Often, when it comes to smoking poultry, many people become quite nervous as they may have had a previous experience that resulted in a dry outcome. Or, they may have read how difficult it is to maintain moisture when you smoke poultry. Today, I’m going to show you how to smoke Cornish game hens on the Orion Cooker.
Why does the Orion Cooker make a difference? Because this isn’t a traditional smoker. This is a convection cooker that you can smoke with.
Preparing the Orion Cooker
One difference with the Orion Cooker is it requires about 13lbs. of charcoal briquettes to produce enough heat to sustain cooking. I recommend you start the charcoal for the unit first, especially if using a chimney starter, which is my preferred method. I like to line the drip pan with foil to reduce the amount of clean up once the hens have cooked. There is no need to add water to the pan. I also add SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips in a blend of Sugar Maple and Wild Cherry to the area around the drip pan. These chips will smolder and give off great wood flavoring while the hens cook, producing a beautiful finished color and flavor.
Preparing the Hens
The preparation for our hens is very simple. First, as with any poultry item, you want to remove the giblets, wash off the hens, and pat dry. There is no need to truss these birds as the Orion Cooker will cook every part evenly. Once cleaned, it’s time to decide how you want to enhance the flavors of the hens; dry or wet rub, brine, etc. I like to put a dry rub on the birds first then drizzle with a bit of oil to make the skin crispy. Feel free to apply whatever rub ingredients give you the flavors you prefer. Mine contains brown sugar, pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, cayenne, curry, cumin. Apply the rub generously and then drizzle with oil — mine is almond oil.
Once the hens are ready to go on the grill, I add a softened butter that’s been mixed with a couple of tablespoons of orange juice all over the skin. This will contribute flavor as well as aide in the crisping of the skin.
With a dry rub, orange butter, and a little oil, these Cornish game hens cook using convection heat from the Orion Cooker. Great smoke flavor is added using Minuto® Wood Chips from SmokinLicious®. In just 75 minutes, you will have the most moist, flavorful, tender hens you could imagine. With a crispy skin and great bronzed color, you couldn’t ask for anything more. Remember, the Orion Cooker can hold comfortably about 8 hens so make it a party. We hope you enjoyed our blog CORNISH GAME HEN MEETS SMOKE IN THE ORION COOKER