Limoncello Pollo Al Mattone (Limoncello Tuscan Cornish Hens)

Pollo al mattone translated means chicken under a brick. It originated in the Tuscan region of Italy and it’s a method of roasting or grilling a whole chicken. The chicken is split open and the backbone removed and opened like a book, this is known as spatchcocking a chicken. The use of a brick (or anything heavy to weight it down) allows the chicken to cook faster evenly and gives it a crispier skin. And who’s doesn’t love crispy chicken skin…


  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 2 lemons, tested and juiced
  • ¼ cup of Limoncello
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, leaves removed and minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped and minced
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary minced
  • 2 whole lemons
  1. Spatchcock the Cornish Hens and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt on each side.
  2. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold the flattened hens. Add the hens, and turn to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.
  3. When ready to grill, place the hens skin side up and weigh them down with a gratin dish with a foil-wrapped brick inside.
  4. Grill for 6 minutes over medium heat until the underside is golden brown. Turn the hens over and grill for another 6 minutes until golding brown or until cooked through.
  5. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut-side down, for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the Cornish hens and lemons to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut the hens in half, sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves

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