Earlier this week, I joined some of my good friends from Ducks Unlimited on a snow goose hunt in eastern Arkansas. We hit the migration just right and, despite some difficult conditions, the guys at Arkansas Duck Masters put us on the X. Our shooting could have been a bit better, but over a couple days of hunting we had nearly 100 birds in the bag. That’s a fine shoot by anybody’s standards. It also left us with plenty of snow goose meat to bring home.
Despite what people say, snow goose is edible and tasty—if you cook it correctly. Big adult birds can be upwards of 15 to 20 years old, and they are challenging to deal with. Juvenile birds, however, are downright delicious. For the older snow geese, I’d recommend grinding them into sausage, making jerky or a long, slow braise to break down the tough meat. Juvies can be cooked like a steak, used in poppers (the ones in the photo were amazing, especially with a little homemade pepper jelly on top) or in a number of other recipes. If you’re lucky enough to stack up a pile of white this spring, here are five recipes for cooking them.
Smoked Snow Goose: Young or old, a snow goose smoked over a sweet cherry wood is hard to beat. The right brine is key, and I’m haven’t found anything better than Wild Sky Seasoning for smoking all kinds of waterfowl.
Goose Meatball Subs: On a premier day in the field when everything goes right, hunters can end up with a giant pile of snow geese. That’s when a commercial-grade grinder comes in handy. Ground snow geese, mixed with a bit of pork or beef fat, can be used just like ground beef. Make a burger, or try this amazing snow goose meatball sub recipe.
Goose Sliders: Braised goose meat is the basis for all kind of great dishes, from carnitas to egg rolls. Still, it’s hard to beat a good slider. Here’s my classic recipe. It calls for goose legs, but works just as well with skinned goose breasts.
Sweet Sesame Goose Jerky: Here’s another great way to prepare older birds. There are million jerky recipes out there, but this one from Ducks Unlimited
puts an incredible Asian spin on the classic dried meat snack.
Goose Steaks: The skinned breasts of a juvenile snow goose are as tender as a mallard. Unfortunately, they’re not quite as tasty. A good marinade (like the one below) can help boost the flavor, but like any wild-game steak, it’s most important not to cook them a single degree past medium. Medium rare is even better.
Snow Goose Steak Marinade
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ medium onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Bay leaves
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. chili paste
½ tsp. dried tarragon
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1. Whisk the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Place the filleted goose breasts into a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Refrigerate and let soak for 3-4 hours.
2. Remove the goose breasts from the marinade and pat dry. Let the breasts rest on the counter for 30 minutes, then grill to medium rare or medium.