Easy Meyer Lemon and Herb Grilled Cornish Game Hens from Jordan Winery

August 13, 2015

Take a break from your standard barbecued chicken recipe and grill up these flavorful Cornish game hens instead. We love this delicious and easy recipe from Executive Chef Todd Knoll at Jordan Winery in Napa Valley. He first butterflies the "mini chickens" then marinates them for one hour in a simple yet flavor-packed marinade of Meyer lemon juice, olive oil, fresh lemon thyme, and marjoram. It's the perfect meal for a summertime barbecue or dinner party. Serve this elegant dish with a tossed green salad, grilled vegetables, and a velvety smooth, fruit-forward Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.

Meyer Lemon and Herb Grilled Cornish Game Hens
Courtesy of Jordan Winery
Serves 6


6 Cornish game hens, butterflied
2 Meyer lemons, juiced
1/4 cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bunch lemon thyme, finely minced
2 Tbsp dried marjoram
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To butterfly the hens, place each one back side up on a cutting board. Using poultry shears (or kitchen shears), cut closely along each side of the backbone. Discard the backbone or freeze and use for chicken stock. Turn hens breast side up and open the bird so the drumsticks point out. Press firmly down on the breastbone to flatten.

Marinate hens in lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper for one hour.

Bring them to room temperature and preheat your grill to medium high. Pat the hens dry. Oil the hot grill and place hens skin side down to mark for 5-7 minutes. Turn hens over, reduce heat to medium and continue to grill until juices run clear, about 25-30 minutes.

Allow hens to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Discover more delicious Jordan Winery recipes and wine pairings here!