Cornish Game Hens, Hot Chicken-Style

This recipe calls for "spatchcocking" the hens. This is an old term that has come back into vogue. It is splitting a small bird down the back, then opening out and flattening the two sides like a book. Another term is "butterfly." This allows the bird to cook evenly, without flipping. This recipe calls for Cornish hens, but chicken leg quarters can also be used, avoiding the "spatchcocking" altogether. This recipe is excerpted from the Hot Chicken Cookbook, by Nashvillian Timothy Charles Davis.
January 15, 2016

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Preparation

1. To spatchcock (or flatten out) the Cornish hens, use poultry shears or kitchen scissors to remove the hen's spine. Press down on the breast bone to open it out flat. Pat hens dry and set aside. 

2. In a small bowl, combine all spices to create a rub. Take hens and rub with a bit of olive oil and any amount of the spice mixture you want depending on your preferred spice level. Let hens sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.

3. Heat a large skillet with the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add hens, skin side down, to skillet. Top hens with another pot, dutch oven, or other flat, weighty kitchen implement. Cook until juices run clear in thickest part of hen and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165ºF– about 15 minutes a side.

4. For added heat and extra crispy skin, mix spice mix with olive oil and reapply to the skin about 5 minutes before the bird is done. 

Recipe excerpted from The Hot Chicken Cookbook by Timothy Charles Davis ($19.95, Spring House Press)

 

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
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