Wild goose recipes get a bad rap. Goose meat is “often, yet unfairly, maligned,” as my friend Mark Norquist of Modern Carnivore likes to say. Or there’s the joke, “How to properly cook a goose,” which ends with “you throw away the goose and eat the cedar plank.” The reality is a properly butchered, prepared, and cooked goose should be one of the best-tasting wild birds you put on the table. Let’s get into how to make you a believer with these delicious wild goose recipes.

Table of Contents

  • 6 Wild Goose Recipes
  • Butchering Wild Geese
  • Aging Wild Geese Meat
  • Wet Brining vs Dry Brining
  • FAQs

6 Wild Goose Recipes

Note: It is recommended to brine or salt goose ahead of creating any of these recipes.

1) Cast-Iron Goose Breast

Start with a cold skillet and place the goose breast skin-side-down and turn the burner to medium heat. Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. Once the skin is brown and slightly crispy in the skillet, flip and continue to sear for 2 more minutes. Place the skillet in the oven for 8 minutes or until the internal temp reads 110 degrees F. Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the goose breast from the skillet and allow it to rest uncovered for 10 minutes. Slice pencil-thin when serving.

2) Sous-Vide and Reverse-Seared Goose Legs

After a 10-hour bath in a sous vide cooker, these legs get a scorching sear. Jack Hennessy

Spice the goose legs with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Seal with fresh herbs, garlic cloves, sliced apples, a few anise stars, and a bit of white wine. Sous vide at 165 degrees F for 10-12 hours. Remove and pat dry the legs then sear on hot grill to caramelize meat and add texture.

3) Sous-Vide and Reverse-Seared Goose Breast

Sous vide ensures perfectly cooked meat—even on tougher cuts like goose legs. Jack Hennessy

Follow the same steps the sous-vide legs recipe in regard to spices and what to include when sealing. However, you want to set the sous vide to 108 degrees F and cook the sealed goose breast in the water bath for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove and pat dry the breasts, lightly drizzle with cooking oil, then sear on a hot, hot grill (ideally 600-700 degrees F) for 1 minute each side. Allow the goose breast to rest uncovered for 10 minutes prior to carving pencil-thin.

4) BBQ Goose Wings

Add the goose wings to a baking dish and spice with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cover with chopped celery and onions. Add 1 cup of red wine and enough chicken stock to cover the wings. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275 degrees F for 3 hours. If the wings are still tough after 3 hours, cook for an hour or two, until mostly tender. Finish the wings by coating in your favorite BBQ sauce and grilling or smoking for a couple hours at 225 degrees F.

5) Crock-Pot Pulled Goose

Chop any goose cut into chunks and lightly spice with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sear the goose chunks then add to a Crock Pot with chopped onions and a cup of Coca-Cola and a bit of Sambal chili paste. Add enough beef stock to the cover the goose chunks. Set the Crock Pot to either high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-14 hours. Once goose easily shreds with two forks, you are ready to eat.

6) Goose Breast Lunch Meat

Goose pastrami is delicious in a sandwich. Jack Hennessy

Lightly salt and pepper a goose breast and place on a smoker at 160 degrees F. Smoke until the internal temp reads 105 degrees F (this should take approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Sear on a hot, hot grill, skillet, or flat top heated to 600-700 degrees F. Allow the goose breast to rest for 15 minutes uncovered before carving or placing the fridge to slice later. Also, you can also use this Venison pastrami recipe for goose breasts.

Butchering Wild Geese

Quick red-meat bird tip: Breasts are best served at 130 degrees F, while wings, thighs, and legs are better served closer to 190 degrees. Those cuts cooked at 190 degrees require an extended period of time at lower temps to break down collagen, which is more prevalent in these particular muscles. Collagen will at first harden, then turn to gelatin over time.

Tasty wild goose starts with breaking down the bird properly, followed by specific recipes for each individual cut. Jack Hennessy

Because of this, and because geese are so large, it is advisable to break down these birds similar to how to butcher a deer (by separating tougher cuts from the more-tender cuts best served medium-rare). You wouldn’t cook the front shoulders of a whitetail the same way you’d cook a backstrap (generally speaking), so you should avoid roasting a goose whole. Even with a Lesser Canada goose, which isn’t much bigger than a mallard, when I’ve tried to roast these birds whole, I end up with perfect medium-rare breasts but still need to the legs back in the oven to break down further.

Because “low and slow” methods turn bird skin to mushiness, I rarely keep the skin on wings, thighs, and legs; though I firmly recommend plucking breasts as flavor resides in that fatty skin.

Take the five minutes to pluck your goose breasts. Use a Bic light to burn off any errant hairs or small feathers. Jack Hennessy

Aging Wild Goose Meat

Another important part of the process a good goose recipe that is rarely discussed: aging wild geese. I don’t own a well-adorned aluminum necklace, but I’ve pulled a couple bands off Canada geese. One was 7 years old. For perspective, most domestic chickens that you buy in the store are butchered at the age of 7-9 weeks. Domestic beef becomes steaks at approximately 2 1/2 years old.

Old animals are tough—both in the necessary strategies to put them in the dirt as well as cook them for best flavor. For this reason, often I will still butcher a wild goose, then place all cuts in my fridge for 7 to 10 days before freezing or cooking.

Wet Brine vs Salt Brine

Brining meat results in more tender bites. A wet brine will help draw out blood, but also reduce the meat’s flavor. Salting or a dry brining will maintain that true flavor, but if you’re wanting to pull out some blood, you may wish to wet brine—but only for an hour. Below is a basic wet brine recipe:

Wet Brine Recipe


  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 bulb fresh garlic bulb, smashed
  • 6 ounces fresh ginger, smashed


Combine all. You may wish to simmer only half a gallon of water with ingredients until salt and sugar dissolves, then add cold water to finish 1 gallon amount. Add goose once water is cool. Brine goose butchered cuts for 10-12 hours. (Longer for larger cuts.)


What is the best way to cook a wild goose?

“Rarely whole,” is the best answer. While the breasts on a wild goose are best served medium-rare (130 degrees F), the legs, thighs, and wings require a higher temp achieved over a longer period of cooking at low temps. Reason being: These harder-working cuts are riddled with collagen, which will harden at first, then eventually break down and turn to gelatin, thus tenderizing the meat. However, during this breakdown period, which starts about 160 degrees F internal temp and may end at approximately 190 degrees F, it is important to not to dry out the meat. This is why we cook these cuts at a lower temp and often include some sort of moisture.

Is wild goose worth eating?

Absolutely, wild goose is worth eating if cooked correctly—same as any wild game. But wild geese gets stigmatized for whatever reason. So when someone overcooks a wild goose, or fails to allow its legs several hours to break down and tenderize, eaters blame it on the species and not the cook, which is so unfair to our wild honkers. Long story short: If you follow the advice earlier in this article, you will find out wild goose is one of the best birds you can put on a plate.

What tastes better: duck or goose?

That is a matter of preference and, most likely, what one is in the mood to eat. While both are a red meat, goose tastes more like roast beef than waterfowl. Both have somewhat of a “rich” flavor, though because most people grew up eating beef, properly cooked wild goose might taste more familiar for some people. However, in most scenarios, goose is going to have a tougher texture, if the proper steps aren’t taken. Because mouthfeel is part of the taste experience, texture and how to properly tenderize both species remains an important of the prepping and cooking process.

What does wild goose taste like?

“Roast beef with a hint of duck” is the easiest way to put it, though legs and wings have a larger percentage “duck” versus the breasts, which tastes more like beef than waterfowl.