Smoked Cornish Hen–Indoors!

That’s right, I got a stovetop smoker. Where has this miraculous device been all my life? I just put a chicken in it, and went away, and when I came back I had a smoked chicken! I mean, yes, that’s what the thing is for, but I didn’t quite realize how amazing it would be.

Okay, I know this recipe is useless to anyone who doesn’t have this exact device, and I apologize. Actually, strike that. It’s less than $30 at Target. Why don’t you have one? Maybe because you’re not insane or obsessed with food. That’d be a good reason.

Smoked Cornish Hen (serves 2)

1 Cornish hen, cut in half and spine removed.

To Marinate

some miso paste

some mirin

some chicken broth (you can tell I measure marinades well, right?)

White pepper and a bit of citrus juice.

Marinate chicken for at least a couple of hours or overnight in all that other stuff. Or your favorite marinating brew. Mr. B. raves about Stubbs brand

Eew, raw chicken. Okay. Now we set up the exciting smoking device!

That’s only 1 1/2 T of wood chips right there. Then we put the drip tray and smoking rack in, with the chicken halves on top.

Eew, raw chicken! Sorry, I just don’t like touching it. Especially when it’s all slimy from fermented bean paste and the juices of its brethren. . .

I’m really not making this process seem appetizing, am I? Sorry again.

Put the smoker over your biggest and best burner over mediumish heat (I set mine to 6 out of 10) and close it almost all the way. Wait until you see the eensiest little curl of smoke come out of the crack (5 minutes or less) then slam that sucker shut. Smoke for about 30 minutes.

The most boring culinary action shot ever taken. Right here.

Meanwhile, who wants corn on the cob? Grab a couple of ears, shuck ’em, and preheat the oven to 375°F while you decide how you want to season it. (My smoker’s small. I’ll smoke corn next time.)

Mr. B had lime juice, salt, and Hatch chile powder. I had plain old salt. Well, exciting Hawaiian volcano salt. Butter for both, of course. Wrap up the corn and put it in the oven. It’ll take about a half an hour too, so the chicken will finish around the same time.

Quick tip: to tell whose corn is whose before unwrapping it on the wrong plate, I just put our initials on the foil with a Sharpie.

When the half hour is up, test the chicken at the thigh to see if it’s 170°F (yes, 170°F. 180°F is overcooked, gosh darn it.) At this point, since I wanted the joy of crispy skin, I turned the oven on to broil, removed the smoker lid, salted them hens and let them crisp up for about 3 minutes. Then, we ate. Without even bothering to take pictures. Um, sorry about that. Not even a bitty little bite for the cats remained. Which is why you, too, should be smoking at home.


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  1. #1 by Carolyn Jung on February 9, 2011 - 11:18 PM

    Aren’t those great? Especially when the weather isn’t conducive to smoking outside.

    • #2 by koshercorvid on February 10, 2011 - 10:25 AM

      Living in a tiny apartment makes smoking outside hard, too (people will laugh come summer when they see my itty little notebook grill.) But it’s so perfect for feeding just the two of us. I have had this device less than a month and already I don’t know how I lived without it.

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