This recipe is not for a grocery store goose or duck. Cooking a wild-caught goose or duck is quite different from a farm-raised store bird. My son-in-law asked me to cook the goose he got during hunting season. It is a great way to reward the hunter with a delightful dinner. My son-in-law said it was the best goose he had ever eaten and he comes from a family that eats mostly wild game from hunting and fishing trips.


Recipe Summary

3 hrs
25 mins
4 hrs 10 mins
45 mins
10 servings


Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  • Rinse and pat goose dry. Place cold butter in a large bowl and add cranberries, raisins, orange, onion, apple, sage, tarragon, basil, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands until you have a large ball of butter and fruit.

  • Stuff the ball of butter into the body cavity of the goose. Close cavity and tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Sew cavity shut to protect flavor and moisture, if desired.

  • Place 2 large layers of foil on a work surface. Make a bed of bacon slices in the center of the foil by placing 4 or 5 slices side by side. Lay goose on top, breast-side up. Cover breast and legs with remaining bacon. Bring foil up and fold, sealing in the bird, leaving small space around the bird for air circulation. Place foil-covered bird into a roasting pan.

  • Roast in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 3 to 4 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the largest part of the thigh should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).

  • Remove from the oven, leave the bird breast-side down, and let rest for 15 minutes. Turn the bird breast-side up and let rest for 10 minutes. Open foil pouch very carefully, as there will be a lot of steam. Remove and discard all stuffing and transfer bird to a serving platter. Slice, carve, and serve, or serve whole and carve at the table.

Cook's Notes:

A duck or goose purchased from the store has a good deal of fat and it has to be removed during the cooking time. Wild geese and ducks fly great distances and there is very little fat on a wild bird. Extra fat has to be added to ensure a moist and tender bird.

The liquid that's cooked from the bird can be made into a gravy by thickening with a cornstarch or flour and milk roux.

You can use margarine instead of butter, and any flavor of bacon that you prefer. Use 1 tablespoon total dried herbs of your choice. You can use 2 to 3 cups total of any fresh and dried fruit that you'd like for this. If the body cavity is not full, finish with more fruit.

You can roast the bird in an oven that's preheated anywhere between 325 to 350 degrees F (165 to 175 C), for 15 to 20 minutes per pound. If the bird does not test done after initial roasting time, return to the oven and recheck every 10 minutes until cooked through.

Nutrition Facts

871 calories; protein 53.5g; carbohydrates 15.2g; fat 65.7g; cholesterol 235.2mg; sodium 623.3mg. Full Nutrition