CrockPot Bacon Wrapped Cornish Game Hens

Day 302.

mmm. bacon. The Internet has a strange love for bacon. Every time I get together with a group of bloggers, the conversation turns to bacon. Since I'm allergic to pork, I don't really get it, but nod along 1) to be polite and 2) to not appear overly weird.

I've bought beef bacon a few times, and after I get over the swimming-in-oil-and-fat-and-cholesterol thing, I enjoy eating it. I wrapped these little cornish game hens in bacon, and they were amazing. The kids ate a whole bunch----which is glorious----especially since the meat kind of fell apart and the hens looked different than the chicken my kids are used to eating.

The Ingredients.

--2 cornish game hens, thawed
--6 slices of bacon * (if you are gluten-free, always check labels thrice, and do your own research.)
--1 tsp kosher salt
--1 tsp thyme
--1 tsp rosemary

The Directions.

I used a 6 quart crockpot; the little birds nestled in nicely.

I did skin the birds; there was no where near as much fat and skin as is on a regular chicken, but I took off as much as I could with poultry shears.

In a small bowl, mix your dry spices. Rub the spice mixture all over the birds, inside and out. Lower the birds into the crockpot. I thought I had put them both breast-side down, but I think only one actually was. Take your strips of bacon, and wrap two one way and one the other on each bird. See if you can tuck an end inside of the cavity.

Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5. I cooked ours on low for 4 hours, and then switched it to high for the last hour.

Discard the bacon before serving.

I served rice and roasted veggies with the hens.

The Verdict.

oooh, boy. I like cornish game hens. The meat is very moist and rich----maybe a bit gamey to some, but quite full of flavor. The kids ate all the little drumsticks and a lot of the breast meat.

I look forward to making this again!

The rosemary and thyme were perfect, and the bacon provided a neat smoky flavor to all of the meat.

* because I can not find conclusive evidence that the bacon I used was GF, I'm going to not tag this gluten free. I'll call the company today.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at October 28, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous10/28/2008

    This is downright eerie! I bougth cornish hens on sale on sunday and was wondering if i could cook them in the crock pot like a roasted chicken. Steph, you are my hero! thank you!

  2. I have only two wishes:
    1 - that we lived near eachother. You'd be my over-the-fence best kind of friend. Bacon+crockpots= BFF.
    2- that I'd found your Blog on Day One.

    I love this recipe. Guess who's thawing for dinner?!

  3. Have you ever tried turkey bacon? Low fat...and delicious!

  4. mmmmm, beef bacon? I've never heard of it, but would love to try it. I have buffalo breakfast sausage and buffalo/cranberry brautwurst, but no beef bacon. Go figure.

  5. Discard the bacon? Really? My husband would probably eat it before it ever made it to the trash can. But really, those hens look fabulous - I love the kind of meat that falls apart when you try to pick it up. :-)

  6. There is only one part of this recipe that I would change:
    Discard the bacon before serving.

    should be:
    Eat the bacon while hiding in the kitchen and preparing any side dishes. When asked, "Wasn't there bacon in this?" deny it.

  7. stephanie, catherine?

    really?! you're supposed to *eat* it? but it's all soggy and shrively and gross looking!


  8. I don't eat pork so can I just use Turkey bacon?

  9. Anonymous10/28/2008

    My step-daughter would flip out if she knew you threw perfectly good bacon away! The only items she ever requests are bacon or steak, lol. The other day she asked for hotdog wrapped with bacon. Not sure why. They were okay, not something I will ever crave!

    Thanks for your blog, I look at it everyday for inspiration.

  10. Anonymous10/28/2008

    Sounds tasty. Have you ever tried making hashbrowns in the crockpot? Cubed or shredded, fresh or frozen. Just wondering if it would work. Is there a way to make them brown? I work and go to school, so time is at a real minimum. I have been trying to use my crockpot as often as I can. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  11. I threw some stuff in the crockpot for chicken cacciatore this morning and threw in a slice of bacon for good measure which I don't usually do. I plan to throw mine out too. Soggy bloated bacon, yuck!

  12. Hmmmmm. I'm wondering if I could get this to work with small amish chickens. My hubby hates the gaminess of cornish hens but loves the fresh-from-the-farm flavor of an amish chicken...

  13. Good for you, looks like a keeper for ya.

    Allow me to display yet one more example of how I am so picky.

    I can not eat anything that is still in it's original shape. Ie: cornish game hen, some duck, suckling pig, lobster, crab, shrimp, etc. Hack it up a little, please. Don't make it look like you chopped it's head off and then dumped it in the fryer. It's just too... too... carnal, too primal, too whack it with a club and eat it. Think about lobster--it gets served to you in a fancy schmancy restaurant and you get your little bib and your butter and you have to CRACK it open yourself, BREAK it's legs before you can eat it. WHAT? You telling me there isn't someone somewhere working in a labor camp who wouldn't delight in picking the lobster meat out of the broken legs for $3/hr? Or at least chopping it up so it doesn't resemble a once living crustacean?

