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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Your Goose is Cooked, Part Two: Brined and Roasted Two Ways

Back when The Oldest brought over his goose jerky to be smoked, he also dropped off the rest of his jerky trimmings for me to play with in the kitchen.  I decided that I would try and make them edible in a form as close as possible to the real meat without curing or turning into jerky.  To do that, I needed a way to get over the shoe leather qualities of the meat when cooked traditionally.  The solution to that was a brine.

One of the problems The Oldest was having with cooking his goose breast was the blood that the meat was retaining.  For example, after soaking the breasts in water overnight, we observed a lot of blood in the water the next morning.  There was even blood on the paper towels used to dry the breasts.  So, as an experiment, we placed the breasts back in the water and after about 30 minutes of soaking, blood could be observed diffusion into the water.  This is where the brining helps. Brining does two things to poultry.  One, it adds flavor to the meat.  Two, it removes any blood or funky fluids that you do not want in your meat.  Basically this is being done by diffusion.  The brine has a high salt concentration as well as a higher concentration of flavorings.   The salt and other flavorings migrate into the meat until an equilibrium is formed.  At the same time the brine removes the blood and other unwanted juices from the meat retaining the water, keeping your meat moist and flavorful during the cooking process.  Here is a picture of the goose trimmings after four hours in a brine, rinsed with clean water to remove the excess salt, then being dried on paper towel.  Notice the absence of blood.

For our brine, I used Oakridge Game Changer brine.  Instead of all water, I substituted half of the water for apple juice to add flavor.  The recommended brining time for poultry parts is two to four hours, so I opted for four hours of brining time knowing this would be one tough bird.  Once brined, rinsed and dried, I wrapped half of the goose tenders in bacon and left the other half unwrapped.  Next I applied rub.  Half of each type were rubbed with Oakridge Game Bird and Chicken rub, the other half were seasoned with Oakridge Habanero Death Dust.  I allowed the goose tenders to rest on the counter at room temperature while I brought my smoker to a temperature of 350 F.  When the smoker was ready, I added pecan to the ash pan for smoke flavor, then placed my racks of goose on the top rack of the smoker.

I was shooting for a temperature of 145 F.  So, due to the thin cut on these tenders, I started checking for temperature after 20 minutes.  The unwrapped tenders were done at exactly 20 minutes.  The bacon wrapped tenders were done after about 45 minutes as they were the thicker tenders and were wrapped with an outer layer of bacon.  Here is the final product.

No shoe leather here.  The tenders were tender and juicy.  No knife needed here.  The game bird rub from Oakridge is one my favorite non competition rubs and did not disappoint.  It was a nice balance of flavor with the richness of the goose.  The Habanero Death Dust was a pleasant surprise, a nice balance of flavors and sweet with heat at the end of your bite.  I will have to start using this rub more in my cooking.  Very good.

So, there you have it, a way to cook your goose with out eating shoe leather as your final product.  I can't wait for the oldest to bring more goose over for experimentation.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. That sounds interesting. I have never had goose. Oakridge makes some quality stuff. Good Eats.

    1. Chilebrown, you have to try goose one day. Prepared correctly, it is good eats!