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Cornish Game Hens

Smoked Cornish Game Hens

Flavorful, smoked birds with herbs and butter.
Course Main Course
Author Phen Pavelka


  • 4 cornish game hens (1 ½ - 2 lbs)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 8 tbsp dry rub, or enough to coat each hen - I used Bob Byron’s Butt Rub
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce - optional if you want to glaze your bird. I used our Smoked BBQ Source quick and easy BBQ Sauce


  • Rinse each Cornish game hen and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Pull the skin away from the breast meat using your finger, being careful not to tear it.
  • Put ½ tbsp butter on each side of breast meat in each bird.
  • Place half a sprig’s worth of rosemary in along with the butter.
  • Place ¼ tsp of thyme in along with the butter.
  • Coat each bird with a dry rub.
  • Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Prepare smoker to 275°F.
  • Arrange Cornish game hens on grates and close the smoker.
  • Cook hens to 160°F internal temperature at the thickest part of breast and thigh.
  • Increase smoker temperature to 300°F.
  • Glaze each bird with BBQ sauce - optional.
  • Continue to glaze the hens until their internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove from smoker, tent with foil and let rest at least 15 minutes.
  • Serve whole or carved.