Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

gas grill smoked cornish hens w/asian orange glaze

(1 rating)
Recipe by
Family Favorites
Not Far From Green Bay, WI

Turn your gas grill into a wood-fired smoker with the use of a stainless steel smoker box, filled with your choice of smoky, wood flavor. In this case, I used apple wood, which was amazing. Spatchcocking the hens, also known as butterflying, allows the birds to lay flat against the grill surface for even, slow roasted cooking. Add a restaurant quality glaze at the very end, and you have a meal fit to impress.

(1 rating)
yield 2 -4
prep time 25 Min
cook time 1 Hr 40 Min
method Grill

Ingredients For gas grill smoked cornish hens w/asian orange glaze

  • 2 cornish game hens, fully defrosted
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cooking oil
  • 3/4 c. plus 2 tb. thick orange marmalade
  • 3 tb. rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tb. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, also grated

How To Make gas grill smoked cornish hens w/asian orange glaze

  • 1
    Fill your smoker box to the top with apple wood chunks. Do not soak the wood. You want the meat to smoke, not steam.
  • 2
    Check gas tank. You will be smoking for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Light both sides of the grill and heat to between 400-425 degrees.
  • 3
    Pat dry your hens and lay them on a flat surface. Make two cuts down each side of the spine, using the neck and tail as a guide. Remove spine and any loose bones.
  • 4
    Laying the hens on a flat dry surface, press down on the breastbone until you hear it crack. With your hands, flatten the bird as evenly as you can to allow for even heat distribution.
  • 5
    Drizzle hens with cooking oil of choice. Season hens with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. (Not a lot of seasoning is needed here. That will come later in the Asian glaze.)
  • 6
    Place the smoker box directly over the burners on the left side of the grill. Heat for approximately 20 minutes until you see and smell smoke. It's time for the birds!
  • 7
    Keeping heat between 400-425 degrees, keep burners on left on (smoker side) and turn them off on the right side. You will place the hens, skin side down on the right/off side for indirect heating. Close the lid. Grill/smoke for 10 minutes.
  • 8
    After 10 minutes, with tongs, carefully flip the hens over so that they are now skin side up. Again, close lid, keeping heat at a steady 400-425 degrees. Avoid lifting the lid as much as possible. Lifting the lid will lower the temperature and add to the cooking time. Total cooking time will be similar to baking, 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours.
  • 9
    Combine all glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan. Simmer gently while stirring for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Sauce will thicken upon cooling. Once cool, remove half of the sauce for dipping bowls on the plates. The other half will be used to brush on the hens once they have reached 165 degrees and the heat is turned off.
  • 10
    Grill/smoke the hens for approximately the same amount of time you would bake them, using an instant read meat thermometer at the end to check for doneness. Grill until meat reaches 165 degrees. Turn off all heat.
  • 11
    Once you have turned off the burners, brush the hens liberally with your glaze. Allow to rest and smoke for 10 more minutes. You are ready to serve! Add reserved glaze to dipping bowls and plate.