Rock Cornish game hens are tiny birds that have caught on with Americans, often connoting elegant dining. The miniature birds were the brainchild of poultry breeder Jacques Makowsky, who crossed Cornish game cocks with Plymouth Rock hens at his Connecticut farm. Since their debut in 1950, the tender hens have rapidly grown in popularity.
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground tumeric
2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
4 All-Natural Cornish Game Hens
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Combine the oil, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, garlic, pepper sauce, ginger, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until well mixed.
Put the hens in a shallow glass or ceramic dish and pour the marinade over them. Rub it over the hens and inside the cavities. Using kitchen twine, truss the hens. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. The coals should be moderately hot.
Lift hens from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill, breast side down, for about 15 minutes. Turn and grill for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pricked with a fork or sharp knife, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest meat registers 180°F. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving