how to cook crane bird

With the nickname “ribeye of the sky,” sandhill cranes are considered one of the best tasting migratory birds hunted during the waterfowl season in some jurisdictions. star

Sandhill Crane – The Ribeye of the Sky

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Nicknamed “ribeye of the sky,” sandhill cranes are regarded in certain jurisdictions as some of the best-tasting migratory birds that can be hunted during the waterfowl season. The Federal and Provincial Governments have concluded that harvesting sandhill cranes in Alberta can be done without causing long-term harm to the populations of sandhill cranes or any other species of waterfowl, based on the best available scientific data. As with any wild game, overcooking will cause the meat to become tough and dry very quickly.

Any meat can be tenderized, its natural flavors enhanced, and it can be brown or sear on the grill with the aid of a good marinade. Although medium-rare is ideal, a meat thermometer can be used to cook the crane to medium. Aim for 130 to 135°F. Allow the meat to rest to keep it moist and tender because it will continue to cook after it is removed from the grill.

how to cook crane bird

  • 2 boneless sandhill crane breasts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp seasoned pepper, such as Montreal Steak Spice
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • Trim breasts of any bruising or shot trauma. The crane can be prepared as a whole breast, similar to a steak, or it can be cut into one-inch cubes for kebabs. To ensure that the meat heats through evenly, let it come to room temperature before grilling.
  • In a plastic container or sealable bag, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  • After adding the meat to the marinade, remove any excess air and seal. To make sure the marinade coats the entire surface of the crane meat, toss the bag. The meat can marinate for up to 48 hours, but at least 4 hours.
  • Heat a barbecue grill to 400°F. After taking the crane out of the marinade, put it on the grill. Sear each side for about 4 minutes. It could take a bigger crane five to six minutes per side. Kebabs will take 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • Before serving, take the crane off the grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for four minutes.

We knew that we would eventually go on a Sandhill Crane hunt after learning about the “Ribeye of the Sky.” With the assistance of pack members Todd and Monica Swearingen, we were able to locate an outfitter and set a date for our West Texas hunt. Guy and Hattie Billups, Lisa Johnson, Maria Perez, Wildrose Cypress, and Wildrose Banyan are shown in the picture.

We had originally intended to hunt the dogs, but we changed our minds after learning from several accounts that cranes can remain hostile even when you believe them to be dead. Rather, we used a few birds to practice with them after the hunt. Observing the dogs struggle to lift such a big bird was entertaining.

We pursued smaller Sandhill Cranes during their migration from Nebraska’s Platte River Basin. We loaded up our campers with Guy and Hattie Billups and headed west toward West Texas with our small-game license, permit, and non-resident status. We assisted with setup and prepared after meeting the guide at a prearranged field. Unaware of what to anticipate, our excitement rivaled that of Christmas morning. Cranes started to fly into the decoys around 7:00 am. By 8:00 am, we had limited out. We accomplished two of Lisa and Hattie’s life goals. Sandhill Crane hunting and limiting out in an hour. It was an amazing and incredible experience. Will we go back? Heck yes!.

The National Wildlife Federation states that there are three non-migratory subpopulations of Sandhill Cranes. This raises the question, “Aren’t Sandhill Cranes endangered and protected?” The Mississippi Sandhill Crane inhabits the state’s southeast coast. Florida Sandhill Cranes occur in many inland wetlands of Florida. The only habitats for the Cuban Sandhill Crane are savannas, wetlands, and grasslands. Mississippi and Cuban Sandhill Cranes are critically endangered.


What is the best crane to eat?

Sandhill Crane. People have nicknamed it, “RIBEYE OF THE SKY”. I think it is BETTER than ribeye. It is similar to the best cut of beef, but the texture is superior, and the flavor is milder.

Can you cook sandhill crane rare?

Preferably rare to medium rare. If you like your steak cooked more than that, you need to experiment more! Crane breast is VERY tender, and has an excellent texture that is just as beef like as the flavor.