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BBQ Muttonbird / Shearwater / Titi With Cherry Sauce

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“These are a native bird of Australia and New Zealand, I'm not aware of any other bird that would be close enough in taste to use in this recipe, but please let me know if you do ;-) When you cut the bird in half it is thin and because of grill temperature differences I can't say an exact time for grilling either side - you need to judge by eye. Also if you have never tried Muttonbird / Shearwater before it has a very distinctive and strong taste - it is something a lot of people either love or hate so not a good recipe for general entertainment. Boneman let me know the following: American Woodcock (commonly hunted and cooked in the USA) probably cooks and tastes like muttonbird. Very dark meat and somewhat strong. They feed exclusively on earthworms!”
1hr 30mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 Short-tailed Shearwater, salt-cured and cut in half
  • 12 teaspoon dried sage
  • 14 teaspoon star anise
  • 14 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 200 g black cherries, pitted with juice retained


  1. Rinse muttonbird under cold running water.
  2. Cover muttonbird well with water in a large pot and bring to the boil (uncovered all the time) over the wok burner on your BBQ and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also do this part on a stove top but they do smell terrible while cooking.
  3. Drain water from pot, but this time re-fill with boiling water and repeat process of bringing back to the boil and simmering 20 minutes uncovered once again.
  4. Drain water and pat muttonbird dry with a paper towel.
  5. Lightly sprinkle muttonbird all over with sage, star anise and pepper.
  6. Cook muttonbird over high heat over BBQ grill plates until cripsy, around 5 minutes a side. Start with the fatty / skin side down first.
  7. While cooking blend orange juice and cornflour in a small bowl, followed by addition of cherries.
  8. When muttonbird is turned for the first time add this mixture to a wok and cook over burner at low-medium temperature for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  9. Place muttonbird into wok and coat well with the sauce cooking for a few minutes further over low heat until combined well.

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