Funny story. When I originally wrote this post, I THOUGHT my mom gave me the idea for apple cider vinegar marinated Cornish game hens when she told me about a recipe she tried that turned out great. So I decided to try my own version, and it turned out great. When I called to thank her for the idea, she was appalled that I used apple cider vinegar; she had told me to use apple cider! No vinegar. Apparently I was not listening that closely. Either way, this recipe for apple cider VINEGAR marinated Cornish game hens turned out wonderful. I guess I’ll try my hand at the apple cider marinade another time.
Lets get into the recipe. But first, what is a Cornish game hen? It is not a game bird, nor is it a hen by definition (can be male or female). They are chickens that grow large breasts very quickly, in fewer than 5 weeks, enabling them to be slaughtered earlier. That is how we get the small, personal sized bird we are all used to seeing at the dinner table. I love to work with these “hens” as it can be fun to personalize each bird, especially if you are entertaining.
The birds tend to be somewhat bland, so the vinegar and lemon add that necessary extra kick of flavor. This recipe serves 2, and is incredibly easy to make.
Remove the spine from the hens using a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Once removed, break the breast bone and remove connective tissue from legs to lay flat (pictured) and place the hens in a plastic zip lock bag.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour the contents into the zip lock bag with the hens and close tightly. Shake the bag to ensure the marinade is distributed evenly and let sit overnight (18-24 hours).
Heat the grill to about 450 degrees and cook the birds for about 12 minutes on each side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Fun to eat with your hands if you like that sort of thing 🙂
What recipes do you like to make with Cornish game hens? How did you like this recipe? Do you have any suggestions to improve the recipe? I would love to hear your comments!