Ode to Goose

Roasted young goose became my favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dish only a few years ago. And I wrote a very long text about it. This year, I gave my heart to another version of cooking goose — smoke-roasting with Traeger Grill. I tried it once out of curiosity and will never go back to oven-roasting for as long as I have my little Traeger.

Very Simple!

Traeger Grill was my cooking device of the year. I used it for smoking all kinds of proteins — poultry, beef, lamb. Also, I experimented with unusual for this cooking method meat cuts. At first, I followed the cookbook that came with the grill. But the more I used the Traeger, the more I changed the suggested routines to adjust the results to my taste. Most of the time, it was towards simplifying the process.

Smoked Goose Fat

When I switched to Traeger, my only regret was losing the fat. While roasting my goose in the oven, I collected goose fat in a special tray. With Traeger, the goose is supposed to be on a smoking rack, and its fat is dripping to a special collecting tray and then into the bucket — non of them providing an opportunity to keep the fat food grade. I used a Crisper Pan and Cookie Sheet by Copper Chef to successfully collect fat for my two last geese. That was a pro. The con was uneven heat and smoke circulation around the bird. I am yet to decide how to fix that in the future. Probably, it will be a good idea to turn the goose from time to time. 

Smoked Goose | Traeger Grill

Prep Time1 d 45 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Eastern European, European
Keyword: Christmas, goose, holidays, smoked, Thanksgiving, traeger
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 each goose young, frozen

for dry rub

for stuffing

  • 2 each apples Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, large
  • 1 each sweet onions large, or leeks (white part)
  • 1 cup fermented cabbage homemade is the best
  • 1 tsp kosher salt sub with smoked to better taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp herbs dry or fresh, parsley, cilantro, thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic fresh, chopped


  • Start 3-4 days before cooking day. Place vacuum-packed frozen young goose in your fridge to slowly thaw.
  • When the goose is ready to cook, start with preparing the stuffing. Wash, peel, core, and cube apples. Peel and dice onions. Combine all ingredients for stuffing in a bowl.
    Stuffing for smoked goose
  • Prepare all ingredients for the dry rub and combine them in a small bowl. Keep handy a few toothpicks and 2 long pieces of culinary thread.
    Dry rub for smoked goose
  • Remove the packaging from the goose. Remove all items from the cavity — its neck, gizzards, and heart. Rinse the bird with cold running water inside and outside and pat with paper towels to dry. Cut off the end part of the wings. Place the neck, gizzards, heart, and wings in a Ziplock and refrigerate until ready to make a stock.
  • If you see a lot of inner fat close to the tail, remove it and chop it into small pieces. Add 1-2 tbsp of chopped fat to the stuffing. Place the rest in a small saucepan and place over low heat to render. Rendered fat can be stored in a jar refrigerated or frozen and used later for cooking. It's healthy and delicious!
  • Inspect the bird for any feathers. Remove those the processors might have left. Place the goose backside up and tie the wings so they stay close to its body. Turn the bird breast up and stuff the cavity with prepared stuffing. Use toothpicks to thread the skin's edges above the tail and use the culinary thread to connect them, legs, and tail, as shown in the picture.
    Trussed goose for smoking
  • Generously apply dry rub all over the goose, and it is ready for smoking. Preheat the Traeger smoker by placing the dial to SMOKE.
    Goose is ready for smoking
  • Turn the dial to 225F (warm/hot weather) or 250F (cold weather) and place the goose on the smoking rack. Cook it for 6 to 8 hours, depending on the size and weather conditions.
    Smoke-roasting goose | Traeger Grill
  • When the inner temp of the goose is 195-200F, it is ready to serve. It's a good idea to spray it with apple juice/cider/beer/wine of your choice for the last two hours of smoking. My favorite side dish for the smoked goose is sauteed cabbage (fresh and fermented combined) and caramelized onions. I usually top it with fresh herbs, scallions, and a few cranberries.
    Smoked Goose | Traeger Grill


По окончании праздничного ужина, снимаем остатки мяса с костей и остова гуся. Эти кусочки мяса и начинку из гусиного пуза раскладываем в два контейнера. Это еще один ужин на несоклько персон на следующий день. Если их медленно потушить в отдельных сковородках до карамелизации — очень вкусно! Разумеется, остатки можно сипользовать как изысканную начинку для пирогов, блинчиков или вареников.
Кости и остов складываем в 6-литровую кастрюлю. Я использую Instant Pot. Это тот самый момент, когда нужно вспомнить об отложенном зиплоке с обрезанными фалангами крыльев, гусиной шеей, желудочками, и сердцем. (Печень — праздничный ужин для котов!) Все это тоже оправляется в кастрюлю для бульона. Остов следует сломать в несокльких местах, чтобы он компактно поместился. Теперь заливаем все до отметки MAX холодной водой и ставим в режим Meat Stew (120 минут в моем случае) в случае Instant Pot, или просто на маленький огонь на плиту на несколько часов.
Когда ароматный бульон готов, сцеживаем сначала все жидкость и выбрасываем кости, потом снимаем жир с поверхности, потом чистенький бульон храним в контейнерах — в холодильнике для недолгого хранения или в морозилке для долгого. И да, он получается с интригующим копченым ароматом!
Carved Smoked Goose | Traeger Grill
Carved Smoked Goose | Traeger Grill
Serving Smoked Goose
Serving Smoked Goose
Smoked Goose | Traeger Grill