This is the first time I have prepared Grilled Spatchcock Cornish Hens – and let me say how this will be a new recurring recipe for our family. We love Spatchcock Chicken/Butterflied Chicken so much that we knew this one would be a hit too. These turn out so tender and juicy, similar to how the Beer Can Chicken does.
My local grocery store marks down meats that are nearing their Sell-By dates, and I was able to save 50% by picking these up and grilling them on the same day! You gotta love that! We grilled up a gorgeous Spatchchock Cornish Hen for a casual Saturday afternoon lunch and felt very spoiled!
How to Spatchchock a Cornish Hen
Spatchcock, also known as Butterflying, is a simple way to flatten the bird for a quicker grilling. To spatchcock a cornish hen, set it breast-side down on the counter and cut along one side of the spine with kitchen shears. The bones cut pretty easily. When you have cut from one end to the other, cut along the other side of the spine.
Turn the bird over and flatten it with your hands. You might hear the breastbone crack, but that is completely normal.
And that’s it! You have just spatchcocked a cornish hen.
Prepare the Cornish Hen for the Grill
I set up the grill for direct heat. I used my Big Green Egg and let it heat up to 350 degrees. A gas grill will work just as well, but I am addicted to my BGE!
Seasoning the Cornish Hen
One of my favorite all-purpose seasonings is DizzyDust from Dizzy Pig in Manassas, VA. It is fairly close to my house, and I love taking trips over to see their new grilling accessories. One of these days, I will take a class there too. You can find these spices online on Amazon as well so everyone can use them! They are clean tasting without any additives.
I grabbed the coarse ground DizzyDust and liberally coated both sides of the hen. I did not worry about brushing olive oil on first as the seasoning adhered to the skin just fine, and the skin side is up at the beginning of the grill which will help keep the seasoning from falling off. The cornish hen did not stick to the grill at all. If you fear it will, you can brush olive oil on the grill grates for safe measure.
How to Grill the Hen
Place the hen with the skin side up straight on the grate and grill for 15 minutes. Turn the bird over (so the skin side is down) and grill for another 15 minutes or until the temperature of the thickest point is 165 degrees. Remove it from the grill and let rest for ten minutes before serving. You are allowing it to rest so the juices stay in the bird and not run onto the plate.
I was shocked at how juicy this was coming off the grill, and the flavor of the DizzyDust was just perfect for the hen!
How Long To Cook the Cornish Hen
The nice thing with spatchcocked birds is that they take less time to cook. My hens took 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Always check the internal temperature, though. 165 degrees is the magic number.
What Grilled Vegetables to Serve with Butterflied Cornish Hens
Grilled Patty Pan Squash is my go-to recipe for fall grilling. These taste delish, and take almost no effort to season and grill. Definitely buy the smaller ones so you can take advantage of the tender, thinner skins.
Grilled Balsamic Carrots is my family’s favorite. The sweet and tangy glaze was so good, that my son ate several of them before I could wrangle them to the kitchen. It is super healthy, so I won’t complain too much that we didn’t quite have enough for everyone else! 😀
Asian Green Bean Bundles are a fun treat as well. You can’t go wrong with a bacon-wrapped ANYTHING! I love wrapping a bundle of green beans to make it easy to serve. Kids love these.
Prepare the Cornish Hen
- To spatchcock the hen, use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the spine and press the hen flat
- Use Dizzy Pig's Dizzy Dust seasoning to liberally coat both sides of the hen. If you don't have this seasoning, use your favorite chicken seasoning
Grill the Hen
- Preheat your grill to 350 degrees.
- Place the hen over direct heat with the skin side up for 15 minutes.
- Turn the hen over and grill skin side down for 15 more minutes.
- The hen is fully cooked when the temperature of the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.