Cornish hens are young chickens small enough for individual servings—great for dinner parties, but how many home cooks have ever actually cooked them? Chowhounds recently tossed around advice on cooking Cornish hens. Most recommended grilling or roasting them whole to end up with juicy meat and crisp skin.

One popular approach is spatchcocking the birds, pressing them flat before grilling over indirect heat (travelerjjm weights them on the grill with a foil-covered brick until almost done, which gives juicier results). Move the hens over direct heat for the last five minutes of grilling to crisp the skin, shikken says.

If you’d rather roast, you can still spatchcock the hens, but be sure to set your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, GretchenS says, so they crisp as they cook. Meanwhile, suzigirl‘s trick for supercrisp skin is to start out by putting the raw hens in a colander and pouring boiling water over them. Dry thoroughly before seasoning and roasting.

Discuss: Cornish Hen question ….

Photo of CHOW’s Cornish Game Hens with Millet Stuffing by Chris Rochelle /

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