I hope your Memorial Day Weekend is off to a great start.
Maybe your weekend will include some grill time, a backyard bash or just hanging out with the family. My weekend wouldn't be complete without a BBQ. Growing up my Dad always made BBQ chicken or burgers on the Weber. This year though, I decided to change things up by using Tyson Cornish hens instead of chicken breasts or thighs. I was going for the juicy and tender meat you get with a whole bird, but by using the technique called spatchcocking, I would enjoy a faster cooking time.
Say what? ...Yeah, it is called spatchcocking.
Far from being a medieval torture throw-back, spatchcocking is a great way to cut down your cooking time on the grill. An easy method for partially deboning a bird and it helps to flatten out the meat against the cooking surface.
So I headed into Walmart to grab my recipe supplies.
First, I needed the lucky bird, or in this case, birds. In the center freezer island of the meat department, I found 2-packs of Tyson Cornish Hens. These were perfect. I could serve my BBQ creation 2 ways and please a hungry crowd. Plus, two small hens would easily fit on my home grill.
If you have ever combined soy sauce and chicken, you know that some things were just meant for each other...
Okay, let's take a quick peek at spatchcocking. It may sound intimidating, but is actually quite simple. I also have a quick Instagram video that highlights the 'how to' of spatchcocking chicken.
- Assemble your tools. You will need a Cornish hen, kitchen sheers and 2 pre-soaked bamboo skewers per bird.
- With the shears, cut down each side of the back bone.
- Remove the back bone and flatten out the bird.
- Trim off the wing tips and stabilize with 2 skewers inserted through the wing and out the leg on the opposite side, in a criss-cross pattern.
Now my birds were ready to soak up my brine or marinade.
While my Dad would brush and baste our meat with a jarred BBQ sauce, I wanted to create a sweet and savory marinade with Asian flavor. For the first bird I went for an apricot glaze that would also work as a marinade. Whip this up and marinate the bird overnight, or at least for 4 hours.
Your will need:
- 1/2 c. apricot preserves
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. freshly ground ginger root
- 2 tsp. dried chives
Whisk together all the ingredients and pour over chicken in baking dish. Cover with kitchen wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or more. Remove the chicken before cooking and pat dry before adding to the grill.
Create more of the marinade to baste the bird with as it grills for a tasty glaze.
For the second hen I went with an overnight brine. Truly a classic way to impart flavor for the grill. Just whisk together the soy sauce, salt and herbs and let the chicken sit overnight in the fridge, or at least 4 hours before patting dry and heading to the grill.
Savory Chicken Brine
You will need:
8 c. water
2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 c. kosher salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium stock pot. For this recipe, don't skewer the bird until after it has brined. Make sure the hen is completely coverd and let it brine for at least 4 hours, or overnight. To grill, remove from the brine, pat dry and add the soaked bamboo skewers to hold the bird flat against the grill.
So now that the Cornish hens are infused with great flavor they are ready to BBQ. I am not a grill expert, usually that is my husband's area of expertise. Even so, I was thrilled with how these turned out. My hens took less than 10 minutes per side. Keep your meat thermometer handy so you can get an exact internal temperature for perfectly cooked birds.
I served mine on a platter of greens with lemon wedges. Just a little acid was a great compliment to the flavors already in the meat.
Served up alongside wild rice and roasted brussel sprouts, this was our dinner. This is how we #Grill4Flavor around here.
Does this look good, or what?
Now, if inspiration has hit, be sure to grab a $2 off coupon when you purchase both a Tyson Cornish Game Hen Twin pack and 10 oz. Kikkoman sauce together. You can find coupons on neck hangers around participating 10 oz. Kikkoman sauce bottles starting June 1st, or head over to coupons.com starting May 15th through September 30th or while supplies last.
Be sure to check out Tyson on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for more great products and ideas as well as Kikkoman's Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instragram account for even more creative ways to use soy sauce in your kitchen.
Ready to get grilling? Have you ever grilled Cornish hens?