Holly Heyser.jpg

Holly Heyser


My, how things have changed. There was a time when most waterfowl were prepared one of two wayscooks would either roast a whole bird or carve out the breast fillets to grill or pan-fry. Today, most of us enjoy a variety of additional ways to cook ducks and geese, using all the meat from the breasts, legs, and thighs.

One nontraditional way to prepare waterfowl is to grind the meat or pulse it with a food processor. This is an especially useful method for making good use of thigh and leg meat, as well as breast fillets from those birds that might have a gamey flavor. Combined with pork and seasonings, ground waterfowl can be substituted in any recipe that calls for domestic ground meat.

Making breakfast sausage with ground duck or goose is a no-brainer. If time allows, refrigerate the uncooked sausage patties overnight to firm them up. They can be frozen, but if you are going to vacuum-seal them, freeze them first so that they maintain their shape.

Duck or Goose Breakfast Sausage


  • 2 cups skinless duck or goose breast fillets
  • 1 cup boneless pork shoulder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil


[Step 1] Cut duck or goose and pork into small chunks. Grind meat in a grinder or pulse in a food processor until pea-sized. Place ground meat into a large bowl.

[STEP 2] Combine rosemary, thyme, sage, and mustard seeds. Lightly toast in a dry skillet over medium-low heat.

[STEP 3] Heat butter in a skillet and saut onion, toasted seasonings, and garlic until onion is translucent. Add orange juice and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add mixture to bowl with ground meat. Add egg and mix thoroughly with your hands. Form meat into egg-sized balls and then press into patties.

[STEP 4] Add enough oil to just coat the bottom of a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add patties and saut on each side until well-browned and cooked through.