Cooking: Goose Burgers

Try this mouth-watering variation of an American classic

by Scott Leysath

Based on the 85,000 fast-food restaurants in the United States, it's safe to say that most people enjoy a good burger. But while beef is the reigning king of fast-food burgers, trimmed goose meat blended with a handful of ingredients makes for a surprisingly delicious burger that anyone can prepare at home.

Goose BurgersEvery now and then, I'll scan the multitude of online hunting forums to see what my fellow waterfowlers have to say about their experiences with cooking what they harvest. When it comes to geese, opinions range from "not fit to eat" to "rich, dense meat with delicious earthy flavors." Considering the divergent opinions between those who like geese and those who would rather eat a merganser than a snow goose, it's sometimes hard to imagine that these hunters are discussing the same game bird.

Some people won't even consider eating a snow goose because of the bird's reputation as strong and unpleasant table fare. Many refuse to even try a bite to find out if the rumors are true. The same goes for shovelers. But all of you spoonie snobs out there can rest assured that if I have fed you, there's a good chance you’ve feasted on a tasty spoonbill. When it comes to cooking a goose, my first choice is a specklebelly, but for burgers, any goose will do. An all-American meal of burgers and fries is a great way to make use of any waterfowl meat, including snow goose.

Goose Burgers

Preparation Time: 15 minutes   
Cooking Time: less than 10 minutes
Serves: 4 - 1/3 pound patties

Ingredients

  • 2-3 skinless goose breast fillets, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 cup canned diced tomato, drained
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/3 teaspoon table salt)
  • sliced cheese
  • 4 burger buns
  • lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion, condiments

1. Place the goose breast pieces in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the meat is thoroughly ground. You can also finely chop the meat with a knife.

2. In a large bowl, combine the ground goose with the next six ingredients and mix well. Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, and mix until firm enough to hold together in patties. Form into three 3/4-inch-thick patties.

3. Place on a medium-hot grill or in a hot skillet and brown evenly on both sides to desired doneness, about four minutes per side for medium internal temperature. Place cheese on top until melted. Serve in burger buns with lettuce, tomato, onion, and your choice of condiments.

As Long As You're In The Kitchen...

Why not make a big batch of a variety of waterfowl burgers? Chop some extra onion and combine with a little diced jalapeño pepper and a pinch of Italian seasoning to create flavorful burger patties that you can wrap and freeze for later. Just make sure you label and date each package, and plan to cook them within six months. In a pinch, you can slap a frozen patty on a well-oiled medium-hot grill and it's burger time in less than 10 minutes.