Making jerky from waterfowl or other game is a great way to turn lean meats into something that will last a long time. It’s also a good way to make friends. When you’re sitting in a blind and someone says, “Hey, do you want some jerky?” the answer is almost always, “You bet!”
Many nonhunters tell me that they haven’t eaten much game other than jerky. Most claim to like it. Depending on how you season or marinate the meat prior to drying, duck and goose jerky can taste just like beef jerky. My favorite recipe is a combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors. But before I add any flavor, the sliced meat spends the night in a brine that mellows out the natural flavor and adds a little salt. If you don’t plan on brining first, add a little extra salt or soy sauce to the marinade.
Duck or Goose Jalapeño Lime Jerky
This spirited recipe for jerky has a southwestern flair.
2 pounds (about 4 cups) trimmed and thinly sliced skinless duck or goose breast fillets
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
[Step 1] In a large bowl, combine the brine ingredients and then add the sliced duck or goose breasts. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
[STEP 2] Remove the meat from the brine, rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
[STEP 3] Combine the marinade ingredients in a container made of nonreactive material (such as glass or stainless steel) and then add the sliced meat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
[STEP 4] Drain the meat well. If you’re drying the meat in an oven, arrange it on a rack with a drip pan underneath. If you’re using a smoker or dehydrator, arrange the meat on racks or trays. If possible, place the racks or trays in the refrigerator for several hours to start the drying process.
[STEP 5] If drying in an oven, set it to the lowest temperature below 200 degrees. Prop open the oven door with a foil ball to allow moisture to escape. It will take four to six hours for the meat to be fully dried. In a dehydrator or smoker, set the temperature to 150−155 degrees. In six to eight hours the meat should be dry. If not, keep dehydrating. The jerky is done when it is dried throughout, there is no visible moisture, and the meat is just a tad flexible.
[STEP 6] Cool completely before packaging. Refrigerate for two to three weeks or freeze for up to two years.