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+ servings
Two smoked cornish hens on a bed of stuffing.
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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Cornish Hens

Ready for a dinner that tastes as good as it looks? These smoked Cornish hens are individually portioned and stuffed with delicious stuffing for a perfect holiday meal.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Cornish Hens
Servings: 4 people
Author: Taylor Shulman


Mom's Stuffing

  • 1 loaf Italian bread sliced into 1/2 inch thick strips that are no longer than 2 inches
  • 1 pound sage sausage casing removed
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup granny smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 4 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 small white onion finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons sage chiffonade
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper


  • Preheat. Preheat your grill to 325 degrees F and set it up for indirect cooking (meaning there is an area with no direct heat underneath the grates). If cooking on a smoker, use light hardwoods like alder, maple, pecan, or apple.
  • Make the stuffing. In a Dutch oven add sage sausage and brown over medium-high heat. Add in the butter followed by the diced onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sage, salt, pepper, apples, cranberries, bread, chicken broth, and eggs.
  • Stuff. Stuff the bread mixture inside the cavities of the Cornish hens. Add any additional stuffing to small ramekins or an 8-10 inch cast iron skillet.
  • Season. In a small bowl, combine the Chicken rub and mayonnaise. Pat the outside of the hens dry, then apply the wet rub, using a rubber spatula or a backside of a spoon to help distribute the seasoning paste.
  • Smoke. Place the pan of stuffing and the Cornish hens, breast side up, on the grill, and close the lid. Cook for 45-60 minutes. You want an internal temperature of at least 165 F in the thickest part of the breasts AND in the stuffing.
  • Serve. Remove the Cornish hens to your serving platter and rest (without covering) for 5 minutes before serving.


Easy Chicken Rub
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


Calories: 2107kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 107g | Fat: 152g | Saturated Fat: 58g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g | Monounsaturated Fat: 56g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 651mg | Sodium: 3638mg | Potassium: 1850mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 1235IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 8mg