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Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy Duck or Goose Butchering

Here's my step-by step to make it relatively quick and easy to butcher ducks and geese. For the pictures, this is one of the domestic geese we raised this year, but I learned the technique from my neighbor Dave after hunting Canadian Geese a few years back.

This process is quick because you don't have to pluck feathers or even skin the whole bird. You don't even have to remove the entrails. What you are left with is 2 big boneless, skinless breast halves, and the leg/thigh quarters.

Anyone who complains about duck or goose being greasy or fatty has probably tried roasting the whole thing with the skin on, without puncturing the skin first. All the fat is in a thick layer right under the skin. Since I remove the skin, the fat comes with it, and you're left with lean meat.

Step 1: Turn the (dead) bird over on it's back, breast side up. Cut through the skin right in middle of the chest, being careful to not cut through anything but skin (just like the first cut when field dressing a deer). Use your skinning knife to peel the skin back, exposing the breast meat.

right, skin pulled back, breast exposed

Note: This is actually a variation on what I was shown. Dave starts by pulling the downy feathers off the breast, and then skipping to step 2 right through the skin. Then he peels the skin off the breast meat as the last step. I find my way to be a little easier.

Step 2: Find the ridge bone right down the middle, separating the 2 breast halves. Here I switch from a skinning knife to a fillet or boning knife, with a long thin and somewhat flexible blade. Cut straight down on one side of that ridge bone, cutting as close to the bone as possible. The blade will only cut so far until you hit breast bone again, but this is where the thin flexible blade comes in.
right, first cut along ridge bone


Once you hit the breast bone, kind of curve the tip of you knife and keep it right along the bone the whole time, while gently pulling the meat away with your other hand. If you keep your knife blade following the contour of the bone, you will end up with one big chunk of breast meat.


Here you can see the meat pulled away from the bone, at this point, I am about 50-60% done with this side.




Step 3: When you are finished with one side, you will have a nice big "fillet" of breast meat, clean it off and do the same on the other side. Wash off any feathers or blood, and either cook the meat or package it for the freezer.

right, one half the breast meat, ready for packaging.

Note: This is a big, lean chunk of meat that is more similar to beef in texture than chicken. Use it in any duck or goose recipe you may have, or substitute for beef in other recipes. You can cut into cubes for kabobs, cut in strips for a stir fry, roast it, smoke it, barbecue it, etc.

Step 4: At this point, I'll pull the skin off the legs and thighs so I can cut them off at the joint. The legs and thighs of waterfowl aren't the greatest cuts of meat in my opinion, but they are great for grinding (I recently used mine in chili, alongside other game I had in the freezer). You could even slow cook and shred it off the bone to cook in BBQ sauce, kind of like pulled pork (pulled goose).

Last, but definitely not least.... Enjoy eating your duck or goose.

3 comments:

Chuck said...

I like using the leg/thigh meat from my geese as stew meat. I put it in whole (bone in) and when its done it falls right off the bone and you can separate any tendons out too. I also like to grind up goose meat and make breakfast sausage out of it - Yummy!

Glenn said...

we are going to give it a shot, thanks os much

Daniel said...

I'm going to kill me one this year so I can try it out. Thanks alot for the info about cleaning it and receipts. I'll try anything once. Thanks again Daniel