Cornish game hens - my first experience with a smoker

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by nh smoker, May 29, 2015.

  1. nh smoker

    nh smoker Newbie

    Just got my little WSM last week and broke it in with some Cornish game hens.  Let them soak in a brine of salt and brown sugar for 2 hours and used Lysander's poultry rub because I had it in the cupboards. It was a learning experience for sure, couldn't really get the heat higher than 200 but after a little more than 4 hours with some hickory chips, the payoff was divine. These suckers were tasty. Followed up the next day with some spare ribs slathered in barbecue sauce that I forgot to take a picture of but I got the temperature issue mostly figured out.  Just picked up a turkey breast to smoke tomorrow so I came back here looking for some guidance.  Can't wait! 

  2. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     Cornish hens look great! [​IMG] Brine the turkey breasts as you did the hens. Smoke to 160 IT then let them rest under foil about 15-20 mins. Should be well done and juicy. Remember to take pics!

  3. nh smoker

    nh smoker Newbie

    Thanks for the foil tip.  Glad I didn't wait until tomorrow morning to read some instructions so I get it into the brine tonight. Pictures to follow.  
  4. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     Two to four hours brine time should be plenty. Hope it turns out great!

  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tasty looking hens!

    I typically won't brine my turkey breasts. Main reason is the breasts we get here are unfortunately already enhanced. Just Simple rub of salt pepper garlic and usually a bit of paprika. For wood I'll usually use a mix of pecan and cherry or Kiawe and cherry. Sometimes peach or Apple.

    I like to run my pit a bit higher for poultry to get the skin to crisp up. Typically shoot for close to 350. Smoke until the IT hits 165, foil and rest for 30-45 minutes slice and serve.

    One more thing I run a dry smoker no water in the water pan. I do leave it in wrapped in foil to act as a diffuser. Sometimes though I will remove it all together for a direct style cook.
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  6. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Those hens look really nice!

    I'm interested in your opinion of that Weber Smokey Mountain 14" .  They have crossed my mind .  Currently I use a homebuilt Mini for my smaller cooks. b
  7. nh smoker

    nh smoker Newbie

    This being my first smoker, I really don't have much to compare it to, but I'm happy with the quality.  The size is perfect for me as I usually am cooking for no more than 4 and the smaller size uses less charcoal.  I cooked five hens but could have fit a sixth. Not a lot of room for ribs, but I think I can get a rack to stand them on end and that would solve that problem. I did just finish my third smoke, a turkey breast just under 7lbs for 3 1/2 hours at 225 - 250.  With the exception of the first smoke where I didn't really get the coals going well before starting the smoke, It's been relatively easy to maintain the temperature.  Today I did nothing more but check on it every so often and although I haven't cut into, it looks pretty good: 

    bdskelly likes this.
  8. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No argument here brother. It looks BETTER than good! b

    meathead14 likes this.
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks as if you're getting a handle on your Smoking . Your Poultry looked great. Thanks for the look . . .

    Keep posting you pics...
  10. That turkey does look great.  (So did the hens)  I saw that you had cook temps of 250 and lower.    How was the skin?   Soft or crispy or in between?   It had lovely color.    I am very curious as I had thought to do Hens as my first smoke on my new cooker (arriving next week) and mine (MES 30 w/window + RF) will only go up to 275.     I'm sure I could finish them under the broiler or even just strip the skin, but was wondering about yours.

  11. i would say if you have a mini i wouldnt buy the 14.5 i have one but it was my first smoker and wished i had went with the 22.5 (i wasnt 100% sure i would enjoy smoking meat as much as i do) 
  12. nh smoker

    nh smoker Newbie

    I'm glad I smoked the hens for my first smoke and yes, they were tasty.  Skin I would say leaned toward the soft side but the turkey at 225 was crispy.  I usually don't eat the skin so it really didn't make much of a difference.  Since the hens and the turkey, I've done a pork butt that was so good, I just did another today using apple wood instead of hickory.  I've been smoking everything right around the 225-240 range and I have zero complaints. 
  13. nh smoker

    nh smoker Newbie

    The finished product on turkey day. 


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