Sandhill Crane Nuggets

  The birds depicted in this picture are  called Sandhill Cranes and I just had one for dinner tonight. The meat is often called “ribeye-in-the-sky” and it was VERY unexpectedly beef like.

 My husband cut the breast up into nuggets and wrapped  them in bacon and grilled them. It was unbelievably good, reddish-brown meat (texture, color and taste) was a LOT like a bacon wrapped filet mignon. And I didn’t even know they could be hunted – go figure . . .

 Tip #1:  If you already know that the fowl you have bagged has been eating fish, go ahead and feed it to the dogs.  It’s not worth fixing and fretting over to try and make an edible meal out of it for human consumption.  However, if you are so inclined to try to make it work out for the better, the only thing I can suggest that you can do is to soak it in milk over night.  This definitely works for any wild game that might have that gamely flavor that most people have come to dislike.  We got lucky with the bird that we ended up having for dinner, it had primarily been feeding on grain which makes for a very nice tender tasty meat – think grain fed beef.


  • Crane Breasts (cleaned, de-feathered and silver skin removed)
  • Bacon
  • Seasoning
  • Toothpicks


After removing the silver skin surrounding the breast (which is the only part of this bird worth dressing), cut into bite size morsels, approximately 2″x 1″.  Season meat morsels with your favorite seasons (salt, pepper, garlic powder etc.  We usually use Cavenders All Purpose Greek Seasoning).  Remove bacon strips from packaging and cut the entire batch of bacon in 1/2.  Wrap each bird morsel with 1/2 a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick.  Place each bacon wrapped nugget onto a hot grill cook until done.  Approximately 10  minutes, turning to make sure all is cooked through.  A good rule of thumb in this situation is, if the bacon is crispy on the outside, the meat should be done on the inside.  Remove from grill, serve and Enjoy!

Note:  If in doubt, cut a few of the morsels in 1/2 to make sure the meat is cooked through.  This particular bird is amazing beef like and if a medium/medium rare is desired just make sure the inside temperature reaches at least the minimum temperature necessary to kill any unwanted bacteria or diseases.  Just remember these are small pieces of meat, so don’t over cook them either.

USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures

  • Steaks & Roasts – 145 °F
  • Fish – 145 °F
  • Pork – 160 °F
  • Ground Beef – 160 °F
  • Egg Dishes – 160 °F
  • Chicken Breasts – 165 °F
  • Whole Poultry – 165 °F