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.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I tried your goose jerky recipe and it is awesome!! I passed it out at work and my local watering hole, there wasn’t a single person that didn’t like it. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Jordan, I got a cheapo Nesco dehydrator on craigslist for $30. It works quite well for me. You might start there. I didn’t know if I was going to continue to use it. And honestly, it works well enough for me that I don’t think I need the expensive variety.

  3. The lowest my oven went to was 170 F and it only took around 3 hours for the thinner pieces to finish, about 4 for the chunkier ones. I let the duck marinate for around 30 hours and the taste is awesome. Eventually im going to invest in a dehydrator.

  4. So happy to have found your website!
    I have a bunch of duck, goose and venison in the freezer and have had a heck of a time getting rid of the ‘gamey’ flavour.
    I took out some goose, duck and deer tonight and plan on making jerkey. I have all the equipment I need to do it….
    One question…. can I omit the sugars? Or use a substitute?

  5. Hey Hank! Thanks for a wealth of helpful, practical information.
    Regarding making wild duck jerky (or other wild game-venison, etc.) using instacure (adding nitrates/nitrites), you mentioned only that you like the color and that it is a “food safety thing”. I’m trying to avoid using it, but how much danger is there really without it, and what might I contract…? not much information out there about specific health risks! Thanks in advance for any input.

    1. Paul: There is a chance of picking up botulism if you don’t have it — and you smoke the jerky at low temperatures. Basically you created an anaerobic environment with the smoke, and until the meat hits 140F internal, you are at risk. In other cases, if you don’t use it and dry the jerky improperly, you can pick up nasties like listeria. It is not common, but it can happen.

  6. This has become my go-to recipe for geese and practically any other red meat, including deer, elk and beef. I add a little of my favorite hot sauce just because I like my jerky a bit spicy.

  7. So I made the recipe really liked it. Few things I am going to change for next time is no liquid smoke and just smoke it with apple chips and also add some ginger either fresh or the powder to the recipe.

    But for now this recipe was the win I needed to stop buying jerky and making my own Thank you.

  8. Grayson perhaps the duck meat you have cooked and are referring to as “terrible” is actually bcs it has a gamey taste. Most all ducks have a gamey taste, some people hate it and others enjoy it. One tip to take the gamey taste out of any wild game is to soak it in salt water. The salt water pulls out the blood in the meat which is the root of the gamey taste.

  9. Hello Hank,

    This recipe looks delicious! Ive always dehydrated my jerky at 145 for however many hours needed until just right. But while doing some browsing, I read to first cook the (whole cuts) jerky in the oven first at 175 degrees for 1 hour to bring the internal temp to 160. And then to transfer to the dehydrator for the remaining time at 145 degrees.

    Just curious your thoughts on this. I understand the safety reasons behind this, but just wondering if you ever worry about 160 degrees, or is 145 plenty. I am preparing venison and goose jerky.

    Thank for your time and I enjoy your website!

  10. I don’t know if there’s a difference between the ducks that you cook and the ones that I do but every duck that I have ever attempted to cook has turned out to taste terrible. Usually they are mallards, woodies, and gadwall and I’ve tried both with skin and without. Am I doing something wrong or is it possible that the ducks just taste bad?

    1. Grayson: It might be you just don’t like duck. Wood ducks are never bad, no matter where you are. Remember, breast meat should be cooked like steak, legs and wings like a brisket, e.g., slow and low.

  11. This looks amazing! I have a craft jerky site at 4seasonsjerky and currently offer beef and turkey. I gotta add in a similar flavor like this one! I’m hungry just thinking about it. lol

  12. What would be your recommendation for doing this in a wood fired/charcoal smoker. I have about 15-20 lbs of goose meat and I want to make Jerky. I’ve never done goose or duck jerky and I do not have a dehydrator. Please any input would help. Thank you

    1. Dan: Keep it as cool as possible and check in on it every few hours. It’ll work, but the drying process will be slower.