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Why did this recipe work?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So the husband is a hunter. Every year he brings me at least 2 deer, a half a dozen geese, and the occassional turkey. Today I pulled out boneless, skinless goose breast to make for dinner. The recipe I used came from Ted Nugent's "Kill it and Grill it". It basically said....take a cup of cider vinegar, add some garlic, pour it over the goose and marinate for 2 hours. Cook over ultra high heat until crispy on both sides. Add chopped onions and celery in the last 2 minutes of cooking, deglaze with a little wine, cover and let rest. Slice and serve. It was fabulous. My questions: (1) Why didn't the vinegar overpower all other flavors (in the end you could barely taste it)? (2) Why didn't the high heat make the meat tougher than shoe leather? Any game chefs out there? Can you help?
post #2 of 12
answer to the first question is that the vinegar reduced. taking away acidity and adding sweetness. this is the basis for Carolina bbq (dear god I love a good boston butt) and balsamic vinegar reductions. it's basically caramelizing the sugars in the vinegars into yummy sweetness.

the second answer is an assumption on my part. Goose breast is thicker with fat then a chicken breast, gonna go out on a limb and say similar to duck(dunno haven't eaten it). the high heat should be searing the breast closed and thus locking fat and moisture inside to then steam the meat to temp. allowing it to rest helped render tissue and fat to make the meat more tender and flavourful as juices had a chance to change back from steam into moisture collected by cells of the meat.

again just my theory on why it worked. sigh, I miss BDL. Maybe Ed or Shroom got some idears.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
The vinegar answer makes sense. Thanks for that. Regarding the high heat, this is boneless, skinless breast so there is virtually no fat. Really weird because the meat got quite hard to the touch while it was cooking making it difficult to tell the level of doneness, but the deglazing/covering/rest seemed to soften it back up. I don't get it.
post #4 of 12
Gunner: Do not confuse wild and domestic fowl. They are totally different in many regards, not the least of which is fat content. Wild birds have very little fat, as compared to domestic, and this is nowhere more evident than with geese.

Why did the recipe work? First off, Singer, while I'll buy the vinegar reduction argument to a certain degree, it's not the whole story. More to the point, seems to me, it's forming a fast glaze to further seal the meat. That, along with the searing, created a crust.

Goose is normally cooked only to the rare, or, at most, medium rare stage. It is treated like beef in that respect. Cooking longer than that results in a tough, leathery, inedible hunk of flesh.

So, working at ultra-high heat like that, you simultaneously sear and glaze the meat. And the instructions to cook only until crispy on both sides assures that you don't overcook it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 12
well I made my disclaimers:p wasn't sure about goose and fat content, as i said have never had it. anyway, i agree with KYH that it was the searing and making of a crust that helped the recipe.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #6 of 12
More on the vinegar. I think the vinegar soak was to cut gaminess as much as anything else. You'll often see game meat soaked in buttermilk or milk for this purpose as well.

I agree with KYH on the high heat. I would have thought there would have been some added fat to protect and moisten the breast but with a short high heat cooking, it wouldn't have had the time to help much.

Otherwise, it's basically a recipe that respects the cut of meat for what it is and treats it fairly simply. Usually the best technique of all.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 12
You're right about that Phil. Many older game cookery books and articles did specify soaking in a buttermilk or vinegar bath for various lenghts of time to remove any gaminess.

Modern game cooks, however, recognize that the secret is proper field care of the game. If you dress, transport, and store a, say, deer, properly, than there shouldn't be any gaminess to begin with.

Just as an aside, I personally get my nose a little out of joint when unknowing folks (many of whom, unfortunately, write cookbooks) pontificate about the gaminess in deer and other wild critters. Last person who said that to me did so around a mouthful of mutton. Now, if you want to talk about gamey, it don't get much gamier than that.

