Wild Duck or Goose Carnitas Tacos

small tortilla topped with goose leg carnitas radish, pepper, onions

This recipe is adapted from Rick Martinez of Bon Appétit Duck Carnitas Tacos with Radish Escabeche

It is an absolute crime to breast your waterfowl and not bring home the legs. Not only is it wasting meat and therefore dishonouring the animal you killed, it also means you don’t get to eat these incredibly delicious carnitas! Try to find at least one of the dried chiles mentioned in the ingredients (you can shop for them online, some large chain grocers or in any Latin grocery store) and feel free to use pork lard instead of duck or goose fat if you don’t have enough. As always, store bought duck or goose legs would work fine with this recipe! 

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time5 hr
  • Total Time5 hr 10 min
  • Ready in5 Hrs


For the Carnitas

  • 2-4 whole goose or duck legs (thigh and drumstick)*
  • Kosher salt
  • Enough duck/goose fat or pork lard to cover legs in cooking vessel, approx. 2 cups (500ml, 1lb)
  • 4 dried ancho, morita, pasilla, guajillo, mulato, or negro chiles (or a mix of any of the above), de-stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon achiote/annatto seeds (optional)
  •  4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed (with the palm of your hand, or knife blade)

For the tacos

  • 1 tablespoon duck fat or lard
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste (optional)
  • 6-12 small high quality corn tortillas
  • 1 small white onion, cubed
  • 3 radishes, sliced into half moons
  • 2 red or green jalapeños, sliced
  • Mexican hot sauce like Tapatio, Valentina, Cholula, etc.
  • Chopped cilantro, or microgreens for garnish


For the carnitas


Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C, gas mark 1/2)

Generously season legs on all sides with kosher salt. 

Place the legs in an oven proof casserole dish.


Scatter the spices and whole chiles over the legs, then pour the lard/fat over the legs, making sure they get completely covered. 

If your lard is solid, pop it into the microwave or oven just until it will plop out of its container and into the casserole dish. 


Cover the dish with foil or a lid and put into the preheated oven for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, flip the legs over, then cook for another 2 hours. 


Remove the dish from the oven and remove the legs with tongs. Let cool enough that you can handle them.

Once cool, remove the bones (discard or save for stock) and shred the meat.


Strain the liquid fat through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a mason jar or glass container. 

This can be kept in the fridge for months and months and can be used to make more carnitas, whether they are pork or duck/goose, or to roast potatoes, or use as a cooking fat. 

For the tacos


Drop a tablespoon of the fat into a frying pan. Add the shredded meat and the achiote paste if using. Fry until they are heated through and developing some crispy edges.


Load warmed tortillas with the carnitas, then top with the suggested toppings or your own favourites. Enjoy!

*The skin can be left on the legs then removed after they are done cooking and chopped and fried into chicharrones. I rendered the skin into lard before hand, to have enough for this recipe. 

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