from my Kitchen to Yours

Rosemary Smoked Cornish Game Hens

rosemary smoked Cornish game hens


  • 3 Cornish game hens, backbone removed and cut into halves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 large sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh lemon verbena, optional but tasty
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of an orange, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil (about 1/2 cup or so)
  • Additional large branches of rosemary for the grill, soaked in water for 30 minutes


    Step 1

  • Place the hens in a baking dish that can hold them in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper, scatter the garlic over, using your fingers remove the leaves from the herbs and add to, along with the lemon and orange. Add a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and massage those birds well. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once or twice.
  • Step 2

  • Heat your grill and set for off heat cooking; the grill temperature when the lid is closed should be about 325°F to 350º F. Place the soaked rosemary sprigs on the cooking area (where the flame is off :-) ) and top those with the lemon and orange slices you have rescued from the marinade. (Or cut fresh, which is what I did) Take any large pieces of herbs off the birds, then place, bone side down on the rosemary "rack". Close the lid and cook for about 1 hour, or until the juices run clear.


Rosemary Smoked Cornish Game Hens are so very tasty and very easy to make.


So o.k…I cheated a little on the time, because you do need to marinate these Rosemary Smoked Cornish Game Hens first, but who is going to make a recipe that says it takes 24 hours of “prep time”?  The marinade really adds great flavor to the hens that I find tend to be lacking in flavor. I was a little worried that the rosemary might impart too much of its flavor into the meat, but as it turned out, it was just right. Don’t worry that the edges of the rosemary burn…we call that smoke…the parts under the hens remain green.

This cooking technique could be used for a dozen different types of “proteins” and would be equally as good with chicken.

Rosemary Smoked Cornish Game Hens

rosemary smoked Cornish game hens

Rosemary Smoked Cornish Game Hens


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