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Just in Time for Waterfowl Season: Delicious Snow Goose Recipes—Really!

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
Hunters live by an unwritten code that dictates they eat what they harvest, but even the most ethical of hunters make an exception for snow goose.

As table fare, snow goose gets less respect than Rodney Dangerfield. Some waterfowlers call them “sky carp”, but others say that’s an insult to carp. Outdoor writers have described them as “lutefisk with feathers”, “an over-cooked catcher’s mitt” and “an old pair of waders”.

Whatever you call them, most hunters agree that snow goose is hard to swallow.

“Not true,” says Delta Waterfowl President Rob Olson, who in the current issue of Delta magazine revealed four snow goose recipes he swears will have even the most finicky eaters lined up for seconds.

Olson says the inspiration to write the article came from a phone conversation with a hunting companion. “I described how we were going to cook snow goose four different ways on an upcoming hunt,” he recalls. “He said, ‘I didn’t know there was one good way to cook a snow goose!’

“Like most snow-goose haters, he’d never eaten one done right. We fixed my favorite recipes, and everyone agreed it was the best snow goose—in fact, the best waterfowl—they’d ever eaten.”

Olson made his point again during a recent Delta Waterfowl staff meeting at historic Kirchhoffer Lodge in Manitoba’s Delta Marsh, preparing several of his favorite snow goose recipes, including his signature dish, “tastes-like-ribs barbeque goose legs”.

“There were no leftovers,” he proudly pointed out.

If Olson is emphatic about the importance of hunters eating what they harvest, it’s with good reason. “In our efforts to defend hunting, Delta has begun polling non-hunters about how they perceive us,” he wrote. “Non-hunters are the vast voting majority, so their opinion will decide the fate of hunting.

“Survey after survey says that most citizens will only support us if we’re eating what we shoot. That’s why we feature the Camp Chef column in every magazine—we want to share great waterfowl recipes with our members.”

There’s never been a better time to put a few snow and blue geese—a different color phase of the same species—in the freezer. The light goose population soared from its historic average of 1.5 million birds to an estimated 5 or 6 million today. Snow geese are so abundant they threaten to destroy their fragile arctic breeding grounds by literally eating themselves out of house and home.

In an attempt to reduce the burgeoning population of light geese, a spring “conservation season” was established in 1999. That effort has been somewhat inhibited by the incredible wariness of mature birds and by the reluctance of some hunters to pursue a species they won’t eat.

One way to sidestep the moral conflict is by breasting the birds and having the meat made into spicy salami rolls, sausage or jerky by a commercial processor. While Olson endorses anything that results in hunters utilizing the meat, he says breasting snow geese wastes the legs and thighs, which he calls the most delicious parts of the bird.

Anyone who’s ever eaten Rob’s “tastes-like-ribs barbeque goose legs” would agree.

“This is so easy and good, you’ve just got to try it,” Olson told readers of Delta’s Camp Chef column.

The recipe calls for boiling a large pot of water and stirring in two packages of dry onion soup mix. Add 20 goose legs/thighs, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

“Watch the meat closely because you don’t want it to fall off the bones,” he cautions. “Once the meat is done, simply pop the legs on the grill and slather lots of good barbeque sauce on them. I promise you cannot make enough of these,” he says.

Another quick-and-easy recipe from the Olson collection is “goose fingers”. He suggests that when hunters breast their birds, they remove the tenderloin next to the breast bone. “Simply dust these strips in seasoned flour and fry in oil or butter,” he says. “Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce—sweet chili or plum and hot mustard is a terrific combination,” he says.

Other sure-to-please recipes include goose chili, goose carpaccio and teriyaki goose kebabs. For the record, these recipes work equally well with Canada goose and duck.

Hunters interested in finding these and other waterfowl recipes can visit www.deltawaterfowl.org