It’s been a long time since I had goose of any sort. I’ve had lots of chicken, a good amount of turkey and some duck now and then. Even a bit of pheasant and/or quail. This year, it seemed a good time to bring out the Christmas goose again!
People have odd reactions to goose (the bird, not the grab). Maybe the most common is they heard it will be greasy. Some just think it sounds gross. They’ll eat turkey or chicken, but a goose? No way… I don’t get that. It’s just another big bird. It’s actually easier to fix than turkey. The tricky part is that there is a thick layer of fat on the goose that needs to be able to drip off while cooking. To let this happen, I took sharp toothpicks and poked holes through the skin (not the meat) about 1/2″ apart. Then I mixed up a rub of sorts with thyme, basil (both dried), salt and pepper, and seasoned the bird on the skin as well as in the cavity. Oh, make sure the offal and neck are removed from the cavity!
The goose should rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. While it was resting, I started up the Big Green Egg with some charcoal and pecan wood and got it heated up to about 300F. In an aluminum foil pan, I rolled up a couple of foil “snakes” to keep the goose off the bottom of the pan, and I added the offal and neck; this allows the juices to be used later for gravy. Using the rolled up foil meant I didn’t need to use a V-rack,and it worked great! Make sure that all the extra fat in the cavity is removed; I put this in a sauce pan to simmer for a couple of hours to render all the fat that I could, then poured the liquid fat into a canning jar for later use. I got about a cup of fat from this.
I planned about 3 hours for cooking, with a 30 minute rest. This turned out to about right, too. I removed the bird from the aluminum foil pan, then poured all the liquid (there’s a lot!) into a fat separator and let it settle for a while before pouring out the fat into another canning jar. I got about a pint of smoked goose fat from this, also saved for future use. The non-fat part of the liquid went into a sauce pan with some flour to whisk it into something of a roux, then I added beef-flavored Better Than Bullion and about 2 cups of water to make a gravy. This sis a rich gravy, so a little goes a long way!
Goose is carved the same way that turkey is, though there’s less meat. There’s more connective tissue, and the meat is much more like red meat than typical birds like chicken or turkey. I just sliced it thin, and served it with some au gratin potatoes cooked on the grill after the goose was done, along with the traditional green bean casserole (see Livefire Thanksgiving Blitz Day 4). I also cooked a couple of Cornish hens; my wife wasn’t interested in the goose, so I fixed them just to give other people an option. They turned out really great, too!
The goose was really great. It’s not hard to do, so don’t be intimidated. It’s a bit expensive, but worth the splurge now and then, especially to make sure you’ve had, at least once, Christmas goose!
- 1 10 pound goose, fresh or thawed
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat grill with pecan wood (or wood of your choice) to 300F.
- Poke holes with a large needle or sharp toothpick all over the goose skin, about ½ inch apart, being careful to pierce only the skin, not the meat by piercing at an angle.
- Mix the seasonings in a bowl and spread evening over the bird, ensuring that the cavity is also well-seasoned.
- Place the offal and neck in a large roasting pan.
- Place the bird on a V-rack and place that in the roasting pan.
- Roast for about 3 hours, until the internal temperature is about 165 (this isn't as critical as with turkey, though), then let the goose rest for 30 minutes before carving and serving.