Some people buy new tech items, others buy the latest fashions, I used to buy records at midnight of the release date, but now if I see a novel cut of meat, I grab a few to give them a spin. We all have our curiosoities. When I saw cornish game hens, I grabbed them knowing I had seen them a few times, but always skipped by them. My initial thought included the grill as it is the only tool, besides the single gas hob, of heating them, but as I described my purchase to my older daughter, a new preparation came to mind, I would brine the game hen into corned Cornish game hen.
The process was straight-forward. Make the brine. I used Ruhlman’s and Polcyn’s brine from Charcuterie. I adapted down the salinity by 1/2 because I knew that I was not going to boil the birds. The time spent in the brine was limited to 3 days because these are tiny little creatures not some large plate of beef.
After brining them, the birds were left to sit uncovered in the fridge to dry out of bit. Once dinner time came around, I did something about which I still feel odd. I mounted them on beer cans. Do not get it twisted. I like beer can chicken. I love it. However, the area in which you stick the can in far bigger on a chicken than a Cornish game hen. In this case, there was a bit of an issue where I needed a little elbow grease to get the birds to stay upright.
Once they went on the grill, most of my iffiness went away. The aroma of chicken fat hitting the coals is a great cure for most meat guilt. Any lingering guilt went away once the birds came off of the grill. The birds had the crispy skin, which oddly never got to a golden color, but crisped up nicely. The skin hid juicy, slightly pink flesh (due to the presence of curing salt) tasting of a combination of the sweet qualities of corned beef and grilled chicken.
This started as a riff on the name of the bird but as I progressed through the process, it was clear how it was just an adaptation of a basic poultry brine. I am not a briner by nature, but given the results here, I may be moving in that direction.