Thursday, September 1, 2011

Early Goose Jerky

Many parts of the country have an early season for Canada geese.  What a great way to kick start the waterfowl season, but way too many goose hunters just don’t like the taste of goose.  All too often, goose cookers go to extraordinary lengths to make their geese taste like something other than geese. 

Removing the blood from a big old honker will make a dramatic improvement in the flavor of the cooked birds.  The best way to remove blood is with a brine.  A brine is a mildly salty solution that will pass through the meat, replacing blood with brine and adding flavor and moisture to the meat.  Hi Mountain Seasonings Game Bird or Poultry Brine Mix is a great product for brining ducks and geese, whether you plan on smoking, smoke-cooking or just slapping the meat on a smoky grill.  In a pinch, dissolve 1/2 cup of kosher salt I 1/2 gallon of hot water.  Allow mixture to cool before adding the meat to the brine.

Cook your goose in parts.  That is, cook the breast fillets with medium heat until the middle of the breast is medium-rare or about 135 degrees.  A big, thick breast fillet will take extra time to cook.  If the heat source is too hot, you’ll find that the outside will be well-done by the time the middle is medium-rare.  Well-done goose is tough and livery.  Medium-rare goose is tender and not gamey.  Of course, properly cooked goose meat has a deep, pronounced flavor.  If your goose tastes like chicken, it’s not a goose.

One of the best ways to cook your goose is to turn it into jerky.  Transforming a pile of well-trimmed early season Canada goose breasts into delicious Hunter’s Goose Jerky is much simpler than you might think.  Not only will it free up a large amount of freezer space for the upcoming season, you’ll save a bundle of money over store-bought jerky.  New to Hi Mountain’s line of goose jerky kits is the Hunter’s Blend.  While I’ve always been partial to the Wild Goose Mesquite Jerky Cure and Seasoning, I do believe that the Hunter’s Blend is my new go-to blend.

Hunter’s Goose Jerky
Follow the instructions for preparing whole muscle meat jerky that is included in the package of Hi Mountain Hunter’s Blend Jerky Cure and Seasoning or click HERE for online instructions.  Take a few minutes to read all instructions and tips carefully and don’t try and cut corners or speed up the process.  You can’t rush jerky.

1.  Remove all skin, gristle and silverskin before slicing the goose breasts thinly across the grain into strips. 

2.  If you plan on making more jerky in the future, consider purchasing a kitchen scale so that you can weigh any meat before adding seasoning and cure.  If you don’t own a scale, 2 cups of trimmed, sliced meat weighs just over 1 pound.

3.  You don’t need any special equipment to prepare jerky at home.  Smokers are great, but an oven will work just fine.  Just make sure that you crack the door open by 1/2-inch to allow the moisture to escape.  The goal is to remove the moisture from the meat.  If your oven doesn’t have a mechanism to prop the door open a tad, roll up a small ball of foil and place it between the door and the frame of the oven.

4.  Don’t make the mistake of overcooking your jerky.  After the meat has spent an hour or so in a 200 degree oven or smoker, sample a piece and see if it needs some more time, but don’t get too far away.  Overcooked jerky is brittle, bitter and might give you the misguided impression that it’s the goose, and not the jerky-maker that is to blame for the unpleasant taste.

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