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· In the woods
Multiple disciplines
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I have the perfect on the trail gourmet meal that's a hoot to make and even better to eat. If you're on the in the woods or in the backyard, cooking meat over flame is pure camp comfort food. Enjoy!

2 Cornish Hens, frozen in plastic

1 straight piece of "green" wood about one inch in diameter

4 Tbsp. dry rub
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pinch of salt
3 pinches fresh ground pepper
2 Cloves Garlic
4 Sprigs Rosemary
3' of Twine or non coated, natural fiber string

The easiest way to make this recipe is to make your own dry rub at home, and grind the pepper before you hit the trailhead, or use your favorite from the store, just mind the sodium levels.
The morning of your hike, purchase the hens, which usually come frozen and sealed in plastic or remove them from your freezer. Remove any access packaging (less the vacuum sealed packaging) and place the hens into a zipper sealed oven bag. You'll be surprised how long these little birds stay frozen, usually lasting between 12 and 24 hours depending on the temps you'll be in. When you reach camp, be sure to give at least 3 hours for prep & cooking and make sure you are in a fire safe area. As you get into camp, find a recent blowdown and make a spit from the downed, yet green wood. With that wood, build a spit above the fire and allow room for adjustments. Once the bird is thawed, remove the packaging and reserve.
Take your olive oil and rub the cavity of the hen, making sure to leave a little extra (about half) for later. Next, pour about half of the rub into the freezer bag, mince and add 1/2 the garlic and add the hen (or two) and then shake it like it was a marocca !

Just before you place the hens on the spit, place your hand under your crossbar of the spit. If you can hold your hand below the spit for 5 seconds and less than 6 before it gets too hot you're ready to go.

Grab the hen while still inside the bag and maneuver it so you can split it with the spit and rest it in your lap, using the bag as a plate. take your twine and tie the legs over the spit, making a notch with your knife in the area where the twine will connect with the spit. Tie a bowline within your notch of the spit. Repeat the process for the front of the bird and repeat if your doing the process for the second bird.

Here comes the fun part! After the bird(s) are on the spit, make sure you rotate the birds every minute or so until they cook all the way through. You may add the rest of the rub by sprinkling over the top of the bird as they rotate, and after about an hour or so you'll have a nice crispy outside. With about 20 minutes till done, stuff the cavities with the rosemary. If you're feeling adventurous you could use sprigs from a Douglas Fir or Eastern White Pine, just reduce the time in the bird by half. Use your fingers to test the temp. inside the cavity, and with about 10 min. left, drizzle the rest of the olive oil slowly over the bird(s). this will cause the flames to rise and encrust the hens in a nice, crunchy exterior.

Remove from the fire, and double check the "doneness" from the bird and as cooked. juices should be clear, without any signs of blood. Let the birds rest 5-10 minutes. Be sure to remove any twine and sticks before tearing into the bird.

This main course goes well with cat nine tail roots, couscous or potatoes, and fiddleheads sauteed in olive oil. After the meal, place the remnants inside your freezer bag, pack out the waste, and enjoy!

Good luck, and hearty cooking to ya!

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