Mesquite-Smoked Cornish Game Hen
Following my successful foray into meat smoking with salmon, I decided to try some Cornish hen. Since the smoker I have doesn’t have anything near an accurate thermometer, I ordered the Maverick ET-73 Dual Probe remote model from Amazon, which made me feel a lot safer cooking poultry.
I brined the hens for a day in saltwater, cleaned them, and then rubbed them in dill. I tried to keep the smoker temp around 250 degrees, and it took the hens about 3 hours to come up to 160 degrees internally. Throughout I basted the birds with an apple barbeque sauce. For wood I used mesquite, because I haven’t gotten around to harvesting the nearest apple tree yet. Unfortunately, near the end with outside temps dropping and the charcoal starting to die, I wasn’t able to get the internal temp up to 165+, which is what I’d read was appropriate for Cornish hen. Sadly, I had to finish them in the oven for about 15 minutes to get them to the point where I felt they were ok to eat.
We ended up having the meat on sandwiches with olive oil mayo and onions. It was a bit dry because of the oven, but still pretty tasty.