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How to Smoke Goose

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On Thanksgiving Day, we go Rockwellian with a plump roast turkey. But on Christmas, we embrace a Dickensian theme with a burnished roast goose—the kind Mr. Scrooge provided the Cratchit family after his epiphany in a Christmas Carol. Yes, goose is the traditional roast bird for Christmas, particularly in England.

But it took me a trip to Israel to find a bird that was tender and moist. (Most of the geese I’ve cooked at home have been neither.). The secret lies in brining the goose first, then smoke-roasting it on your grill or smoker. Your chief challenge will be finding a goose. Here are some good sources: schiltzfoods.com, dartagnan.com, and Whole Foods. Your local butcher shop might be able to procure goose for you if you special order it.

So how do the Israelis make that miraculous goose?   If you can’t get to the Auberge Shulamet in Rosh Pina, Israel, read on.


I wager it’s been a while since you’ve seen goose on a restaurant menu, much less at a barbecue joint. But if this dark, rich, fatty bird has been reduced to the role of a nursery tale character in North America, it still enjoys wide popularity among the Israelis—especially those of Eastern European descent. (Until recently, Israel was a major producer and exporter of foie gras—another reason goose is so popular in that country.) So that’s why I’m fighting Friday night traffic from Tel Aviv to Rosh Pina.

My destination? The Auberge Shulamit, a restaurant and inn built in the 1920s in this artist town overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It turns out that Auberge Shulamit founders, Gadi Berkuz and her daughter Lea, learned how to smoke goose, beef, and even eggs (see recipe) over cherry and other woods from a pit master from the American South. If you’ve never tried goose, here’s your opportunity, and if you’ve been disappointed by oven-roasted goose, as I have, this brined, smoked bird will make you a believer.

Israeli Smoked Goose

The Scoop

Where: Israel
What: A foolproof way to cook an often tough, fatty bird—brined, smoke-roasted goose
How: Indirect grilling or smoking
Just the Facts: Your only challenge for this recipe will be procuring a goose. If you live in a town with a large Eastern European or Orthodox Jewish community, you can probably special order it at a butcher shop. One good mail-order source is Schlitz Goose Farms. As an alternative, you can brine and smoke a turkey the same way.

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