What’s Good for the Goose

Written by: Simon Perkins

Canada 1
Canada geese are beautiful and—if you cook them right—make great table fare.

Photo by John Bennett

Several weeks ago, I was driving with a client to an upland bird lease in central Montana. Halfway through the drive, we watched out the passenger window as several hundred mallards lifted out of a pond and rose into the sky in front of us. The conversation quickly turned to decoy spreads, calling techniques, and duck recipes. The flock turned south and beyond them we noticed a V of Canada geese heading in the same direction.

“Uuugghh,” my client said.  “Speaking of recipes, the best recipe for geese is to breast them out, boil the breasts in a giant pot with two rocks for five hours, then drain the water, throw out the breasts, and eat the rocks!”

Throughout my waterfowl travels, experiences, and conversations, I have found that a large majority of hunters share this opinion.  I know I did. I actually stopped hunting geese when I was younger, often passing up shots while in the duck blind, because I had zero interest in eating them. That is, until I met Kim Montgomery.

Kim is a family friend whom I met while I was at Middlebury College in Vermont. At that point, my schedule in late autumn consisted of classes, homework, soccer practices, games, and some “extracurricular social events.” Kim was very generous with his time, always offering to take me to his duck blind on Lake Champlain whenever I could squeeze it in. I was grateful for his companionship and mentorship in the blind, and I had an open invitation to escape campus on any given evening if I ever wanted to enjoy a game dinner at his house.

It was during one of these dinners that Kim and his wife introduced me to a goose recipe that changed my life. Not only was the recipe delicious, but it was easy, even for a college bachelor. I resumed hunting honkers, and often cooked goose dinners for my roommates. They all loved it, even the non-game eaters.

My senior year, the recipe passed the ultimate test. After some serious trash talking with my uncle one night over dinner, he challenged me to a “goose-off.” We went out together one morning, lay in the grass with some decoys, and ended up bringing back two Canadas. A collection of family and friends assembled for dinner three days later to serve as judges. My uncle had been prepping his bird for the previous two days with a complicated concoction of who-knows-what. Mine needed only two hours. The meat went straight from the grill to the judges’ plates. I would have won a unanimous decision, except my uncle’s wife refused to admit that her husband lost. (She insisted that it was a dead-even tie, although she conceded that my goose required much less preparation.)

For those of you looking to justify getting back into the goose hunting game, here is Kim Montgomery’s famous goose recipe:

1. Breast out the goose, and marinate the breasts in Newman’s Own Caesar salad dressing for 2-3 hours.

2. Get your grill as hot as possible.

3. Grill the breasts on high heat. Make sure you do not overcook the meat. Ideally, you want the breasts to look like a London Broil—almost charred on the outside and pink/rare on the inside.

4. Slice the breasts as thin as possible and serve immediately after taking off the grill. (Resting the meat for too long will cause the breasts to overcook.) If cooked properly, the goose should melt in your mouth!

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