Grilled Cornish Game Hen with Cranberry Gastrique Recipe
For the rub:
For the Cranberry Gastrique:
Preheat your Napoleon Grills Prestige 500 to 425ºF, lighting only two of the four burners, so that you create both direct and indirect cooking zones. Fill an A-Maze-N Tube Smoker with cherry wood pellets, and place on the grates, over direct heat.
Prepare the Cornish game hens spatchcock style. Using kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.
Combine the ingredients for the rub. Mix well. Season all surfaces of the hens liberally.
Light the pellets in the smoke tube using a torch.
Place the birds on the indirect side of the grill, skin side up. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 155ºF-160ºF, with the lid closed, about 45 minutes. Then flip the birds over and grill over direct heat with the lid of the grill open, just until the skin is browned and crispy (a few minutes).
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While the hens are cooking, make the gastrique. Combine the maple syrup, cranberries and thyme in a Lodge 8” Cast Iron Skillet over medium heat on the infrared side burner. Bring to a simmer and cook the cranberries until they are broken down. Help them along by crushing them with a wood spoon while they cook. Reduce the heat, as necessary to prevent scorching. When the cranberries are broken down and the mixture thickens, add the vinegars and rosé wine. Stir well and cook until reduced and syrupy. The sauce is fully cooked when a wooden spoon pulled across the surface shows the sauce slowly filling in behind it.
Transfer the gastrique to a food processor and process until smooth.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, divide the birds in half by slicing straight down the breastbones. Serve each half of the Grilled Cornish Game Hen with a drizzle of the Cranberry Gastrique.