Wild Duck Jerky or Goose Jerky

4.91 from 30 votes
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Finished duck jerky recipe in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Who doesn’t love jerky? I mean, really. It is a staple in the duck blind, and goose or duck jerky is a perfect use for “off” ducks like spoonies, fishy divers or snow geese. Once the fat is removed, there’s no fishy flavor.

But there is jerky and there is jerky. Some people run their meat through the grinder and use a “jerky gun.” This is fine, but it is not traditional jerky, which is always whole cuts of meat. Thickness is up to you.

Really thick slices need long drying times and result in a very hard product. If you’ve ever heard of biltong in Africa, that’s what this is. I ate lots of biltong when I was in Zimbabwe and South Africa in the 1990s, and I’ve developed a taste for thick jerky. But you can cut yours thin if you’d like.

This recipe makes a jerky that is dry enough to store at room temperature — although the fridge is best for really long storage — but pliable enough to keep it meaty.

What follows are my flavorings: As long as you keep the ratio of meat to water to Worcestershire sauce to salt the same, you can vary the other flavors. You need enough salt to draw out moisture and help with preservation, and the Worcestershire sauce adds both extra salt and vinegar, which is also a good preservative.

I designed this recipe for a dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, set your oven to “warm” and put the meat on a wire rack set above a rimmed cookie sheet; the sheet catches any drippings. I also leave the oven door ajar for air circulation.

The porcini powder in this recipe is made by grinding dried porcini in a coffee grinder. You can buy dried porcini in most supermarkets. Or you can skip it.

As for the meat, while it is a duck jerky recipe, it will also work with any skinless goose breast, or with venison, elk, antelope, goat, lamb or beef.

duck jerky recipe
4.91 from 30 votes

Goose or Duck Jerky

This jerky recipe is one I like a lot, but use it as a guide, not dogma. If you want to play with flavors, go for it. Just don't mess around with the ratios of salt, and be sure to let it marinate for at least 24 hours, and up to 3 days. I always use curing salt No. 1 for my jerky, as I like the rosy, hammy effect it produces -- and it's a food safety thing when you dry at lower temperatures. 
Course: Cured Meat, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes


  • 3 pounds skinless, de-fatted duck or goose breast
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Instacure No. 1 (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon porcini powder (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar


  • Slice the duck breasts into roughly 1/4 inch thick strips. Mix remaining ingredients well in a large bowl. Put the meat into the marinade and massage it all around to coat evenly. Pour everything into a seal-able plastic bag or container and set in the fridge. Marinate for at least 24 and up to 72 hours -- the longer it is in the mix, the saltier the meat will get, but the more flavorful it will be. During the marinating process, massage the meat around in the bag to keep all the pieces in contact with the marinade.
  • Remove the duck from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Either follow your dehydrator's instructions for making jerky (I dehydrate mine at 140°F), or lay the strips on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Set the rack in an oven set on Warm until the meat is dried out, but still pliable, about 6 to 8 hours. Store either in the fridge indefinitely, or at room temperature for up to 1 month.


If you are interested in another flavor of jerky, try my chipotle jerky with duck instead of venison.


Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1588mg | Potassium: 401mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

4.91 from 30 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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  1. Question – never done jerky before but love the taste. Is it possible to do ground goose breast jerky. Looking at getting a meat grinder and dehydrator and snow goose season is just around the corner.

  2. Goose jerky very good, did it in the oven without cure.after 3 1/2 hr put temp to 275 deg. for 1/2 hr. Internal temp was 165 deg.
    I will be making more!?

  3. Though this was posted quite some time ago and an old favorite. Thought to share a most important tip to any who come across this great recipe. For All, repeat all , duck and goose jerky recipes remove all their fat and silver skin, soak , drain, soak drain repeat in the coldest good tap water available, till it drains clear. Cant help you if your water is bad. Be thorough with your prep, it pays off……!

  4. Hi Hank, on the food safety front I’ve read on USDA, etc that bringing ‘poultry’ temps up to 165° (ideally before, or failing that after dehydration) is a best practice so to speak…with the addition of curing salt being the ‘safest’ option.

    Curious if you have any take on this as I’m considering a post-marinade sous vide bath to 165° before dehydrating – but unsure if it’s really necessary or any downsides on texture etc.

    I don’t follow USDA guidelines religiously (especially target temps!) but it’s my first try at a cured / shelf stable product like duck jerky.

    BIG FAN of your books, your work, and all things HAGC…many thanks in advance!

  5. Hank,
    I love your recipes. Recently tried a batch of goose jerky. Last seasons breasts, cleaned and trimmed, only had time for 18hr marinade, 5 hours in the smoker @ 175-200°F over hickory but they came out very “fishy”. Smells like i made tuna jerky. Any idea where I went wrong? Thanks

    1. Cody: It’s the goose. If the meat was fishy, the jerky will be fishy. Nothing in the marinade would make it fishy at all. Unless you recently smoked fish in that smoker?