    And shrimp? come on...they still look exactly like they do in Finding Nemo! Veins and everything! We don't serve COW that way...(can you imagine, chopping off the entire leg and bringing it to your table?) Why? WHY I ask you, WHY?

    Cornish game hen are no different. Why can they not chop up the little breasts (*snort*, I said little breasts) and sell the meat that way? Or dismember it like any other poultry?

    This ends my rant for the day. Thank you for listening.

    By the way, I'd love to taste these. LOL.

  14. I cannot believe how moist and tender these look. Im definitely going to give this a try. My husband was just asking the other day if I liked Cornish Hens and I said yes, but they are so tough.. now I know the rest of the story. Thank you so much for posting. Keep up the good... no GREAT work! :)

  15. Yummy, yummy in my tummy! A friend of mine just e-mailed me a link to your blog. I can't believe it took me this long to find you!

    I live in Japan with my husband and 4 year old son. Food is really expensive here! I can't wait to try your recipes, make great food for my family, and save tons of money!

    Your blog is a wonderful idea! Thanks for providing such creative, healthy, wonderful recipes!

    You rock!!

    By the way, I put a link on my blog to your blog!

    Thanks again for the great recipes!


  16. i love jenny o's turkey bacon

  17. Anonymous10/28/2008

    I saw a tv cook on pbs one time wearing a tee shirt that said "Bacon is Meat Candy"

    I concur!


  18. hmmmm hashbrowns in my crockpot I bet my breakfast casserole would work
    bacon would fall under the new labeling laws and if it contains wheat would have to list it not barley though (but I have checked a lot of bacon including (turkey, and beef) and have never seen one with wheat)

  19. Wow! And here I thought my weird daughter was the only one who doesn't like bacon! No, actually, I've read that you are allergic and don't like it. I love the stuff personally, but I'm doing a no red-meat diet as of late. Lots of vegetarian & seafood cooking going around at my place these days.

    I found some gluten free peanut butter cookie dough at Trader Joes today and I thought of you! :)

  20. You do know that cornish game hens are just baby chickens right? They are about 6 weeks old. They aren't really any different than chicken so shouldn't taste any different, they should actually be more tender. The USDA says they have to weigh under 2 pounds to be called a cornish hen, and they can be boy chickens too (roosters) which may account for the difference in taste if you get one of the males.

    Love your blog by the way. I ate so much fondue on Saturday that I was up half the night from the caffeine in the chocolate. Thanks! Best day ever!!!

  21. I'm so excited...just found your blog!!! I, too, love my crockpot, but don't know enough recipes to cook in it as often as I like.

    I will definitely be back so I can browse through here.

    Very, very excited.
    Did I already say that???


  22. You have been tagged. Go to my blog for the instructions :) Pam

  23. You've just been tagged. Visit my post to see what to do next.

  24. I'm taking dinner to our Pastor and his wife one night this week. Saw your Cornish Hens post, thought it would be perfect to take over and when I got to Walmart ... they were on sale for $2.50 each. I have no idea how much they usually are, but I did pick up a couple and will be fixing this dish! Thanks again.

  25. My friend Paula just passed your link onto me. I just started using my crockpot the other day and am in lurrve with it. Today I have BBQ ribs cooking. I cannot wait to eat them!!!

  26. This looks like a great recipie! I'm going to try it out soon, because hubby is on a completely different schedule that I am right now. I have to concur with stephanie and catherine above... do not discard the bacon, and get good bacon (it won't look as soggy and such at the end because they haven't added creepy stuff to the meat, it's just the cured meat)!

  27. The game hens look so good - I bet the bacon added so much flavor!

  28. I bought and cooked Cornish Game Hens this week too. I thought about cooking them in the crock pot, but realized that crispy skin is one of the best parts of a whole chicken, so scrapped that idea. I stuffed them and baked them in the oven, and served them with mashed potatoes and broccoli. Kind of like Thanksgiving but early, and on Tuesday.

    Cornish game hens are a young, small variety of (Cornish x Plymouth Rock) chicken. Kind of like the veal of the chicken world.

  29. It's nice to know that I'm not the only weirdo who can't eat pork. I tell ya, I miss bacon. And I agree--every chef and his sous are using bacon to "enhance" the flavor of their cooking. I haven't seen beef bacon yet. I'll have to ask for it at the store. Thanks for all the great ideas for dinners! I'll have to try more of them. What's your resolution for 2009?
    Karen O

  30. I did make this dish for our Pastor and his wife. Is it a sin to take a tiny nibble before you deliver the entree?

    In honor of Steph, I skinned most of the birds. I left the skin on the wings and breast. I also added fresh crushed garlic, used fresh rosemary and squeezed one lemon over them in the Crockpot.

