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Old 09-27-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Cornish Hens. Brine?

Hello all.
I'm making a couple Cornish hens tonight. I want them juicy inside with crispy skin outside. Should I brine or marinate them? Or just use a rub maybe? Also should I cook them covered in a pan, uncovered on a rack, in a paper bag? etc. I would appreciate any tips or recipes. Thanks.
PS we love garlic.

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Old 09-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #2
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The best roasted chicken I have had relies on soy sauce to make it juicy and crispy. Make a mix of whatever herbs and spices you like and rub it gently under the skin. You can use a wooden spoon to help loosen the skin without tearing it. Then brush a small amount of soy sauce under and on top of the skin and roast uncovered at 425F till done. I've used this with bone-in breasts and thighs and they're wonderful.

If you cook them covered, the steam will make the skin soggy. The salt and other flavors in the soy sauce season the meat and the high heat renders the fat, leaving crispy skin.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:49 AM   #3
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I've brined and not brined them. Personally I prefer the brined birds. Just bear in mind that Cornish Hens don't need to soak as long as chicken. 30-60 minutes should do the job.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:07 PM   #4
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Frozen cornish game hens when thawed will still retain quite a bit of water. This is not necessarily a good thing. I'd not brine them necessarily, but rather, put them on a roaster stand on a plate (during/after thawing) and let all that excess moisture seep out. I've baked cornish game hens where, after baking, I'd poke a section and a lot of excess water would drain out, and the bird came out overly moist. Too much water in the bird during cooking isn't good.
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Old 09-28-2013, 12:20 AM   #5
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I'm surprised you find frozen Cornish game hens to be full of water. I have never noticed that, nor has it caused me any problems cooking them.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:32 AM   #6
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I have never brined Cornish hens. I like 'em cooked in a camp dutch oven, 2 at a time. Put a rack in the bottom of the DO to keep the birds off the bottom. Season the birds with whatever seasonings strike your fancy. Start with 10 - 12 charcoal briquets (properly prepared beforehand...a nice ashy look) underneath and 8 - 10 on the top of the DO. Rotate the DO every 15 min or so and do the same with the lid, only rotate them in opposite directions. The coals will last about 45 min. Check the birds with your trusty meat thermometer. If they need to go some more add a similar amount of briquets above and below. If they are not browned sufficiently add 4-6 more briquets to the lid. They will be done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees F inserted in the thickest parts of the birds...breasts, usually.
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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I've never brined hens. I find that a nice compound butter under the skin and wild rice stuffing, keeps them perfectly moist. We'll be having some very soon as I got some on special, 4 for $10.00.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:32 PM   #8
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Thanks all

Thanks everybody. I decided not to brine. Glad I didn't because they were very moist with out it. I followed Got Garlics idea and put seasonings under the skin and brushed them all over with soy sauce, then somebody else said cook them on a rack which I did. I also put a pan with potato and carrot chunks underneath them. It all was delicious. Thanks again.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:09 AM   #9
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That's great! I'm so glad you enjoyed it
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