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Beer Brined Smoked Cornish Hens

The flavor of the beer as well as the onions, garlic and seasoning really comes through in these cornish hens due to the brining process. Great for when you have guests or a family dinner.
Course Entree
Cuisine Hot Smoking
Prep Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 4
Author Jeff Phillips


  • 4 cornish hens ((or one per person))
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Jeff’s original rub
  • Jeff’s barbecue sauce

Beer Brine

  • 1 Onion , yellow (chopped)
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 36 ounces Beer (3 (12 ounce) bottles)
  • 1/2 cup Coarse kosher salt
  • 6 cups Ice cubes (1.5 quarts)

Beer Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Jeff's barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup Beer


Make the Beer Brine

  • Put all ingredients except ice in a large pot and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
  • Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes
  • Add ice cubes and stir to cool down. Finish cooling in fridge if necessary.

Brining the Cornish Hens

  • Place the chickens in a zip top bag or other brining container
  • Pour cold brine over birds to cover.
  • Place brining container/bag in the fridge for 4 hours
  • After 4 hours, rinse cornish hens under cold water

Seasoning the Outside

  • Apply some spicy brown mustard to the outside of the hens
  • Sprinkle Jeff's rub generously onto hens

Smoking the Birds

  • Place meat breast side up directly on smoker grate
  • Smoke cook at 250°F for about 2 hrs or until they reach 165°F in the thickest part of the breast or thigh
  • Brush on beer barbecue sauce (recipe below) about 30 minutes before chickens are done cooking. (reserve some for dipping later)

Finishing Up

  • Serve immediately giving each person their own cornish hen.

Beer Barbecue Sauce Instructions

  • Add all of the beer barbecue sauce ingredients into a small saucepan.
  • Stir to combine and simmer over very low heat until ready to use.