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Cornish Hen question

Spatchcocking and dry brining seem to be all over the boards, so when I saw a Cornish hen in the market yesterday, I decided to go for it. I figure I can work my way up to chicken after this go-round.

Here's my plan, based on my reading of various threads and sites:

For roasting tomorrow mid-day, I'll spatchcock this afternoon, salt both sides with a total of 1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt, and let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator until tomorrow noontime.

Then, I'll mix up some black pepper, chopped fresh rosemary, grated garlic and lemon zest, and rub this over the bird. Roast @ 500 degrees for 30 mins. Looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees. When it's done, squeeze lemon juice overall.

So, is this a plan? Am I using too little salt, resting too long, cooking too hot? Do I need to rack it in the fridge? Am I right in holding off the other seasonings until tomorrow? I welcome answers from anyone who's roasted a spatchcocked hen.

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  1. It sounds like a good plan to me, although I'd be a bit concerned about 500 degrees for 30 minutes. That seems a bit hot, or too long at 500. I also don't cook chicken to 165. I like to pull it out between 155 and 160. Just be diligent with an accurate meat thermometer and you should be ok. Leaving it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight will give it a nice crispy skin, especially at that high temperature.

    http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burghfeeder

      Yes, even a spatchcocked roaster chicken usually only needs about an hour at 425 F.

    2. is this a plan? Yes
      Am I using too little salt, No
      resting too long, No
      cooking too hot? Maybe or not I've seen temps that high but I Usually roast a CGH at 425F.
      Do I need to rack it in the fridge? No lay it flat, skin side up. Some weight it down with a foil covered brick.
      Am I right in holding off the other seasonings until tomorrow? Good plan!

      1. Thank you both for your detailed answers; I'm going to adjust slightly based on your comments. I'll back the temp off to 450, check it with my Thermopop at 25 minutes, and pull it @ 160.

        Got to start it now. Will report back tomorrow.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mcsheridan

          I actually pull closer to 145-150 and let rest for 10 minutes. Remember that the temperature will continue to rise once the hen comes out of the oven.

          1. re: loratliff

            I also pull at 145-150F and the chicken is always nice and moist

        2. Mimi, We use "herbs de provence" as a dry rub when roast our weekly chicken, inside and out.. We got a pound of the stuff really cheap from someplace online... trying to use it up before it turns to dust.
          We like it and we must try to split a bird someday!

          1. After I spatchcock a chicken, I usually make a paste of chopped herbs, lemon zest, garlic and a bit of butter and rub it under the skin and then let it air dry overnight in the fridge. Then I toss some chunks of onion or leeks, a carrot and stock of celery and a clove of garlic under the chicken, as it helps create a nice pan juice.