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Grilled Game Hens with Four Herbs

Before grilling these small hens, Jonathan Benno butterflies them, cutting out the backbones with kitchen scissors or a sturdy knife so they can be flattened. "It's the best way to cook a bird all the way on a grill," he says. "You get those nice grill marks, and by the time the chicken's got good color on both sides, it's cooked all the way through."

slideshow Amazing Chicken Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 Cornish game hens or poussins, backbones cut out
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Light a charcoal grill. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, marjoram and rosemary. Flatten the hens and season them all over with salt and pepper. Spread them out on a platter, pour the herb mixture over and turn to coat well.
  2. Grill the hens over a medium-hot fire, breast side down, for about 10 minutes, or until lightly charred. Turn the hens over and grill for about 15 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 160°. Transfer the hens to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes, then cut them in half, separating the breasts from the legs. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published August 2005

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