hens. That post has three times more viewers than any other post I’ve done. I was even more amazed to find out that I show up on the first page of search results if you Google “rotisserie cornish game hens”.
*My blog? Showing up “above the fold” on Google? Whoohoo! I’ve hit the big time! On a busy day, I have dozens of readers. Dozens! Hmm. That doesn’t sound as impressive as it did when I said it in my head.
**I’m addicted to Google Analytics. Every morning, I get up and check my stats from the day before – how did I do? What search terms brought people to my blog? Wait…someone in the Czech Republic visited my blog? Where are they from? Liberec? Where’s that?
I was inspired to do a follow up post. If people like one rotisserie cornish game hen recipe, why not another one? The main reason I wanted to revisit my little chickens is: Usually, I don’t pre-salt the hens.
*It’s a great way to do it, but the overnight salting takes more foresight than I have under normal circumstances.
Instead, I usually brine my cornish game hens. Brining gives you more of a temperature cushion in poultry, because the brine causes the meat to suck up more moisture. That’s good if you accidentally cook the breast meat past 165*F – the extra moisture keeps them from getting too dry to be good to eat. Also, and more important, it seasons the meat all the way through, and if you add a little sugar to the brine it gives it a nice hint of sweetness.
Recipe: Rotisserie Cornish Game Hens, Brined and Herbed
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I use a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9“x13”, or whatever fits your grill. I use an enameled steel roasting pan.)
- Butchers twine
- Instant Read Thermometer
*Different Herbs: The herbs listed above are what you get if you buy a “Poultry Pack” of fresh herbs, which is what I look for when I want a variety of different fresh herbs. Use whatever herbs you like, just try to use roughly the same amount, total, that I have above. Oh, and watch out for rosemary. A little is good, too much and you wind up with something that tastes like a pine tree. During the summer, when our garden is producing, I’ll use what we have grown – usually some combination of parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
*Of course, after making this, I went out and checked our garden – the thyme is growing like mad. Darn! I could have used it in the recipe. Next time…
*Watch your hands with the hot spit! Use oven mitts or (preferably) welding gloves.
*As you can see in the pictures, I made my rotisserie pan potatoes along side this recipe. They’re almost as good as the hens – potatoes browned in chicken fat. Just don’t pretend you’re on a diet when you eat them…
*If you can find them, use fresh hens. It’s been a busy week, and I didnt’ want to make the trip downtown, so I used frozen hens this time around. It worked out – with the brine and the herb rub, they tasted great. If you do use frozen hens, make sure they’re thawed before brining them. The brine doesn’t get absorbed if the hens are frozen.
*I made a big mess trying to remove these hens from the spit. The back pair of hens dripped all over the table and the floor while I was trying to get the front pair loose and on the platter. Next time I’m going to line up a sheet pan next to my platter, to give me a landing strip for the juices.
*I love these Rubbermaid 8 quart food service containers for brining. They’re the perfect size for 4 cornish hens (or 2 chickens) to just fit. If you don’t have one of these, try your stockpot. If you need more brine to get your chickens submerged, just use a ratio of 1/4 cup salt, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 quart water to make more.
*Are cornish game hens really a game bird? No, they’re just a young chicken.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Alton Brown introduced me to brining, but Cooks Illustrated helped me get it down to a science.
The Cooks Illustrated’s Guide to Grilling And Barbecue
|Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.|
Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.
It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!
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