The Smart Shopper’s Guide to Swan Meat

It’s gratifying to know, in these troubled times when so many are struggling financially, that you can purchase swan meat for just $50.00 a pound. That’s right, there are deals to be had and ways to satisfy the well-known American craving for swan at bargain-basement prices. The kicker is, you’ve got to purchase the entire bird. But at rates this low, why would you not?

Presumably, when you order a bird from 1-800-STEAKS.COM, you’re getting a black swan as shown in the web page photo.* The page doesn’t actually specify that it’s a black swan, nor does it tell you how much meat you’re getting for your money, because, heck, why not make things more fun by making the customer guess, right?  At the time of this writing, I defy you to search the page content and find any details beyond the fact that you’re getting swan for $999.00–a steal at $500 off the regular price of $1,499.00.

Since it really is kind of important to know where in the size spectrum between a chicken and a sperm whale the swan in question lies, it’s off to Wikipedia we go, you and I, where we learn that a mature black swan weighs anywhere between eight and twenty pounds. Very good, now we’re getting somewhere. But in what form will our swan be delivered to us? After all, it’s swan MEAT that we’re after, and that is what the site advertises. So should we expect it to come pre-packaged, or frozen whole with the feathers still on it, or what?

Finding no immediate information, off we go again to do more research, this time to the Exotic Meat Market, which offers competitive prices on black, mute, and black neck swans and is pleased to answer some of our pressing questions.*

Ah! The swans are live. We will not be receiving our eight to twenty pounds of swan meat in nicely prepared parcels. No, our swan meat will be arriving in the freshest of all possible conditions, honking and hissing and flapping its wings and ready to vigorously assert its personal views on being converted into table fare. So we shall have our work cut out for us, but the Exotic Meat Market sweetens the deal with prices that make us want to shout for joy, they are so ridiculously low.

Here, for instance, is the pricing information for a single live, male black swan:

Regular price: $1,299.00
Sale price: $599.00

Black Swan – Live Male blswlima

[Add to cart]

I’m not sure what “blswlima” means. Maybe the swan comes with Lima beans. Regardless, you can see right away that here is a platinum deal if ever there was one, with the Exotic Meat Market undercutting 1-800-STEAKS.COM by $200 on their regular price and $400 on the sale price. I know, I know–it makes you want to rub your eyes in disbelief. Disbelief is a common reaction to prices like these. Nevertheless, it’s true: you can purchase live, aggressively fresh swan meat–between eight and twenty pounds, we’re still not entirely clear on that–for a low, low, not quite 600 bucks.

And that’s not all. Mute swan, a non-native species which is rapidly becoming a weed bird in United States lakes and rivers, also sells for just $599.99. And black neck swan, regularly $2,499.99, is currently on sale for a paltry $1,999.99. That’s a $500 SAVINGS! (Though it should be mentioned that the black neck swan doesn’t come with Lima beans.)

But perhaps you’re the outdoorsy type who prefers to head out to the swan blind and harvest your own. If that’s the case, you’ll appreciate this recipe for mute swan burgers. I realize that you’ve probably already got your own half-a-dozen-or-so favorite ways of preparing America’s favorite poultry, but in a country where the mere mention of swan sets mouths to watering, one more recipe can’t hurt.

Let me know how you like it. As for me, I think tonight I’ll settle for fried chicken.

ADDENDUM, March, 2013: Over three years have passed since I wrote this article, but it continues to draw traffic. I’ve spent hours writing serious, marvelously practical posts that have long since settled into the sedimentary layers of blogdom, while an aberration I knocked off in an hour or so has attained modest immortality. Weird. Must be a lot of folks are just crazy about swan. That or else they enjoy a chuckle or two. Probably the latter. So if you enjoyed this post, you might also want to check out my assessment of the Giraffe Test. It’ll set your mind at ease, particularly if you’re a business professional.


* The link I had to this site no longer works and has been removed.

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  1. Hi Bob,

    I liked your post. Pretty funny. I stumbled across it while searching for a tundra swan recipe. They have a legal season for them in North Dakota. The state harvests about 2,500 birds each year. They are all over the place, so I don’t think that number affects the population at all. Hell, maybe I should just sell the meat on the internet!!! Have a great Thanksgiving. John

  2. Thanks for dropping in, John! I’ve been surprised by the modest but steady stream of traffic this post continues to get. In Michigan, mute swans are probably what tundra swans are to South Dakota, and as non-natives, they’re getting to the point where they may need some thinning in order to protect native waterfowl. But the article was totally tongue-in-cheek. I was flat-out fascinated by the thought that there’s a market out there for swan meat, and evidently the stuff commands top dollar. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!