Brine Method for Goose

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Yields: 1 Goose

Brining is a pretreatment in which the turkey is placed in a salt water solution known as brine. This produces a moist and well-seasoned bird. Normally, meat loses about 30 percent of its weight during cooking, but if you brine the meat first, you can reduce the moisture loss to as little as 15 percent. Additionally, brining enhances juiciness. The muscle fibers absorb the flavored liquid during the brining period. Some of this liquid will get lost during cooking, but since the meat is in a sense more juicy at the start of cooking, it ends up much juicier and flavorful. I recommend brining in a 5-gallon bucket with lid or Igloo water cooler. You may also place the bird in a small ice chest, breast down, covering with the brine. If using the Igloo or ice chest method, chill the brine to approximately 40 degrees F, and then add 5-6 ice packs to maintain temperature. A smaller bird works best when brining.


1 (8-10 pound) goose
1 cup kosher or table salt
1 gallon water
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
4 bay leaves, crushed
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried sage
2 tbsps granulated garlic
2 tbsps black pepper
1 (7-pound) bag ice


Use a fresh goose or other bird, completely thawed. NOTE: Check label to ensure that bird has not been pre-injected with salt or other flavorings otherwise it will be overseasoned. Wash bird completely, removing giblets and neck. In a large stockpot, dissolve salt in 1 gallon water. Add honey and brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Add bay leaves, thyme, basil, sage, granulated garlic and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes to bring out flavors. Remove from heat and set aside. Place ice in a 5-gallon plastic bucket with lid. Pour brine over ice and stir until completely cooled. Place goose, breast side down, into brining solution. Cover and place in bottom of refrigerator. Chill 4-8 hours. Remove goose from brine, rinse well inside and out under cold running water. Completely dry bird using kitchen or paper towels. This step allows skin to become crisp during roasting. When ready to cook, see John's Roasted Christmas Goose recipe (see recipe).