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Cornish Hen and DIY Tin Can Smoker

Asian Cornish Hen on a DIY Tin Can Smoker

The Asian flavors of five spice powder harmonizes beautifully with the sweet tang and smoke off the DIY Tin Can Smoker on a cornish hen.


  • DIY Tin Can Smoker
  • tongs
  • Tomato Paste Can with both lids removed (4 oz) (I actually used the remaining portion of the can after building my DIY Tin Can Smoker!)
  • Empty spice rub container
  • Silicon brush


  • 1 cornish hen (that fits in the DIY Tin Can Smoker without touching the edges)
  • 1 tablespoon Five Spice Powder
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup Blues Hog Tennessee Red Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Blues Hog Raspberry Chipotle Sauce


  • Load the DIY Tin Can Smoker with lump charcoal (about 3 cups worth, piling high so that the air intake holes are not blocked). Light a charcoal starter inside the can (you can also use this as the opportunity to season the smoker as well) with the lid off and air vents wide open.
    DIY Tin Can Smoker sitting inside a propane BBQ
  • Push the tomato can into the backside of the cornish hen (think beer can chicken style).
  • Mix the five spice powder, kosher salt and sugar into the empty spice bottle. Liberally season all sides of the cornish hen.
  • Using tongs lower the cornish hen by the neck side down into the tin can smoker. Place the lid on top with the exhaust wide open.
    Cornish Hen in Tin Can Smoker from overhead
  • Allow the DIY Tin Can Smoker to cook for 35 minutes. I didn't add a thermometer on the DIY Tin Can smoker because I knew the smoker would cook hot and fast, with the temperature controlled by the air intake and exhaust. With all holes open, I estimate the smoker cooks at 350-375F.
    DIY Tin Can Smoker lit
  • Using an instant read thermometer and the temperature of the cornish hen breasts are 155-157F, use tongs to remove the cornish hen from the DIY Tin Can Smoker.
    Cornish Hen cooking in Tin Can Smoker temped at 156F
  • Glaze the cornish hen first with Blues Hog Tennesse Red and then Blues Hog Raspberry Chipotle.
  • Use tongs to put the cornish hen back in the DIY Tin Can Smoker to set the sauce for about 3 minutes. Allow cornish hen to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Set the cornish hen on fresh greens and enjoy!
    Cornish Hen smoked in DIY Tin Can Smoker