Adventurous carnivores won’t just settle for regular ‘ol turkey this holiday season, so why not try this incredible charcoal roasted goose recipe?
Unlike it’s milder poultry counterparts of chicken and turkey, goose has a pronounced flavor and is all dark meat. Most often, it is compared to beef, rather than chicken in both flavor and behavior during cooking. Once you complete a few basic prep steps, it’s not at all difficult to cook goose. But the biggest reason to choose goose for your holiday table is the fat. As lard is to pork, and tallow is to beef, surely schmaltz is to poultry. Goose fat or schmaltz is the Rolls Royce of all animal fats, and will impart incredible flavor on anything it touches.
In this case, it will touch potatoes. And you will love them. In fact, there’s so much fat on the goose, you can (and should) remove the larger deposits that are around the cavity, which can be easily torn off and rendered. I keep this rendered fat in a mason jar in my refrigerator and consider it a secret weapon in the war on blandness.
I chose to use a grill rotisserie for this recipe, because it helps cook the bird evenly while still allowing it to absorb the char-grilled scents. In this case, I kicked it up a notch by using Kingsford Cherrywood charcoal. It’s made using real chips of cherrywood, so you get a light fruity smoke overtone in addition to the charcoal, and it pairs perfectly with poultry. The rotisserie also works great because it leaves enough room to perfectly nestle a pan of potatoes to strategically catch all of the delicious drippings.
If you don’t have a rotisserie, not to worry! You can recreate this recipe on your grill using the two-zone method. Simply light your coals and pile them to one side of your grill – that is now your hot zone, and the side without the coals is the cool zone. In this case, you would cook your goose entirely on the cool side of the grill, so it can gently roast while soaking up all the subtle charcoal and cherrywood notes. You might want to turn it midway through the cook so it develops color evenly.
Embden goose is the most commonly raised domestic variety, though you could of course use wild Canadian, Snow or Specklebellies. And while we usually look for huge turkeys to grace our tables, the medium or smaller geese are far more tender, so I recommend keeping it about 10lb. You can order goose online or your local specialty food/meat market can order it in for you, just remember it may take up to two weeks.
Finally, it is worth noting that the recipe below calls for the goose to be cooked to 165f, which is USDA’s advised safe temperature and how you 100% avoid making any of your guests ill these holidays (which is obviously a positive). However, goose is much like duck with dark breast meat that overcooks easily. Chef types and foodie folk will tell you that it should remain pink when cooked correctly. I personally prefer to take mine to 145f, which is somewhere between super danger zone and overdone. You are free to make your own choice, now that you have all the info! I use a this thermometer to make sure I’m in the right zone.
Heat a small amount of the water and dissolve the sugar and salt. Allow to cool and then add this mix into the rest of the water, along with the cloves and allspice berries. Remove giblets/neck from cavity of the bird, and rinse with cold water. Immerse the goose completely in the solution, and place into the fridge to brine overnight, at least 12 hours.
Remove the goose from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Discard the brine. Use a small sharp knife to pierce the skin, particularly where the largest fat deposits are. Make several of these tiny slits over the whole bird, making sure not to cut into the meat itself.
Prepare your grill for rotisserie grilling. Start by lighting the Kingsford charcoal in a large chimney, and once lit distribute the hot coals in two main piles, leaving a space in the middle. Your bird will cook in this empty middle space, so the coals should be radiant from either side, but not directly underneath it.
Place the lemon and onion inside the bird’s cavity, then use butchers twine to truss together the legs. I also secure another three pieces of twine across the bird, two to hold the large wings tight to the body and another to help hold the lemon and onions inside the cavity. Trim excess twine. Season the entire bird liberally with Hardcore Carnivore Red on both sides. Insert the rotisserie rod through the cavity then secure the bird using the forks that should come with the rotisserie unit. Position the goose on the rotisserie, and place the foil pan directly under the goose between the two coal piles to catch drippings (and prevent a grease fire!).
As the bird starts to cook, fill a large pot with water, and bring to the boil. Add a generous amount of salt, then the potato chunks. Par-boil until you can just insert the tip of a knife with little resistance. Drain the potatoes, pull out the drip pan from beneath the goose and shake the potatoes, tossing them lightly to coat them in fat. Push the foil pan back underneath the goose – this will finish cooking the potatoes the rest of the way.
You will need to re-stock the coal piles every 45 minutes or so to keep the heat up. Just scatter 8-10 new briquettes on top of each pile, and they will slowly catch. The goose should take around 2 hours all up, but it’s important (for food safety) to use an instant read thermometer to check the exact temperature so you know when it’s ready. The bird is ready when it is 165f degrees measured at the thickest part of the thigh. *OPTION* You can add a few small sticks of wood on top of the coals to boost the smokey profile even further.
During the cook, if you feel the skin is browning too much or too quickly, simply push the coal piles farther away from the goose. If not enough, push them a little closer.
When the bird reaches temperature, you can carefully remove it from the rotisserie, then serve alongside the goose fat potatoes.
Keywords: holiday, goose
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