Alternative Thanksgiving Meats: Canada Goose

Tired of turkey? Replace the bird with one of these four sustainable wild meats (plus one vegan alternative)

Canada Geese on the wing.     Photo: Injo/Shutterstock

Besides turkey, few birds conjure up images of the holiday season like a fattened goose. But try cooking a Canada goose like one of its domestic cousins, and you might be disappointed: simply stuffing a freshly-hunted goose with apples and roasting it will result in tough, dry, gamey meat. “Wild goose is very unforgiving,” says Scott Leysath, food columnist for Ducks Unlimited Magazine and host of the Sportsman Channel's Hunt Fish Cook. “If you cook it like most farmed birds, you’ll never eat goose again.” Like wild turkey, he suggests breaking goose down and cooking it in liquid. The result may not have the classic look of a Christmas goose, but it’s tasty, low-fat, and helps rid the pesky birds from clogging up parks and golf courses around their East Coast and Midwestern migratory routes.

BRINED CANADA GOOSE ROAST
1. In a large bucket, combine 1 gallon of water and 1 cup each of kosher salt and brown sugar.
2. Cut legs from goose and brine for 12 hours; add breast meat to the brine for the last 9 hours.
3. Place legs and breast meat into separate roasting pans and brown in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven.
4. To the legs, add chopped onion, garlic, and fresh herbs, and pour in 1 inch of chicken stock or white wine.
5. Cover in foil and bake for about 3 hours, adding the breast meat to the pan for the last hour.

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