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Barbellycoa tacos add Latin flavor to waterfowl

BY Wil Hafner

ON 01-19-2022


Jan. 19, 2022

Wil Hafner

East Central Regional Educator

STUTTGART — Greater White-fronted geese (AKA Specklebelly or Barbelly) are highly sought by waterfowl hunters because they are relatively easy to decoy, respond to calls, and provide table fare second only to sandhill crane in the waterfowling world. Although it is hard to beat a perfectly seared specklebelly breast, Arkansas’s long goose season provides ample opportunity to try various recipes, and who doesn’t love taco Tuesday? This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe popularized by one of my icons in the wild game culinary world, Hank Shaw. His venison barbacoa recipe is an excellent base for many types of wild game. Barbellycoa incorporates the use of a slow cooker, making this a “set it and forget it” meal that will be ready after a morning in the blind or a long day at work. Since it is cooked low and slow, this also is a great recipe to use the often overlooked legs and thighs of the geese you harvest.

2 Specklebelly geese, boneless skinless breast, legs and thighs
4 oz.  chipotles in adobo sauce, canned
2 small red onions, chopped (reserve 1 for garnish)
5 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon    coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups    chicken stock
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup apple cider vinegar
10  corn tortillas
1 cup Cotija cheese
1 bunch cilantro
½ cup    salsa verde
1 avocado, sliced (garnish)


Generously season breast, thighs and legs with ground cloves, paprika, cumin, black pepper, salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Place goose in a slow cooker and add 1 red onion, minced garlic, chipotles, bay leaves, chicken stock, lime juice and vinegar. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours or high for 4. Once meat is tender, remove leg and thigh bones, shred all meat with a fork and return to the cooker. Warm corn tortillas in a skillet. Top each tortilla with a helping of meat and garnish with Cotija cheese, cilantro, salsa verde and avocado. Best served with rice and beans.


Specklebelly goose hunt

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