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Washburn: Eight-minute goose breast

Washburn: Eight-minute goose breast

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By now, I think it’s obvious to everyone that Iowa’s giant Canada goose flock enjoyed banner production during 2020. The event has not gone unnoticed by area waterfowlers who cashed in on some fast-paced action.

Honkers in the air

Iowa’s giant Canada goose flock enjoyed banner production during 2020.

But although hunters enjoyed success, there was also a potential downside early in the season. Regardless of age, most Canada geese are still in the process of completing their summer molt at the beginning of the season. Pin feathers can abound. So much so, in fact, that most birds cannot be dry-picked [plucked] early in the season. Consequently, this leaves hunters with little choice but to participate in the barbaric practice of “breasting out” their kill.

Filleted goose breasts present a wide variety of challenges. Regardless of how they’re prepared, skinless goose pieces are extremely easy to dry out, over cook and ruin. Wild game cookbooks are loaded with goose breast recipes which typically involve plugging in the crock pot for an all-day simmer. With some recipes, the results are tolerable. A couple are good enough that you’ll want to go for seconds.

But there is, of course, more than one way to skin a cat. Or in this case, a Canada goose. One of the best I’ve tried is a covered grill recipe that only takes minutes to prepare, is falling-off-a-log simple, and is as good to eat as it is easy to fix. Generally referred to as “Goose Kabobs,” it is one of my favorite early season recipes. Here’s the simple step by step process:

Over the fire

Eight minutes on a covered grill -- until the goose is medium rare -- will produce melt-in-your-mouth kabobs.

1] Cut refrigerated goose breast into 1 ½ to 2-inch cubes.

2] Lightly sprinkle with your favorite steak seasoning. DO NOT overdo. Our objective is to enjoy the flavor of wild goose, not an overwhelming blend of commercial spices.

3] Wrap a half slice of [room temperature] bacon around each goose cube and secure with a wooden toothpick.

4] Place meat directly over hot coals – Starting temps should be in the high 300s.

5] Turn goose cubes after four minutes. Grill for an additional three to four minutes and remove from heat. Let meat rest for a couple of minutes and serve.

Bacon-wrapped goose kabobs

Goose is best prepared medium rare.

If done properly, bacon should be brown and crispy, but goose breast should remain rare to medium rare. Beginning with the combination of cold goose and warm bacon is essential to making this happen. DO NOT let the meat go beyond medium rare!! If you do, the goose will be tough and flavorless. The meal will be ruined. No way around it. Serve rare to medium rare, and the kabobs will melt in your mouth.

Goose kabobs can be utilized as a stand-alone entrée or, more commonly, served as appetizers. When used as appetizers, be careful not to put too many on the platter or your guests will be full by the time the “real meal” makes it to the table. Leftovers, should there be any, can be taken back to the goose blind the next morning. When sliced into thin discs, cold goose kabobs make excellent snacks while waiting for the arrival of more geese. Hmmm – eating geese while waiting for geese. It’s a vicious cycle.

Enjoy more wildlife tales online at Washburn’s Outdoor Journal at iawildlife.org/blog.

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