Being a waterfowler means knowing how to clean ducks and geese

Over the years I have cleaned a few ducks and geese. I have found that the easiest way to clean them is to fillet the breasts. There is very little meat left other than the breast and the return is not worth the investment. True a whole goose does ring with tradition but try cleaning 10 at a time and that will wear off quickly. Here is my method of filleting the breast out, use the same technique for ducks as well. Email me if you need more info or if there is something you are not sure about.

Here's How I Do It

Step 1: Begin by plucking the goose feathers from along the center of the breast. You can use the tip of your finger to locate the breast bone, this is the area you want to remove the feathers from.  Pick the outer feathers and the down feathers, you want the breast as feather free as possible. Pluck an area a couple of inches wide, you will not need a very wide area. Pluck the area from the top of the breast to the bottom of the breast
Step 2: Cut the skin along the path of the breast bone. Follow the breast bone and just cut the skin. This is a very shallow cut and with a sharp knife will take very little pressure. You can spread the skin out with your hand and cut the tight skin, this will make the process much easier. Cut from the top of the breast bone to the bottom. This will expose the breast bone (notice the white ridge in the center of the breast area in the photo on the right)
Step 3: Work your fingers under the skin and the breast. This may take some practice but you will get the hang of it. Once you get the skin loose begin pulling it away from the breast toward the wings. Push the skin as far down as possible. You are merely pulling all the skin away from the breast. Avoid using a knife as this will cut the skin or damage the breast meat. Just peel it away from the breast. At all times try to keep all the feathers off the meat, it will aid in the clean up process
Step 4: Cut along the breast bone down to the rib cage along the entire distance of the breast bone. Stay as close to the breast bone as possible and go to the ribs. Make the cut to the collar bone and down to the lower section of the breast. You will notice the skin falling away from the breast bone.
Step 5: Begin to cut away the breast from the the rib cage. Follow the rib cage and cut the meat away as close to the rib cage as possible. For filleting geese and ducks I use as five inch fillet knife. If the fillet knife is to long it will hinder rather than help. A flexible knife allows you to better follow the rib cage. Cut along the entire length of the rib cage. Pull the breast away cutting at little as possible. Making the cuts long and slow will ensure a better looking breast. Cut along the collar bone at the top of the rib cage.
Step 6: Once the breast is free of the rib cage you will need to cut around the wing joint. Just make a cut around the joint to free the breast from the goose. You will see the wing joint appear as you cut the breast away from the rib cage. Simply follow the contour to release the breast. Do not cut to deep or you will cut through the skin thus allowing feathers to get on the meat
Step 7: Once complete you have a nice clean fillet to process. Repeat the process on the other side of the breast. This method is the fastest and simplest method I have found. If you are cleaning many ducks and geese you can keep the legs for hot wings but other than that there is very little meat left on the bird to use. Try this method for yourself, you will be surprised how easy it is