Bacon Wrapped & Smoked Cornish Hens
The beauty of cornish hens is that each person can have their own bird and it may be prepared to taste of the individual. Satisfy your inner pig with our bacon wrapped cornish hen of if someone doesn't like bacon (ack!) smoke it without the wrap.
3 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of fresh Rosemary chopped finely
1 teaspoon of granulated garlic
Cracked peppercorn blend (to taste)
1 teaspoon celery seed
Wash and dry your cornish hens before the brining process. Mix all the ingredients well in a small bowl and apply directly to your thawed hens.
A dry brine will add flavor and moisture back into the turkey. Basically, a dry brine is rubbing salt and herbs into the skin of your hens and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The Kosher salt herb mixture draws natural juices from the hens while adding flavor at the same time.
Rosemary Garlic Butter
1/2 pound of unsalted butter softened to room temperature
4 small cloves of Garlic minced
1 tablespoon of fresh Rosemary chopped finely
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of cracked peppercorn blend
Blend all ingredients well and refrigerate until needed. Bring the herbed butter to room temperature before applying it to your hens. You can make the herbed butter in advance.
Let's Start Smoking Your Cornish Hens
Begin by liberally apply the herbed butter mixture inside and out of your hens making sure they are well covered. If you're using the bacon wrap; the herbed butter will help keep the bacon in place while cooking. Butter up the plain hen the same way.
6 slices of uncooked thick sliced bacon.
The trick here is to create your basketweave on a flat surface. Take a sheet of parchment paper and start weaving bacon in a basketweave pattern. Once you've enough to cover your turkey, carefully flip the bacon basket weave over the breast your bird. Take extra strips of bacon and wrap the legs and wings if needed
Set your cooker up for smoking using the divider plate for indirect heat. Preheat your cooker to 325 degrees. Smoke your hens uncovered until the internal temperature in the thigh is 180 degrees - about 1.5 to 2 hours, making sure that the tip of your thermometer is not up against the thigh bone.
Carefully remove your hens and let them sit for 15 minutes before carving.