Adapted from an Alton Brown Recipe – serves 2
2 Cornish game hens, at room temperature
6 pieces of sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Wrap a brick in aluminum foil and place into the oven to heat. If you don’t have a brick, a cast iron Dutch oven will work, with or without the lid. (This is a great opportunity to do a side dish in the Dutch oven at the same time)
2. Fry the bacon in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
3. While the bacon is frying, remove the backbones of the hens and open up like a book, breast down on the cutting board. Remove the keel bone. Cut small slits in the skin of the bird behind the legs and tuck the drumstick tips through to hold them in place.
4. When the bacon is crisp, remove it and the grease from the skillet and reserve. Return 1 tablespoon of fat to the pan.
5. Salt and pepper both sides of the birds and immediately place them in the pan, skin side down, over medium heat.
6. Spoon 1 tablespoon bacon grease, on top of birds to lubricate.
7. Cover the birds with a sheet of aluminum foil and place the Dutch oven, or brick, on top and heat for 5 minutes.
8. Remove the skillet, with the brick or Dutch oven on top the birds, from the heat and place into the 500 degree oven to cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the thigh meat reaches 170 degrees F.
9. Remove from the oven, remove the Dutch oven, and allow the birds to rest for 5 minutes before serving.