Photo of Herbed Cornish Hens Under a Brick by WW

Herbed Cornish Hens Under a Brick

Points® value
Total Time
4 hr 52 min
15 min
32 min
Cornish hens are an elegant, impressive entrée to serve during the holidays or a special gathering. Be sure to start this ahead of when you’re ready to cook since the hens need a minimum of four hours of marinating time. The purpose of the bricks is to weigh the hens down to help them cook evenly and get direct contact with the pan so they brown and caramelize as they cook. It may seem unusual, but it’s the trick for producing the juiciest, most flavourful Cornish hens you’ve ever had. If you don't have bricks on hand, put your heaviest cast iron skillet on top of the hens instead.


Lemon zest

2 tsp(s)

Fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp(s)

Fresh parsley

1 tbsp(s), chopped flat leaf

Fresh thyme

1½ tsp(s), chopped


1½ tsp(s), chopped


1 small, minced

Table salt

½ tsp(s)

Cayenne pepper


Uncooked skinless cornish game hen

27 oz, 2 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens, giblets removed


2 wedge(s), halved


  1. Stir together lemon zest and juice, parsley, thyme, rosemary, shallot, salt, and cayenne in small bowl.
  2. With kitchen scissors, cut down along each side of backbone of each hen and discard backbone or save for stock.
  3. With your fingers, loosen skin on breasts, legs, and thighs. Spread lemon mixture on meat under skin; press skin back into place. Place hens in large zip-close plastic bag. Squeeze out air and seal bag; refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, spray large grill pan with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Wrap 2 clean bricks in double layer of foil.
  5. Remove hens from bag and discard liquid. Place hens, opened flat and skin side down, in grill pan and place bricks on top. Grill until hens are golden, about 12 minutes. Turn hens. Place bricks back on top of hens. Grill until instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165°F, 12–15 minutes longer.
  6. Lightly spray lemon halves with olive oil nonstick spray. Place cut side down in grill pan and grill until well-marked, about 4 minutes. Transfer hens to platter; let stand 5 minutes. Remove skin before eating. Serve with lemon halves.
  7. Serving size: 1/2 hen