Last weekend I rotisseried Cornish hen for my family (and regrettably didn’t blog about it) so when I was asked to prepare Cornish hens for this weekend I decided to try out a different method. After some googling, I decided to butterfly them (sometimes called spatchcocking) and then BBQ them and the results were wonderful. Not only was the outside crispy and well spiced, the inside was moist (yes, even the white meat) and delicious!
Butterflying is a technique that requires removing the spine and then flattening the meat. This allows for the meat to lie flatter on the cooking surface and thus get cooked evenly and quickly. You can see a slightly horrifying but very helpful demonstration of the technique in this video. The recipe I used was slightly different than the one in the video but very similar.
I used 4 small Cornish hens (about .5 lbs each) but you can use larger ones if you cook them slightly longer. Each Cornish hen feeds about 2 people. The cooking instructions are below:
First wash and butterfly the chickens before applying a spice rub. Then lay them out as flat as possible and season them generously with the following spices:
After seasoning both sides, cover the chicken and let it sit in the fridge for about 30-60 minutes. Try to rearrange the fridge slightly such that there is some weight on top of the chickens to help further flatten them.
Heat the grillup to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit and rub the surface of the hot grill with the flat half of a half of an onion to make the surface less sticky. I like to use an onion because then I wrap it up in aluminum foil and grill it too! Place the chickens on the grill for about ten minutes on each side (or until the internal temp reaches about 160-165 degrees) and they will be done.