Gourmet Swan Meat Burgers

Introduction: Gourmet Swan Meat Burgers

Turn the meat from wild swan into delicious burgers.

Recently I had the opportunity to go hunting and I managed to shoot a swan, if you find this offensive please do not read on.

Searching for recipes for swan meat on the web prove fruitless the only thing I did find was plenty off opinion that swan is tough, grisily mud flavoured meat that is nearly inedible. This is certainly not true. I thought I'd give it a go anyway as I believe if you kill something you should use as much of it as possible. Killing anything just for the fun of it is blood lust.

Firstly I'm going to assume you have LEGALLY obtained some swan meat. In New Zealand where I'm posting this from it is legal to shoot 1 swan per day in most parts of the country during duck hunting season. ALWAYS check with local authorities before blowing the S?#t out of anything. I'm sure they are protected in some parts of the world.

I'm also assuming you know how to harvest the meat from the bird. google or youtube search 'breasting out a goose' will give you some idea of what is involved.

Step 1: First Experiments With Swan

After I had boned out the breast meat I decided to see what the meat was actually like. So I egg and crumbed a few of the tenderloins and then shallow fried them. I cooked the meat till just well done.

Swan meat is very lean there was about a quarter of a teaspoon of fat on each breast so it is important not to over cook game as it can become tough and dry.

HOW DID TASTE?- Well, those people who had been telling me it was tough and foul tasting were wrong. The Meat was very tender indeed, I think this was helped cooking over a medium heat and not over cooking the meat. Swan does however have a very gamey taste, it's one of those tastes you either like it or you don't.

Certainly all myths about taste and toughness have been dispelled, but with almost no recipes available I was left wondering what to do with the rest of the meat?

Step 2: Enter the Hamburger

Burgers are a one of my favourites and there's nothing like a nice flavoursome patty, so I decided to see how swan would work in a burger.

the key to successfully cooking game is to match the intensity of the flavours.

for this patty recipe I used;

1 swan breast (about 1lb)
a few dashes of worcestershire sauce
Bread crumbs
1 egg (optional if the meat is looking a bit dry add an egg otherwise leave it out)

You'll also obviously need;

burger buns
lettuce, tomato etc
and fruit chutney- Iike tamarillo (red egg shaped south american fruit) but peach, apple will work well.

Step 3: Get Making

If you have a mincer then feed the meat and herbs through it, other wise you can make a coarse mince by chopping the breast into smaller and smaller pieces with a knife. If you do use a mincer put a slice of bread through after the meat to push any left over mince through when the bread starts to come through turn off the machine.

Add worcestershire sauce and pepper and mix.
Note I don't add salt to patties of marinates as salt can draw moisture out of the meat instead I salt the meat just before cooking or even after cooking.

check the consistence of the mince, when you stir it it should stick together reasonably well if it doesn't bind well add an egg and a handfull of bread crumbs this will help the patties hold together during cooking.

Step 4: Form and Refrigerate

Once you have mixed the ingredience devide into 4 even sized portions.

Form into balls- you can do this by cupping the meat in your hands, I like to throw the meat from hand to hand a few time to help it bind.

Squash the meat into patties.

Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour, this stops the patties from breaking up during the cooking.

Step 5: Cook, Assemble and Enjoy.

While the patties are in the fridge prepare buns tomatoes etc...

cook the patties to well done, then assemble the burgers. I served the with lettuce, tomato, dill pickle and chutney.


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    5 years ago

    I know I'm late to this party, but here goes. We have harvested many white-tail deer (in the US) , and the meat is extremely lean. Any fat they do have melts at a very high temperature and it's always waxy and gamy tasting, so we trim it all off. To make burgers from venison, we would always buy some white beef kidney fat from the local butcher, and grind that in with the venison meat, to keep it moist while cooking; otherwise it would be too dry and chewy. Tenderloin and back loin were grilled to rare or medium rare, and shoulder / leg roasts were braised with tomato sauce, red wine, onions and thyme in a slow oven until well done. Roast Beast! Now I'm hungry for game again. Thanks for the insight into another country's hunting culture!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A couple of things about black swans in NZ; they have been recategorised as a native game bird to NZ since 2008 and are now called the Australasian Black Swan. While some were intro'd by members of the NZ Acclimatisation Society in the 1870's from Aususie, it had been found that many of them have been here for more than 1400 years, judging by Maori midden contents of the same time frame.
    A good recipe for them is from a n executive chef down Christchurch way, can't think of his name now.

    The Black swan breast is very easy to use and when cooked quickly and rested a little is very tender much to the surprise a lot of people trying it for the first time who will never guess what is before them. This recipe serves four.

    2 black swan breasts (they are normally between 300g and 400g each)
    A sprinkle of olive oil and wine
    1 onion
    A dash of cooking oil
    ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
    1/3 cup raisins
    1 lemon
    2 teaspoons gravy mix

    Trim the breasts and simply cut across the breast into five to six pieces. Cut the end pieces a little thicker so that all the pieces are around the same weight. Gently tap each piece out a little with a light meat mallet. You can use the back of a knife - you just need to shape each piece into nice little medallion steaks. Put them into a dish, sprinkle over the oil and wine and a generous grind of black pepper. Cover with cling film and chill until required.

    Peel the rind from the lemon and cut into thin strips. Add a cup of boiling water to the raisins, the lemon rind and a little squeeze of juice. Dice the onions, fry a minute or two in a small saucepan then add the spices and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the raisins, water and lemon and simmer until it has reduced and the onions are soft (around fifteen minutes). Add a dessert spoon of water to the gravy mix and stir into the onions to combine. Season to taste.

    Preheat a heavy pan or barbecue flat top. Place on the steaks and cook a couple of minutes on each side. Rest in a warm place for 5 -10 minutes then serve with the spiced onions.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Gorramit! It is 100% Illegal to kill a swan in the UK, they have the Protection of the Queen... It is because of this that i have ALLWAYS wanted to eat one..... seeing swan meat without being able to taste it or experience its aroma is maddening!

    I want to eat a swam dammit! Given half a chance they would do the same to us... dangerous things swans


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I always thought it was illegal to shoot swans?



    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Not is New Zealand. Here they are an introduced pest.

    Mr. Rig It
    Mr. Rig It

    13 years ago on Introduction

    This looks really good! I have a dumb question though, dumb on my part, does it still taste like swan or does it taste like beef? I be it is very moist also, same me one please.


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Not a dumb question at all. tastes more gamey than beef. the friend I shared this with and I both think the meat when prepared this way it is very similar to venison. they were very moist even though the meat is very lean, I think this was also helped by adding an egg.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Can you draw a comparison to other game? Some of birds really benefit from being hung. And well-done is not always the best (I know nothing about swans)


    Worcestershire sauce


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Like you I know nothing about swans so this has largely been 1 big experiment. Unfortunately I haven't had much experience with other game birds. I hung the bird for about 2 days, I'm not really sure if that was long enough to be beneficial, I know there is a saying about hanging bird till the body drops off the head, but that seemed a little over the top to me. I totally agree about well-done not always being best I don't normally cook meat past medium rear- however due to my lack of experience with game birds I was cooked on the side of caution as I not really sure about the meat- is it possible to get salmonella from wild birds? thanks for the feed back