Rosemary-Brined Guinea Hen



  • 20 cups water, divided
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 rosemary sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 2½ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • One 3½-to-4-pound guinea hen
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. In an 8-quart stock pot, combine 10 cups of the water with the garlic, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 10 cups water, the sugar, salt and peppercorns. Let the brine completely cool.

2. Add the guinea hen to the cooled brine, making sure it’s completely submerged. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

3. Preheat the oven to 350º, then line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top. Remove the hen from the brine and dry completely with paper towels. Truss the legs with butcher’s twine and lay the guinea hen on top of the rack.

4. Roast until the hen has reached an internal temperature of 145º, 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 450º. Let the guinea hen rest outside, while the oven is heating.

5. Rub the butter all over the skin of the bird, then place back in the oven until golden brown and the bird has reached an internal temperature of 165º, 12 to 15 minutes.

6. Remove the guinea hen from the oven and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes before carving and serving.


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