*Goose butchery pictures after the jump. Not too gory but YMMV*

I hope the formatting works...

I thought people might be interested in a quick-and-dirty guide to getting food from "alive" to "tasty". I didn't have a clue when I first started, and I have had no official tutoring, but it's really pretty simple. It's also easier to practice this on a grocery store chicken first, so you don't have to battle feathers.

A few points:

This is a Canada goose, which over here is fair game any time of year. The biro is to give an idea of size.


I only take the breasts off because I have nowhere clean-but-outdoors to get in a mess with plucking etc, plus the legs and wings are so tiny they're hardly worth it. The meat is very beef-like.

Feathers stick to anything damp - which includes the meat and your fingers.

I prefer a small knife so I know where the pointy end is, I'm often cutting "blind". I'm also stroking the knife along long, sweeping cuts rather than hacking and stabbing.


Now then.

Clear your table, and lay out your goose on its back. I kept the black bag under its bum because I don't need to go down that end and I don't really want goose poo on my table.


Now we're going to make a long slit in the skin down the middle. Try and find what would be our collarbone; or simply start in the very middle and extend the cut in both directions. Try not to stab into the breast and certainly don't open up the stomach area. I find it easiest to feel through the feathers and lift the skin away from the muscle as I cut it. The pictures are now being shown from the side, btw.


Keep peeling back the skin until you can see both breasts. It might be easier to cut the skin flaps off entirely. But I didn't. On a younger bird the skin should peel easily, but this one needed some help.

Here you can see my index finger at the windpipe, and to the right of the picture you can see a vertical line of cream-coloured fat that marks the end of the breast. Don't take your knife further than that point, else we start spilling guts and contamination everywhere.


See the central line? Where our breast bone would be? A bird's breastbone is called the keel, and it sticks out from the ribcage. We need to cut the meat away from this sticky-outy bit, then when we get to the ribcage we angle the cuts so we peel the meat away from the bones without going through. It's easy to show but hard to explain!

In this photo, I have cut down the side of the keel and am now cutting the meat away from the ribs.


You will naturally find the bottom of the ribcage (to the right of these photos). Keep the angle of the knife such that you won't stab into the abdomen by mistake, and keep cutting the bottom of the breast. You want to peel the whole muscle back up towards the head, like turning a page in a book. The cream area in this photo is the skin of the back of the bird.


I haven't found a neat way to detach the breast from the shoulder area, so I just cut. You can always go back and cut any extra bits from the carcass. Note the hole from the shot; when you slice the breast later feel carefully for any bits of shot and broken bone. Remove what you can and cut away any meat you can't clean up.

Repeat for the other breast. See the silvery membranes? They will probably make the meat tough, so I'm going to dice the breasts and stick them in some kind of stew. On the top right of the chopping board are the scraps with shrapnel in.


Et voila! Tune in next time for the actual cooking.