North African Cornish Game Hens

Dave Mathews


Ok. Here it goes. The first recipe in the Taste of North Africa group. I have made this many times and I have never, never had anyone say 'Ewwww' The one thing you have to remember here is to make twice as much as you think you will need.

pinch tips: How to Brown Chicken






20 Min


1 Hr 15 Min




cornish game hens (three might be necessary)
4 Tbsp
ethiopian spice mixture (berber)
2 Tbsp
1 tsp
white vinegar
1 tsp
sugar, granulated

Directions Step-By-Step

Start out by spatchcocking the hens. This means, using a good pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone. To do this simply cut from the parsons nose, the tail, up either side of the backbone all the way to the neck. Do this on both sides and you will have a flat hen that you can spread out flat with it little wings and legs akimbo. It looks so good. Save the backbone in a freezer bag for broth later on.
After you have spatchcocked the hens fold them out flat and sprinkle with 4 tbsp of the berber. Try to get it even. I put mine in a shaker. That works well. After you have coated the top with the spices grab a large needle and stab the heck out of the birds. I mean go all nuts here. Just stab until you can't stab no more. (This is fun to do as a couple. Gets out all the frustrations of the day). The more holes you poke in these the better. Don't forget the wings. Cornish game hen wings are so much fun and GOOD!
Once you have abused the hens with the needle wrap them very tightly in plastic wrap. I mean tight. Set on the bottom rack of the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, overnight is better.
To prepare to cook go to the local home improvement store and buy two large paving bricks. That should cost about a buck or so. When you get home wrap the bricks in heavy duty aluminum foil.
Heat up the grill to the point where the grates are smokin'. Unwrap your hens and place them split side down on the hottest part of the grill and place a brick on top of each. If you have a lid on you grill do not close it, yet. After 10 minutes reduce the heat to about medium high and flip the birds over. Place bricks on top and close the lid. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes then flip again and replace bricks. Cook for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the hens at the leg joint is 160 degrees F.
Remove the hens to a plate and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile mix the honey, white vinegar and sugar together very well.
When you are ready to serve paint each hen with the honey mixture. Lay them out flat on a plates with some garnish, maybe rosemary or thyme sprigs, and give your guest something they will remember for a long time.Remember you might want to make an extra hen to share after dessert. This goes well with a strong vegetable like brocolirab or oven roasted green cauliflower. You choose.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: African