How To: Cornish Hens Under a Brick

Categories: How To

Grill Cornish Hens easily with a foil-wrapped brick.
With Memorial Day just a few days away, it's time to plan what you're going to grill to celebrate this wonderful outdoor holiday. While everyone else is probably going to be grilling burgers, hot dogs and chicken, be a little different and grill Cornish hens under a brick.

Like most people, you probably haven't made Cornish hens at home, but don't worry; it's not as hard or as intimidating as it seems. In fact, grilling under a brick makes the process a heck of a lot easier. Because you can make the main meat faster, you get more time to spend by the pool with friends and family. Here's how you can make Cornish hens under a brick.

First, you're going to want to make a marinade for the Cornish hens so they can be full of flavor, so the taste preference is up to you. You can marinate the meat in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and herbs, or go for a lighter flavor with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, pepper and herbs.

Next, you will need to flatten the Cornish hens by cutting along both sides of the backbone to remove it and then butterflying each of them. Once they are flat, place them into a large plastic bag along with the marinade, then let the hens soak up all of the flavor for several hours in the refrigerator.

Use a barbecue sauce to flavor the Cornish hens.

You can most certainly do this ahead of time.

As soon as you're ready to grill the Cornish hens, fire up your grill and place them breast-side down directly over the heat and place a foil-wrapped brick, or large weight, like a cast-iron skillet, over each hen. The brick will make the birds cook faster and will create a nice sear on both sides.

Cook each bird for five minutes, then turn 90 degrees and cook for another five minutes. Take the bricks off and flip each hen, then cook for two minutes and turn 90 degrees to cook for another two minutes.

Cut each Cornish hen in half and serve with whatever sides you desire: rice, vegetables, salad or potatoes. This is definitely an easy and fun way to grill for Memorial Day.

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My Voice Nation Help

Those fried cornish hens on Mastechef last night looked damn good.


Cornish hens are just small chickens, correct?  I assume this method would work for a larger chicken too?

The technique of removing the back bone and flattening the bird is called spatchcocking.  I spatchcocked a turkey this year for thanksgiving.  It was by far the tasties bird I've made (except for the deep fried birds).  It cooked much faster, too.

johnnybench topcommenter

How hot should the coals/gas be?  Do you not flip the birds?  If not, should the brick be pre-heated?


Directions say to flip the birds.  Start breast side down, cook 5 minutes.  Rotate 90 degrees, cook 5 more minutes. FLIP, cook 2 minutes, then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 2 minutes.

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