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Dutch oven Cornish game hens


This is a fun thing to do while camping or on the back porch at home. You’ll need a Dutch oven, charcole and a safe place to cook.  

How many people don’t eat bacon while camping? Just what I thought…..unless you are vegetarian everyone has bacon, so save the grease for this dish. If you do not have it an olive oil or vegetable oil will work. 


Cornish game hens thawed and washed and dried, browned in 2 tablespoons of bacon grease 

Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery, onion cleaned and cut into hunks 

1 can chicken broth

2 garlic cloves

Salt/pepper/dash of oregano

Charcole bricketts started in safe place, tongs to move them with, hot pad(s)

After several tries we found you need to brown the birds a bit before placing in the Dutch oven otherwise the skin is mush. So, using the bacon grease, or other oil, heat either the Dutch oven over coals or brown in another pan on a stove. Turning quickly so the bird does not cook a whole lot. 

Using the coals: light coals in a safe area  or in a bbq , you will be pulling them out one at a time; let them cook until white forms on the edges.  If you need to protect an area from becoming black use heavy duty foil before placing coal on area. Move 6 coals to a safe location,  or on foil,  placing them in a circle about the size of the Dutch ovens’  bottom  diameter. Place oven on top of coals to heat up. 

  Place all the vegetables with the seasoning mixed with them  into Dutch oven, careful you do not over fill it, the oven becomes very heavy. Place the brown birds on the vegetables plus the remaining bacon grease. Pour the can of chicken broth over everything. Put the lid on. Since the oven becomes very heavy we bring the ingredients to the pot, instead of carrying the Dutch oven outside.

Now, you have the ingredients ready…..

After the lid is on, place 12  ready coals on the top all around the lid area. Be careful everything is HOT. You will cook this for one hour and thirty minutes, during this time some coals will need to be added to keep the heat steady. You can add a black coal next to a hot one and it will light or you can, after thirty minutes light some more and once they are hot move them to the top or bottom of the Dutch oven. If it is the bottom you will carefully lift it up, add coals and place back on the heat.   

This is hot, so when removing the lid be carful to not spill the hot coals on yourself or an area that can catch fire.

  Finished and ready to eat!  

Variations: any root vegetables , mushrooms or other seasoning work great. You can add a package of gravy mix at the end as well. Adding biscuits thirty minutes before birds are done is yummy too. Just open lid and carefully place on top of food. Do not tip lid. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

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