    Cooked for 4 hours on high, pulled the birds out, filled their little innards with a wild rice mix dressing, pulled off the bacon, tucked a sprig of fresh rosemary under the skin of each breast and stuck them back in the Crockpot for another hour.

    I confess ...the little nibble I tested was sooooo yummy that I'm going back to Walmart and get a couple more of these to make for myself!

    Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Stephanie!

  31. I was so excited to see this recipe and have had it on menu this week and the cornish game hens waiting in the fridge for today. We're trying to be a little more "glycemic index" conscious and cornish game hens are one of the meats really low on the index.

    One question -- did you do anything special to your brown rice? Or did you just cook it plain? I'm trying to decide how best to spice it to go with the game hens.

  32. oh i cant wait to try this ,i love your blog so much ,and i plan to use it alot this holiday season

  33. Anonymous11/18/2008

    This looks easy and delic - I'll try it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  34. I am so excited to find your blog....I must confess that I like it so much I have become a bit stalker-esque (?!?!?) and have now read all the way backwards to May. Is that bad? I saw this recipe and I have to give it a try. We do NOT eat pork in our house, either. It just upsets our little tummies like no other food I have ever tried. I had thought about using turkey bacon instead of beef bacon but I realized that since it does not really have the fat content nor the overwhelming flavor that I don't think it would do that much for the flavor of the chicken. So, I broke down and bought beef bacon, despite the very bad first impression that it left with me. So, if all goes well, I will be dining on yummy cornish hens this time tomorrow night. Actually, this time tomorrow night I will hopefully be sleeping...but you know what I mean.

  35. Anonymous1/17/2009

    I always have cornish hens in the freezer, like them deep fried, I seen this and figured i would give it a try. I used a seasoning I use when I grill chicken, and spread some chopped garlic from jar on both of them, used thick cut pepper bacon and then figured a little liquid smoke would make for a great addition to the flavor.

    Put on low and about 11:00 PM and had one of them for breakfast this morning.

    they were great.

  36. starting out here..this is a great blog. thank you so much for taking the time to put this info out there. I am very grateful. My question is: Do you add a stock at all to the cornish game hens? Or are you cooking this dry?

    thank you greatly

  37. Hi Kristy,

    I didn't add any cooking liquid----the hens give off a lot of juice on their own, and so does the bacon.

    xoxo steph

  38. After the hens were done in the crock pot, I put them under the broiler to crisp-en up the bacon! SO GOOOOOOOD!

  39. This looks really good! I think it's funny though that it uses kosher salt and bacon together in the same recipe.

  40. I've cooked this a couple of times and LOVE it. My husband I are try to eat healthy, so we only eat turkey bacon, and I used it for this recipe. Turned out great!

  41. Just a note on the age of chickens -- we used to raise 100,000 of those rascals every 6 weeks. They would be removed at 6 weeks and were broiler/fryer size. They only stayed longer if you were raising layers (which we didn't). Cornish hens are another type of chicken (go to your state fair and you'll see) and not your average chicken that you find in the supermarket.

    Just found this blog and am lovin' it!

  42. I had the saddest failure of my crockpot career with this recipe. I combined it with another I'd found on another crockpot blog (overnight spicy roasted chicken), I wanted to make 4 hens because my 17 year old boys eat a lot! I spent all weekend calibrating the 2 slow cookers. I put the hens in early Monday morning and set them to cooking. Teens reported wildly wonderful smells when they came in at 10:30 am (early release day).
    What we think happened next was that the circuit couldn't handle 2 crockpots and the microwave the teens used.
    I came home to 2 cold crockpots and 4 ruined hens.
    I am SO looking forward to success with this recipe!!!!!

  43. Not exactly sure what I thought about this recipe. I guess I was expecting it to be much more flavorful. I couldn't taste the bacon at all, and I even ate the bacon! It was flavorless, too. I did appreciate the fact that the hens were moist, and the skin even got kind of crisp! I'm going to have to play with this a little more. I don't want to add wine for fear that I'll be braising rather than roasting those puppies. But, I am thinking of incorporating oranges somehow. Next time I will also use fresh rosemary.

  44. I don't know about everyone else, but many of us are used to eating the skin - but only when baked or fried. It comes out crispy and flavorful (full of fat, I suppose.) The bacon sounds wonderful. I, too, have never seen beef bacon. Not sure why I would bother if I wanted bacon flavor and used beef. Thank you for the recipe. I have a game hen in the refrigerator and the clock is ticking on it.