Q: Dr. BBQ,
I’m planning to smoke cornish hens for Valentine’s Day for my business. How long should I cook them at around 225 and should I cook them breast side up or down? Also, I’ve been smoking whole turkeys for a few years now and my brother-in-law tells me that I should be cooking them breast-side down. I’ve never had any complaints or have had any dry turkeys–what do you think? I enjoyed the “BBQ All-Stars” show last year. Thanks and I hope to meet you at a competition this year,
A. Hi Mike,
Glad you liked the show. We sure had fun doing it. I think the breast up vs. down has to do with your cooker. If the heat will be more intense on top, I think breast down is good, if the intense heat comes from below then breast up is best. Anytime you cook breast down the presentation will be poor. As for the time at 225, well it’s a guess but I’d say a couple hours. You’ll be much better off if you use an internal read thermometer and take them off when the white meat is 160 and the dark meat is 175. That should make for a nice juicy bird whether you cook it up or down.