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Tender-grilled Cornish Game Hens

By David Bowers
Published: January 20, 2011
Cornish Game Hens
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
An overnight bath in a sprightly buttermilk marinade makes these game hens tender and juicy. Assume that one hen will serve two people, but hefty eaters and big guys may want one apiece! This recipe serves 4.

1       quart buttermilk
¼     cup olive oil
4       garlic cloves, minced
1       teaspoon whole dried thyme leaves
1       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½   teaspoons salt
½      teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2       Cornish game hens (1 ½  pound each)

➊  In a shallow casserole dish or a large zipper-top bag, whisk
together everything but the game hens.

➋  Add the game hens, turning to coat. Cover the dish or seal the
bag, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

➌  When ready to cook, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or
preheat a gas grill on high for 10 minutes, lid closed.

➍  Remove the birds from the marinade and pat them lightly with a paper towel. Bank the coals to one side, or turn off the heat of one burner on the gas grill and turn the other burner(s) down to medium. Place a disposable aluminum drip pan under the grill rack, away from the heat source.

➎  Place the hens on the grill, breast-side up over indirect heat, positioned over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook hens for 45-60 minutes, until a meat thermometer in the thigh reads 165 degrees F.
➏ Remove to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm while they rest for 10 minutes before you carve them.
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