By Chef Tom Jackson

Grilled Cornish Game Hen with Maple Cranberry Gastrique

Serves: 10 people
Cook Time: 30 - 60 min
Grilled Cornish Game Hen with Maple Cranberry Gastrique


  • Main

Grilled Cornish Game Hen with Maple Cranberry Gastrique


  1. 01

    Place the birds on the indirect side of the grill, skin side up. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 155ºF-160ºF, about 45 minutes (with the lid closed).

  2. 01

    Preheat your grill to 425ºF, set up with both direct and indirect cooking zones.

  3. 01

    While the hens are cooking, make the gastrique. Combine the maple syrup, cranberries, and thyme in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook the cranberries until they are broken down. Help them along by crushing them with a wood spoon while they cook. Reduce the heat, as necessary to prevent scorching.



    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup cranberries
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  5. 02

    Prepare the cornish game hens spatchcock style. Using kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.

  6. 03

    Combine the brisket rub and lemon zest for the rub. Mix well. Season all surfaces of the hens liberally.



    • 1/4 cup Brisket Rub (Preferred: Cattleman’s Grill Lone Star)
    • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  8. 05

    Then flip the birds over and grill over direct heat with the lid of the grill open, just until the skin is browned and crispy (a few minutes).

  9. 07

    When the cranberries are broken down and the mixture thickens, add the vinegars and cranberry juice. Stir well and cook until reduced and syrupy. The sauce is fully cooked when a wooden spoon pulled across the surface shows the sauce slowly filling in behind it.



    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Preferred: Orlando)
    • 1/4 cup cranberry juice
  11. 08

    Transfer the gastrique to a food processor and process until smooth.

  12. 09

    Using a sharp chef’s knife, divide the birds in half by slicing straight down the breast bones.

  13. 10

    Serve each half of the Grilled Cornish Game Hen with a drizzle of the Maple Cranberry Gastrique.