      1. No fish in that smoker. That makes sense though. The marinade smelled amazing but the goose meat alone was fairly strong smelling compared to what it normally is now that I’m thinking of it. Thanks for the reply Hank! Looking forward to trying this again more of your game recipes!

  6. Any advice on cooking it in a smoker? I’ve tried a few different recipes to turn my snow goose breasts into jerky, but havent landed one that I would go back to

    1. Devin: Yes. I’d smoke it low and slow, like about 185F to 200F on full smoke (wood choice is up to you, but fruit woods are great), until the pieces are leathery. This could be 2 hours or 6. Check after an hour.

  7. I love this recipe and make it frequently. I did add more brown sugar and 2 T Maple Syrup this last time and we loved that too.

  8. Hey just curious what temp I want? Would if be similar lenght of time ? If I put the Jerky in a bradley smoker for drying.

    1. Gary: Something like 180F would work in a smoker, or even lower. Time all depends. Start checking the jerky after about an hour, and then every hour after.

  9. Hi Hank! Just made your goose jerky and I’m so ready to try it but I didn’t use the InstaCure and I’m worried about foodborne illnesses like botulism! Am I overreacting? Used my oven for one batch (200 deg for 1 hour, then 160 for 5 hours) and a dehydrator for a second batch (160 deg for ~8 hours). I am reading all sorts of opinions about how to properly dry it- can you tell me if this is something I should be worried about with your recipe?

    1. Morgan: Nope, you should be fine with what you did. The instacure really gets necessary when you are creating an anaerobic environment that is below 240F, like in a smoker. Botch needs that anaerobic environment to thrive, and you did not give it that. So it should not be an issue.

      1. Hank, I’m looking forward to trying your recipe. In your reply, you said “an anaerobic environment that that is below 240F”. Is that correct? I never take mine up to that temp, it’s almost cooking it in my mind and to my taste. Did you mean a lower temp? Thanks!

      2. Brian: yes, lower. The lower temps with a lack of oxygen can create an environment where botulism thrives. It’s rare, but not impossible. So using the curing salt helps with food safety.

  10. Hey Hank,
    Could you add liquid smoke to this for putting it in the dehydrator to have some smoke flavor? If so how much would you add?

    1. Logan: Yes, but I do it another way: I use smoked salt instead. Not sure how much liquid smoke you’d use.

  11. I did a batch made up of a variety of North Dakota puddlers and divers. While I am generally enjoying my way through it, I’m finding it’s a bit like a game of Russian Roulette. Most bites are good, others still have, well, your traditional ducky flavor. I marinated for 48 hrs, next time I’ll go longer and will be meticulous about removing all bits of fat and silver skin. Might also save the divers for bacon and jalepenos on the grill. This recipe would be great for geese.

    1. Nick: I think the fishy bites are from the divers. Yeah, getting every scrap of their fat off helps a ton. Even spoonies make good jerky of you do that.

  12. I made this minus the porcini powder(didn’t have) with Maple Leaf Farm duck breasts- this was awesome. i really liked the 3 day marinade.

    Now I’d like to try with a grocery store turkey breast, but the instructions say if I want to marinate it, to reduce the amount of salt in my recipe by half, because they injected it with a salt brine.

    Do you think this is safe to do? I don’t have access to people who will hunt birds for me, which is a shame.

    1. Krista: You should be fine. But it’s trial and error in terms of how much salt to use. Too little salt will still make a decent jerky, but it won’t keep as long and it might be over or under salted. I can’t tell you exactly how much to use, so it will be an experiment.

  13. Hi Hank,

    Much love for all you do to help us wild game eaters make the most out of everything we harvest!

    Can you also use a smoker to dry the meat with this recipe? Does it change the salt or does everything stay the same?

  14. I never tried to make beef jerky and I want to make it tommorrow and use your recipe, can you tell me for sure the safe temperature and how to make it with my dehydrator that only allows the temperature to go up to 70C?
    Thank you!

    1. Valentin: You’re fine. Remember we use Fahrenheit in the United States. Set your dehydrator to 60 Celsius.

  15. Used a bunch of snow goose breasts for this and it is absolutely delicious. I like this in a little dryer than the venison recipe. Had it in the sauce for three days prior to the dehydrator and it’s fairly salty – but really good. Followed the recipe exactly but substituted hot hatch Chile powder for the mushroom powder. Has a nice bit of heat…

  16. Hi Hank,

    Any chance you have any recipes available for ground jerky? I’m looking to make some up with a bunch of snow goose we harvested this past fall. Thanks for all you do!