Beer Brined Smoked Cornish Hens

Cook Time

150 mins

Cooking Method






Prep Time

720 mins




2 tbsp Ales Pepper

12 Cups Beer Brine

2 Cornish Game Hens

2 Lemons

6 Rosemary sprigs

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

12 Thyme Sprigs

Cooking Instructions

Chef Shaun O’Neale (MasterChef Season 7 Champion, DJ, Author of My Modern American Table) elevates the traditional smoked chicken with Smoked Cornish Hens which are brined overnight in a zesty beer, herbs, and pepper brine. The result is a tender, juicy, and extremely flavorful dish that is easy to smoke on your Platinum Series Lockhart Grill or Vertical Smoker. Utilizing meat hooks, the hens are hung to absorb smoke as it permeates throughout the grill.

How to Make Beer Brine for Chicken


  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 1 Shallot chopped
  • 5 Rosemary Sprigs
  • 10 Thyme Sprigs
  • 10 Sage Leaves
  • 3 Lemons, cut in half
  • 2 Lager Beers


In a large pot add all the ingredients except the beer and bring to a boil. Once the salt is completely dissolved remove from the heat and let cool completely. Pour in the beer and add the Cornish Hens, let brine for 12 hours. Remove from the brine and lightly rinse under cold water.

  1. Set your Pit Boss Lockhart grill to 300°F (I have found the setting the grill at 300 will keep the top smoker temp between 200°F and 215°F, this could vary depending on the air temp and general weather conditions. You want to keep the upper smoking cabinet between 200°F and 215°F) If you’re using a vertical smoker, set temp to 200°F.
  2. Stuff your hens with the rosemary, thyme, and lemons. Coat the skin with the ales pepper and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Truss your hens and tie a small loop at the legs so you can hang your birds. Hang them in the Lockhart smoker and insert a probe thermometer, cook to an internal temp of 155°F.
  4. Remove the hens to rest. Final temp should be 160°F.
  5. Serve these with some great creamed kale or charred asparagus.

Special Tools

  • Brining Bucket
  • Butcher Twine
  • Meat Hooks

Bigger. Hotter. Heavier. Tip

Inject some of the brine into the breast, thighs, and legs for even more tender and juicy meat.

Diet Info

  • Flexible Dieting

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