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." Amazing Chicken Recipes

Grilled Game Hens with Four Herbs
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 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.

Related Articles