Cornish Game Hens

Cornish Game Hens

You will not find Cornish game hens in the wild. In fact, the breed didn’t exist before the mid-1950s when Alphonsine (“Therese”) and Jacques Makowsky bred Cornish game cocks with domesticated chickens on their Connecticut farm. But the diminutive chickens (and that’s what they are) have come to epitomize elegance and single-serving perfection on American tables. Traegered, they are easy…and sublime.

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  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary or sage, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 teaspoons Traeger Chicken Rub, or more to taste


Rinse the game hens under cold running water, inside and out. (Game hens do not usually come with giblets, but do check the cavity for them before rinsing. If you find giblets, freeze them for chicken stock, if desired.) Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wings behind the backs and tie the legs together with butcher’s string.

Rub the outside of each hen with the melted butter. Sprinkle with Traeger Chicken Rub. Slip a sprig of rosemary into the main cavity of each hen.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 375 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roast the hens for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thigh, when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, is 165 degrees F. Transfer the hens to a platter or plates and let rest for 5 minutes.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary before serving.