The fact is, of course, that very little wild game tastes gamey, unless it has been mistreated or intentionally made to be so---such as the way the British traditionally hang game and birds until it's high.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your comments. KY - You're obviously a hunter or know one well. I just started cooking game about 4 years ago, but I can say that Greg has never brought home a gamey animal of any kind, so does appear to be all about proper handling. Took me a while to get my head around cooking no more than medium rare (particularly on the birds), but I've got quite a selection of recipes to work with now. This one just puzzled me. Still, it was one of the best goose dishes we've had so I guess I should just go with it. Again, thanks for the help. I hate it when something works (or not) and I don't know why.
post #9 of 12
Yeah, I'm a hunter, Singer. And a game cook. Been collecting and developing game recipes for more than 40 years. In fact, my kids were in their teens before they knew what beef tasted like.

The secret of all game prep is to not overcook it. And to be aware of the lack of fat. Many game recipes, particularly those using fowl and small game, call for additions of bacon or salt pork or the like for that reason. They help keep the meat moist.

The hardest lesson people new to game cooking have learning is that a deer is not a cow, a pheasant is not a chicken, a mallard is not a pekin duck. If you cook them as if they were the same there's a good chance of ruining the game.

Here are a few venison recipes you might like to try: Venison Recipes. Oh, Deer.

I also have many duck and goose recipes and can post some if you want.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 12
Interesting thread - I've had duck cooked well - once. It's awful well done - needs to be nice and pink inside, crispy on the outside. Venison too - its gotta be rare, or at the very most medium rare. But you must have meat that's been well hung, according to the meat. You can more or less get away with beef that's not been aged very long, although that too is much tastier.

That's good info about the vinegar, would never have imagined it. Thanks for that :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #11 of 12
Hanging venison and other game is rather passe' in the United States, DC. Several reasons for this. Among them:

Americans, as a class, dislike the gaminess of hung meat. To them it actually tastes spoiled. Hanging is not the same thing as dry aging in a controlled environment, of course. But few hunters have the facilities for that. The Brtitish, and many others in the former Commonweath, however, still prefer game on the high side---to the point where some hang gamebirds until they turn blue.

Few American hunters butcher their own big game. Instead it's taken to a processor, who immediately butchers, wraps, and freezes it. Most of those who do their own butchering follow similar steps. In other words, the meat is put up fresh. I happen to be one who does do his own butchering. My procedure is to break the deer down, and ice the quarters while I work on them. As each piece is cut, cleaned, and wrapped it is put directly in the freezer. Exceptions are the tenderloins, which are used as an immediate treat that evening. And, of course, the liver, which is usually reserved for breakfast the next day.

One problem with using a processor is that they tend to not remove all the fat and connective tissue because of time constraints. These can cause the meat to taste gamey (almost rancid, in some cases) when it comes out of the freezer. One of the reasons I do my own butchering is to avoid that problem.

Gamebirds and waterfowl do not benefit, particularly, from being hung. Their natural flavors are perfectly fine while fresh. Americans, too, tend to skin their gamebirds and waterfowl, rather than plucking it, and that doesn't lend itself to hanging. Unfortunately it also negates some cooking techniques. Smoking a skinned bird, for instance, is a sure-fire way of drying it out.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 12
Guess it depends what flavours one is used to - its like asking an American to like Vegemite :)

I agree with you that hanging stuff until its blue, or burying it in the yard till it goes wiff (and then forgetting where its been buried and you have to dig up the whole yard), is totally, in a word, YUK. But you would get a lot of people outside the US who would prefer it well hung.

But again, a matter of preference. I had the good luck to learn how to take a turkey from the field to the pot - we bled it for a couple of hours (cold climate),then took it home and roast it. To de-feather it - we used a very mild dishwashing detergent solution in boiling hot water. This really helped to loosen up the feathers and make the plucking easier. Then we rinsed it off in plain boiling water - just plunging it in several times. It didn't affect the taste at all using the detergent. The feathers come out easily then.

As it was free range it needed a bit of help basting wise and a nice juicy stuffing. Turned out pretty well.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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