Wild fowl


The largest member of the grouse family. The male has black plumage with elements of white. Its breast is a shining blue and green and its eyes are ringed with red. The female is speckled brown and more unobtrusive.

Capercaillies mainly eat pine needles but in the summer they also eat berries, buds and leaves. The male can weigh up to 5.5 kilos and is almost twice the size of the female. Gourmets say the meat of the female tastes better.

The meat has quite a coarse texture which is good roasted or minced. Capercaillie meat has a strong flavor and in older birds the diet of pine needles can leave a trace. Younger birds have a milder flavor.

Keep in mind

Members of the grouse family, like capercaillie, grouse and ptarmigan have the most gamey flavor of all wild fowl.

Don't slow cook capercaillie, or you'll get a casserole that tastes of liver.

A female capercaillie will feed about 4 people. A male will serve a group of between 5 and 8 people.

Don't have the oven too low, it needs to be 120°C or more.

The meat is dark and has a clearly gamey flavor.

How to cook capercaillie

Roast capercaillie breast is delicious. One breast will serve 4:

  • Brown the meat in plenty of butter with crushed garlic.
  • Place the breast in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with herbs and put the capercaillie in the oven at 120°C to an internal temperature of 54-56°C.
  • Leave the meat to cool and carve into thin slices.

Cook the capercaillie whole at 170-180°C to an internal temperature of 70°C. The basics when roasting whole birds:

  • Remove the giblets. Save the liver, heart and gizzard (e.g. for the sauce).
  • Wipe the bird dry and remove any feathers with tweezers.
  • Add fat under the skin, e.g. bacon and/or lard.
  • Season on the outside and on the inside.
  • Tie the bird into a neat shape for more even cooking.
  • Juices run clear = completely cooked.
  • Leave the meat to rest!

Make capercaillie meatballs: Use half capercaillie and half pork mince to make them juicier. A creamy calvados sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

You'll find more ideas for cooking wild fowl under cooking wild fowl.

The classic

Capercaillie in blackcurrant sauce. A classic, dark red wine sauce made from beef stock (and meat juices) boosted with 50 ml lightly sugared blackcurrants.

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