Thursday, March 15, 2012

Foods To Eat Before You Die #99 Turducken

30 Pounds of Poultry Goodness
A Turducken is a perfect example of the American mentality. It is large, extravagant and over the top. A Turducken is made by stuffing a TURkey with a DUCK and chickEN). This was actually the second time that I have made the meal. It is an incredibly time-consuming process that I go through once a year. After the successful first attempt at making the avian nightmare, I vowed that it would become a household tradition.

The concept of stuffing a bird with another bird is centuries old. During the 17th century, the English and French both stuffed birds in the tradition of the ancient Romans. Hebert's Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana is credited with creating the American Turducken in 1985. It was later brought to many American's attention by commentator John Madden during a Thanksgiving Day football telecast.  I don't remember when I found out about the Turducken, but I know that it was something that was on the back of my mind to attempt every holiday season that Turkey is served. If you plan on trying this yourself, I would set aside two whole days.

I am assuming that you have dethawed your three birds already. The thing that makes this whole task so long is the deboning process. I have now deboned six different birds for the sake of a Turducken and I still don't feel the most comfortable giving advise on how to do it. Here is a tutorial. Like them, I suggest starting with the chicken. Not because it is a smaller bird, but because if you mess it up, it will be stuffed inside another bird, anyways. One important thing is to make sure that you open the bird down the back. I didn't do this the first time that I made the bird and when it came time to tie it back together, it made is much more difficult. I am no expert, but I am pretty comfortable in the kitchen. This step took me six hours.

The first time that I made a Turducken, I made two different stuffings; one sage and one cornbread. The second year, I decided to only make a sage stuffing and I preferred it that way. There were already enough contrasting flavors, that I didn't think that the Turducken needed another. Once the stuffing is made, it is time to assemble the bird.

First, lay out the Turkey

Next, cover it with a layer of the stuffing and add the Duck.

Add another layer of stuffing and put the Chicken on top.

Add the rest of the stuffing.

Take a bit of trussing string and tie the bird back together. This is easier with two people. One person holds the bird together while the other does some meat sewing.

Put the Turducken in a roasting pan.

When the bird is done baking, let it cool for 15-20 minutes. If you don't do this, it will fall apart once you start cutting it. Remember that you can use the pan drippings to make a gravy and the bones that you cut out to make an amazing poultry stock later.

Cut open and serve. This is incredibly easy because the birds are boneless now.

An amazing thing happens when you have all of the birds together. The juices of the three birds join together to have an incredibly juicy and moist piece of meat. 
Have you ever tried to make Turducken? Have you ever eaten it before? What was your experience with this unique food?

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