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How to Make Goose Jerky

The ultimate homemade honker snack.

How to Make Goose Jerky

Forget what you thought in high school—quality jerky is the actual secret to instant popularity. (Photo By: Jack Hennessy)

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A hunter who makes his or her own jerky, and makes it well, will never want for a friend. Jerky, not a case of Busch, is also the ultimate party favor—perfect for any get-together, whether in a duck blind or at you grandma’s 90th birthday celebration (assuming she still has her teeth or a reputable set of dentures). It’s loaded with both flavor and protein and, when cured, is semi non-perishable for a period of time.

Did I mention it’s probably one of the easiest things to make? For some hunters, it’s also the only answer for “What do I make with this Canada goose I just shot?” Sadly, yes, there are some waterfowl hunters who simply do not enjoy Canada goose in any other form other than meat leather. If you’re one of them or know someone who is, or just want to create the perfect protein-packed snack for those long, cold sits during the season, you need to check out this recipe.

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You don’t need a meat slicer, but it helps if wishing to slice uniform pieces (in terms of width). Regardless of how you slice your goose breasts, you’ll want to do so when they’re partially frozen. I find upon pulling from the freezer, if you let those breasts sit in the fridge for 18-24 hours, they should be perfect. A thawed, mushy goose breast moves around too much when cutting.

cutting up goose meat on cutting board with knife
For all you waterfowl hunters who skin your birds, you’re in luck because we want our breasts skinless. Fat can oxidize and cause spoilage. If you plucked your breasts, don’t worry. Cut it off and make goose butter. (Photo By: Jack Hennessy)

When it comes to curing—the addition of synthetic sodium nitrite, which turns the meat slightly pink and it gives it that cured flavor—you don’t exactly have to cure your jerky, but curing helps preserve the meat for longer. Yes, you can also substitute celery juice powder (make sure to follow instructions on that container, if you do). Celery juice powder contains naturally occurring nitrites, but allegedly, technically speaking, is not “cured” when applied. Personally, I use Insta Cure #1 for almost all of my jerky.

This recipe is for whole muscle jerky (not snack sticks) and made with dry spices versus a wet brine or marinade. I personally feel a lot of brines and marinades denature or dilute wild game flavor, so I often go the route of dry spices for jerky. I am also a freshly cracked black pepper fanatic and drown my jerky in that stuff. Here, I cracked coarse pepper overtop during the initial phase of spice mixing, then again when putting into the dehydrator (which adds both that pepper texture and spicy tones).




To smoke or dehydrate, that call is yours. I include instructions for both here. I personally feel the uniformity of a dehydrator is better, but if you gotta have that smoke, I understand that too. In terms of equipment, if you need a dehydrator, or even a slicer, MEAT! sells a lot of this gear direct for less and they back all their gear for life, so might be worth checking them out. Just my opinion, but I think every person in the world should own a dehydrator—you can make your own fruit snacks, jerky, dehydrated camp meals, and this equipment is so incredibly easy to operate.

I used The Provider’s FOWL rub for one batch here, and my custom rub, which included fresh orange zest, for another. Both were great, but you are welcome to use your favorite spice rub, or obviously the custom one here. I also personally prefer my jerky on the leathery side, but if you like yours with a little more suppleness, shoot for a shorter dehydration or smoke time, all of which is covered in the recipe instructions.

Goose Jerky Ingredients:

  • Two Canada goose breasts, approximately 2-1/2 pounds total
  • 1/2 teaspoon Insta Cure #1
  • Liberal dusting of your favorite rub or the below recipe:
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Zest from two oranges
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • Ample dusting of freshly cracked, coarse black pepper


Goose Jerky Directions:

  1. Slice partially frozen, skinless goose breasts to somewhere between 1/4- and 1/2-inch.
  2. Mix Insta Cure #1 and spices with sliced jerky. Cover and allow to rest overnight in the fridge.
  3. Cover and allow to rest overnight in the fridge.
  4. To make jerky, spray racks with cooking oil and set sliced jerky on racks without any jerky slices touching each other.
  5. Dehydrate for 2 hours at 150 degrees Fahrenheit, then between 2 and 4 more hours at 140 (depending on how leathery you want your jerky). If smoking, smoke at 160 for between 3 and 4 hours, depending on how well done you want your jerky.
  6. Allow to cool before sealing. When vacuum-sealed (with a tight seal) jerky will last in a cool dry place (back of cupboard, for example) for 1-2 months. In the refrigerator, it’ll last for several months, and then for 2-3 years in the freezer.

Any questions or comments, please reach out on Instagram: @WildGameJack

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