I specifically call for Canada goose breasts here because they're the only ones I think are large enough to make this with, although domestic goose breasts will also of course work, if you have them lying around. Ditto for swan or sandhill crane breasts. Could you do it with snow goose or speck breasts? Yeah, but they'll be a lot smaller, and I'd only cure them for 24 hours instead of 24 to 36.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
- 2 skinless Canada goose (or domestic goose breasts
- Kosher salt see recipe notes
- 3 grams Instacure No. 1, good for up to 3 pounds of goose
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed juniper optional
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper plus 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup brandy red wine, vinegar or water
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
Weigh your goose breasts. For every pound of goose, you'll need 10 grams of kosher salt, which is about a tablespoon. It's OK if you are a little off on this measurement. Mix the salt, curing salt, sugar as well as the thyme, celery seed, caraway, juniper and the teaspoon of black pepper and grind them all together in a spice grinder. Pack the goose breasts with this mixture, massaging it into the meat. Put the goose into a closed container in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours.
When you are ready, rinse off the goose and pat it dry. It's fine if you have a little bit of the cure stuck to the meat, but you don't want too much. Put the goose breasts on a rack in the fridge and let them dry uncovered for a day.
Dip the goose into the brandy -- or really any other liquid you want -- and then coat thoroughly in the remaining black pepper and ground coriander seed. I like to grind this myself so the texture is a little coarse, a little fine.
Smoke the goose breasts until the interior hits 140°F, which takes me about 3 hours.
Let the goose pastrami cool and eat as lunch meat, or on crackers or whatever.
A word on the Instacure. The 3 grams I call for will actually be enough to cure up to about 3 pounds of goose meat. A general rule is about 1 1/4 grams of Instacure per pound. Do not use more than I call for, though. You can buy curing salt No. 1 online.
Be careful when you are smoking your goose, as the internal temperature can skyrocket in such small pieces of meat. They'll be ready in 90 minutes in a hot smoker, which to my mind isn't enough time on the smoke. Try to keep your smoker at 200°F or cooler; I like to keep it at 160°F, which lets me smoke the goose for a solid 3 to 4 hours.
What wood? Your choice. I prefer oak, maple or hickory for this, followed by walnut, pecan or cherry.