Smoked Cornish Hen


(Click on pics to enlarge)

This can be a good Easter meal providing you have a good BBQ pit/Smoker and wood chips. I use apple wood for all birds.

I have been making this dish forever and it is so good. I serve it with Oaky string beans and dressing using the drippings in the pan for gravy.  (See recipes below).


First thing is to defrost the birds and relax them. As Julia Child would say, “You need a laid-back bird.”


1 small onion chopped
1 orange chopped
1 apple chopped
Several sprigs fresh rosemary


While the birds are standing, take a chopstick and separate the skin from the breast to make a pocket. Pour oil in the pocket of both breasts and then take a very small spoon (1/8 measuring tsp.) and liberally stuff the pocket with herbs. I use Herbes de Provence. Then salt the cavity with sea salt, place the rosemary inside the cavity and stuff the cavity with the mirepoix.



Cover an oven proof glass pan with aluminum foil (easier to clean), place the birds in the pan, tie the legs together and then spoon in the remaining mirepoix on the sides and add one cup of white wine to the pan.

1 cup of white wine


Make a fire and separate the coals.


Place the pan between the coals and smoke with apple wood chip or a piece of your favorite hardwood placed on the fire.

Check the fire every 30 minutes.  The temp should be at 255° to 300°.


At one hour the birds should look like this.


Cook birds two hours until they look like this.

Preheat oven to 250°.  Bring in the birds and cut them in half, remove all the onion, apple and orange from the cavity.  Remove the mirepoix from the pan and strain the drippings into a bowl.  Place the birds back in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and put them in the oven to keep them warm and moist while you cook the side dishes.


1 cup pan drippings
1 tsp. corn starch
2 tsp. cold water

Premix cornstarch with cold water. Add that to a small sauce pan with the drippings. While whisking the gravy get the sauce pan hot.  The gravy will thicken very quickly, salt to taste. Turn off, cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Oaky String Beans

2 strips of bacon chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Bunch of fresh string beans
Salt and Pepper

In a hot sauce pan, fry the bacon to render the fat. Add garlic and fry, but don’t burn. Add the beans, mix, while the pan is hot add the Balsamic Vinegar and Worcestershire. Mix several time. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let beans steam until al dente.


I just love this dish.

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