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Asian grilled Cornish hens are deliciously saucy. Pass the wet wipes… it’s about to get messy all up in here!
Who loves a charred crispy skin? Good! Because Tyson® Cornish Hens grill up so perfectly, develop a crispy charred skin because of the sweet Asian sauce, and because of their size, this allows the meat to stay juicy.
We are 1/3 of the way into September and the weather is cookin’ here in Los Angeles. September and October are historically very warm months for us. I live near the beach and it’s been near 90 this week so since it’s cookin’ outside, I’m a cookin’ outside too because I’m keeping the heat out of the house.
If you’re not familiar with Cornish Hens, they are a young, immature chicken, usually weighing about 2 pounds and sold whole. Tyson Cornish Hens are all natural with no added hormones or artificial ingredients. They can be found in the freezer section of your local Walmart and come in packs of 2. I love the versatility of the Cornish hens, there are so many ways you can prepare them, from roasting them whole to butterflying them like I did, then grilling. To make them extra special and tasty, I made an Asian marinade with Kikkoman® Sauce. Marinating meats is a great way to impart lots of flavor before cooking if you have the time. For the marinade (and sauce) I like to use low sodium soy sauce (so I can control the salt content) which is a great flavor base for any sauce or marinade. Kikkoman soy sauce is traditionally brewed and is excellent for brines and marinades and a perfect flavor enhancer. Not just for Asian dishes, Kikkoman sauces can be used in a wide variety of cuisines and their products can also be found at Walmart in the Asian food aisle.
The marinade will also serve as the basting and finish sauce because you can never have enough sauce to sauce these hens to the max. As a rule, I NEVER use any marinade that has been in contact with raw meat, so I separate the marinades – 1 for marinating and the other to turn into a basting sauce (always discard any marinade that has come in contact with raw meat).
If you’ve never butterflied a a hen (or a chicken), which basically means removing the backbone and opening the bird up like a butterfly to create 2 halves, it’s not that difficult. Honestly. Here’s an easy step-by-step tutorial with pictures > how to butterfly a chicken.
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cloves garlic crushed or grated
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 spring onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 Cornish hens defrosted
Add all the ingredients, except hens to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Once the hens are defrosted, lay the hen onto a cutting board, breast side up.
Use a sharp knife to cut in half down the middle. Cut along the backbone and remove it.
Repeat with the other hen.
Place the halves in a large container with a lid.
Pour the the marinade over the hens, reserving 1 cup. Make sure the hens are coated well.
Place the lid on the container and refrigerate for 8 hours, or preferably overnight.
Refrigerate the 1 cup of marinade. Once cooled, transfer to a saucepan and mix in the corn starch until dissolved.
Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, transfer to a container.
Preheat outdoor grill.
Remove the hens from the marinade and dry and discard the marinade.
Leave the hens at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.
Take half of the refrigerated, thickened sauce and put into a container (this is for basting while on the grill).
Once the grill is very hot, lay the halves skin side down. Grill with the lid closed for 15 minutes until the skin is nice and charred.
Turn the hens over and baste the skin side with the sauce and cook for another 10 minute or until the thickest part of the meat reaches 160-165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.
Remove the hens from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before enjoying.