Goose Jerky Recipe

Wild Game Cook • January 15, 2024

Everyone's favorite wild game snack: jerky! In this case, we are making some goose jerky. Nine out of ten times, I tell someone, "I have goose jerky. Would you like to try some?" They turn their nose up in the air and decline the offer. I've never understood why goose gets so much criticism. Sure, it's not deer, and it sure isn't beef, but if you take the steps I have laid out, there isn't a single person who could tell you it was goose!

How thick you cut it is really up to you; it's all a matter of preference. I prefer about 1/4" or a little less. The thicker the cut, the longer the cooking times and possibly the harder it is to chew. Using a slicer can help with more consistent cook times, and depending on the direction you make your cuts, it also can affect the cooking time.

This recipe can be made in the oven, dehydrator, or your Smoker/pellet grill. If you are going to use the oven, most ovens' lowest temp is 170 degrees, so I would cut my jerky no less than ¼ inch, no more than 3/8 inch. I use a dehydrator and 160 degrees is the highest setting on mine, so that's what I use to keep the cook time as short as possible on it. If you have limited shelf space on your dehydrator, you may also want to cut it thicker.

For this recipe, I went with my Camp Chef Pellet Grill and set the temp to 160 degrees with a smoke setting of 7. After the first hour, you can lower the smoke setting to 1 if you don't like a ton of smoke. The smoker gives the jerky so much more flavor than the dehydrator. If using a dehydrator, do not be deterred. Just know that if you could smoke your jerky, it makes your mouth water!

This recipe also applies to deer jerky, duck jerky, or any other kind of jerky.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 8 hours +
Cook Time: 2-5 hours

Ingredients

Instructions

To get started, we want to ensure our goose breasts are in the best possible shape. We want to ensure we trim off any skin and fat on them and remove any feathers. I also like to remove the very thick section of the membrane that is located on the underside of the breast, where it connects to the wing socket. Just fillet it out of there the best you can. It's not edible if you have a big piece attached to the jerky.

After you have prepped the goose breasts, it's time to start slicing. If you have a slicer, great, set it to the desired thickness and proceed. If you are cutting by hand, do your best to make even cuts to ensure more consistent cook times and less babysitting on the smoker/dehydrator. It's really up to you how you slice with or against the grain. Unlike most cuts of deer or beef, which typically run in the same direction, bird breasts typically run in multiple directions. Most people typically cut their jerky short ways, just like you would eat your chicken breast. Experiment with cutting short and long ways to find what final product you like best. It's generally tender regardless of which direction you choose. Cutting more muscle fibers will result in faster cook times; if you happen to have pieces that run with the grain, they will usually take longer to cook.

A KEY STEP to make goose jerky that anyone would love to devour is to soak the sliced meat in water while sloshing it around to remove as much blood as possible. If you have meat lugs from LEM, toss all of your meat in there and run cold water over it. Stir the meat around with your hands, and then let it set for 5 minutes or so. Then drain the water and repeat this process 2-3 times as needed. You will see a very noticeable difference in the color of the water after the third rinsing! This rinsing step is not needed if you are doing deer jerky. It's mostly for geese and ducks.

After your water looks good, drain it and prepare your 2 ½ cups of cold water (per the packet) along with the cure (located inside the packet in a small white packet) and seasonings. I like to open the cure, pour it into the water, and stir to ensure it dissolves and is well distributed. I then add in the rest of the seasoning packet and stir very well to make sure everything is dissolved and incorporated. Then, pour your mixture onto the goose meat and massage the seasoning and liquid into the meat. It's best to use nitrile or latex gloves so your hands don't smell for hours. The marinade will be very wet; this will tighten up as the jerky sits in the fridge.

Once all of your meat has been well covered, you can transfer it to a plastic bowl (try to avoid metal if you can, as it can affect the flavor of the meat) or a 1-gallon zip-top bag. I suggest marinating overnight for 24 hours. You could go longer if you wanted. No more than two days is needed. Every 8 hours or so, you are going to want to take the meat, massage it, and stir it around to make sure you are getting good contact with the marinade on ALL pieces. If you are only marinating for 8 hours, do this step every 2-3 hours.

After your goose has marinated for the desired time, take it out and place it on your racks. I then like to sprinkle just a little steak seasoning on top of mine for added salt and some texture. This is optional, but if you are like me and my family, we like it salty.

Now we are ready to start cooking; depending on what you are cooking it on, you may want to rotate your racks after the first hour and repeat as needed. My dehydrator has hotter spots than others, and it helps to rotate them to ensure they finish closer to the same time.

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At 160 degrees, you may see the pieces located around the outside perimeter of the rack on your smoker ready after just 2 hours. Remove those pieces after your desired doneness is detected. As a rule of thumb, I like to use my thumb and pointer finger to pinch the meat and see how much "squish" there is. I am looking for very little squish, but just a little is good. You don't want it to dry.

If you didn't use a slicer, and you aren't great with a knife (like me), you will have some pieces that are uneven, so you might even rip them in half and let one half keep cooking. Most of your jerky will be done in around 3-4 hours, depending on air moisture, air temperature, etc.

Something to keep in mind is that if some pieces get pretty dry and some pieces don't get quite done in some spots, placing all of the jerky (once it is cooled off) in a bag or container with a lid will help all of the pieces even themselves out. Some dry pieces become more pliable, and some softer pieces harden and dry up a bit.

It's best to try and eat all of the jerky within 10-14 days. However, you could throw some in a vacuum seal bag and put the jerky in the freezer. Just be sure the jerky has soft edges, as hard, dry edges could puncture the bag and make it lose its seal.

It's a simple recipe, and if you take the time to treat the goose right, you will be pleased with the final product!

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Goose jerky makes great gifts for landowners who open their property for you to hunt or for those who invite you to tag along. Be kind and share your jerky with others 😊. Enjoy!

--Wild Game Cook