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Smoked Goose Approach

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One thing to keep in mind about Canada geese is that they are excellent eating, and a lot of hunters don't really know what to do with the big birds.  Many "breast out" their birds, which is to say they cut the breast out (and skin them!!) and just throw away the huge legs and thighs.  Wow; just thinking about can cause depression, given how good those legs and thighs are.  If you know anyone who hunts geese regularly, chances are they will have extras and be happy to give some away to an appreciative person. Once they have your smoked goose, your supply is guaranteed!


I have been doing geese two ways, with a new approach this year. First approach is to cut up the bird; separate breasts and legs and thighs; so 6 pieces per bird.  Brine 8-12 hours.  Then smoke until done.  Out of the smoker goose is outstanding.  Of course the fatty skin has to be on the bird.  That fat with the meat is key.  Some will cut the fat away later to eat, which is fine, but don't smoke the bird without its skin if you can avoid it.  I'll cut the breasts into slices and freeze different portions.  This is a gift folks like to get!  This one went almost 7 hours.



My new and second  approach is the same as the first, except that I don't cook the bird through.  The best possible flavor is hot out of the smoker, like just about anything else.  To achieve that I tried smoking for several hours (4-6); until the skin is browned some and the bird is partly cooked.  I stayed at 140-150.  Then I freeze the breast pieces.  The bird is still not cooked; after thawing I then cook the pieces at 400 degrees, usually for 20-24 minutes, depending on size of chunk.


Two things happen with this approach; the bird is sizzling out of the oven, and its smoked!  When I give away geese or ducks this way folks who don't smoke now get virtually the same result as if they were at my house when the birds came out of the smoker.  That's better than if I gave them a fully smoked and cooked bird that they just had to warm up (and probably overcook and dry out in the process).


The legs and thighs;  I trim these, and here is some of what results:

These trimmings I have been grinding with venison for burgers.  (I chop and freeze the trimmings and grind them frozen.)  Man that does dress up a burger!  I mix the goose/duck trimmings at about 40%, and use a little hand burger press from Target and freeze them all pressed out.  A quick thaw and the burgers go in the pan with nothing else since the waterfowl fat melts right out to fry them in.


The remaining legs and thighs get grilled over and old Farberware grill (where a pan underneath catches the extra fat), and then they get pressure canned with cabbage or wild rice.  You don't have to grill them before canning, but if there is a lot of fat on the skin cooking it out first keeps your jars from getting too fatty.  These tougher cuts can beautifully.  I've had guys say the smoked canned goose legs rate a 10.  I'll do a canning piece sometime.  It's really fast and easy to do, and then your stuff isn't all frozen.


Just some thoughts on a smoking approach that allows folks to enjoy the benefits of a hot smoked meal, with only having to finish off the cooking part.  Similar to a smoked but uncooked sausage I guess.


Note that any trimmings used for hamburger, etc., are cut into very small pieces, so I can be sure no pellets sneak by.  Any place I see a pellet track I follow it and do my very best to eliminate all pellets.  That steel shot can break a tooth.  When I slice goose breast I slice it thin enough to accomplish the same thing.  


The brine I use:


4 cups apple juice (get the kind with no preservatives)

4 cups water

1/2 cup salt

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 cup maple syrup


After you dissolve salt in warm water add other stuff (syrup first as the warm water will clean off your measure) and chill and add birds.

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