Honey-Lacquered Hens and Pears

It’s summertime and the grilling season, with its delicious aromas and promises of succulent treats. Poultry has long been a favorite on the grill. A reader, Shmuel L, from Miami sent us this recipe and photo, he writes that he stumbled upon it two summers ago, and it’s been a family favorite since:

Honey-Lacquered Hens and Pears



  • 2 long metal skewers
  • 1/2 cup honey marinade *
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 2 game hens (about 2 pounds each) washed
  • 2 just barely ripe Bartlett pears, cored
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • Lavender blossoms for garnishing (optional)


  1. Combine the Marinade, dried lavender, and game hens in a 1 gallon zipper lock bag, press out the air and seal. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Light a grill for direct low heat, about 250 F.
  3. Remove the hens from the marinade and part dry, discard the marinade.
  4. Tie the ends of the drumsticks together. Coat the hens and the pears with with the oil. Arrange on skewers so that each hen is pierced from the shoulder to the leg  and add a pear at each end, thereby making it possible to turn everything at once.
  5. Brush the grill grate with oil. Grill until the game hens become lightly charred all the way around and the temperature on an instant read thermometer shows 165 F (about 45 to 60 minutes). Turn the skewers every 12 minutes or so.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together honey, vanilla extract, and Sriracha.
  7. Cut the game hens in half. Arrange each hen and pear half on a plate and drizzle with the honey-vanilla mixture. Garnish with the lavender blossoms for a dramatic presentation.

* Honey Marinade

Yields 3/4 cup


  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ground pepper


  1. Whisk together mustard, honey, vinegar, and oil. Season with pepper. Left over marinade will keep in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

Shmuel L.

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