1. Rinse the hens and pat completely dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly roll pan. In a stockpot, melt vegetable shortening over high heat to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and heat it to 375°F. Carefully put 1 Cornish hen in the hot shortening. Deep-fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. To check for doneness, using a wire-mesh skimmer and tongs, carefully remove the hen from the stockpot and insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, not touching a bone-it should read 180°F. Transfer to the wire rack and keep warm in the oven while frying the other hen. Let the second hen rest for 5 minutes. Serve whole, or use a cleaver to split the hens lengthwise. Serve with the salt, pepper, and lemon wedges, letting each person season his or her hen to taste.
This Deep-Fried Cornish Game Hens recipe is from the Fried & True: Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.
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