Chicken

Help Me Make a Turducken (Please?)

October  8, 2015

In celebration of Paul Prudhomme, who passed today—and because I like challenges—I'm making a turducken.

We have Paul Prudhomme to thank for many things—for bringing Cajun food to the fore, for blackened redfish, and for inventing the turducken. To celebrate his legacy and one-up every Thanksgiving that my family has ever seen, I had the brilliant idea to make a turducken...for fun. (Let's not talk about the fact that my turkey roasting skills aren't even honed yet.)

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In all fairness, Prudhomme thought the turducken was pretty fun, too:

"It’s a lot of fun to let your guests think you’re serving them a regular holiday turkey. When you start to carve the 'turkey,' they’ll be quite surprised to see you cut through its 'bones'!"

That said, a turducken is a serious endeavor. It's not something to freestyle—there are expensive ingredients and equipment involved and dinner (and reputation) on the line. 

As such, I'm doing my research. My current plan is to use either Prudhomme's recipe or the one in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. But do you have another recipe I should reference? What tips to you have? And, just so I don't feel bad if this whole thing goes haywire, please share horror stories, too.

Together, we turducken. Thank you in advance.

Photo by James Ransom

16 Comments

Michael M. October 12, 2015
I've made a Turducken (or rather a Gooseducken) in January and used Kenji's method and this website:<br />https://labjack.com/news/holiday-turducken<br />In short, I pre-seared the chicken, sous vided it, stuffed it into the duck, repeat, stuffed it into the goose, and roasted the goose in the oven. Worked out pretty well. Important thing: Use the meat stuffing from the articles, it keeps the whole thing from disintegrating...
 
ChefJune October 9, 2015
I have never made a turducken. The one I experienced did not leave me wanting more. It was terminally dry. I plan to honor Chef Paul by making his wonderful Spicy Cajun Meatloaf with very hot sauce for Beef. :D
 
AntoniaJames October 9, 2015
Yes, ChefJune, I agree. For the time and money involved in the turducken you could honor Chef Paul in so many better ways. <br /><br />(I'm not fond of gimmicks -- and don't suffer fools gladly -- as you've no doubt figured out.) ;o)
 
Amy October 9, 2015
I've cooked a Turducken 2x with friends--definitely best as a team event because deboning 3 birds and making 3 stuffing recipes takes forever if you don't have help. Both times we basically did a TurChiDuck because it is hard to find ducks bigger than chickens in my area. But I think the hardest part is the baking....if you cook it too slow, it takes forever and the turkey gets a really weird texture--almost pasty. If you cook it too fast, the center isn't done and the turkey is shoe leather. I think the stuffings need to be fairly strongly flavored--after cooking that long, they pretty much lose most of their taste. And finally some special equipment is helpful-- take a trip to the craft/sewing store and get yourself some good supplies to sew the turkey back shut. I found that that 3-4 metal knitting stitch holders (that look like giant safety pins) work great to temporarily hold the bird together while you stitch it shut. I also used giant needles I bought there, both a curved carpet needle and just a long straight needle. And a hemostat is also helpful because the needle gets slippery when going through the skin and fat. (all of the above is available at Michael's or JoAnn). We also used some of those disposable cutting mats (or thin plastic flexible cutting boards) since you are moving the birds around a lot--and when you start to stack them on top of each other, this makes it pretty easy to just lay one edge of the bird down on top of the stuffing layer below and then peel the cutting mat out from between the layers.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 9, 2015
IMHO, Turdinken is NOt what irs cracked up to me. Taste like shit- donewell or not.
 
Liz October 9, 2015
Pft, only three birds. I've attached an article that reproduces the medieval banquet roast called A King's Ransom. It includes 12 birds. ( The roast contains turkey, goose, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon squab, Aylesbury duck, Barbary duck, poussin, guinea fowl, mallard-and quail with herb and fruit stuffings.) Serves 125 people, takes 8 hours to cook and apparently the boning process takes over 3 hours. Best of British luck finding the ingredients! :)<br />http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-502605/It-serves-125-takes-hours-cook-stuffed-12-different-birds---really-IS-Christmas-dinner.html
 
Author Comment
Ali S. October 19, 2015
This, too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_stuffed_camel
 
Michael P. October 9, 2015
Let's get serious. <br /><br />https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjrI91J6jOw
 
Steven October 8, 2015
I killed it on the turducken a couple of years back. my thinking was the meat was too expensive to waste it on iffy stuffing. so I did a boneless skin on turkey breast filled with two duck breast with. the fat cap and skin pealed off file with about 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs. I then fine minced the duck fat and skin and massaged it into the turkey breast under the turkey skin. I then made a lattice of 3 pounds of Nutske bacon wrapped it around the meat trussed the hell out of it and smoked it for about 6 hours in a mix of hickory and pecan wood. to serve remove the charred bacon carapace after resting and slice. it was amazing.
 
Leslie C. October 8, 2015
Ack! Tried to delete the first one. Sorry :(<br />
 
Leslie C. October 8, 2015
http://store7.geomerx.com/alpine/index.cfm?fuseaction=<br /><br />;)
 
Leslie C. October 8, 2015
http://store7.geomerx.com/alpine/index.cfm?fuseaction= ;)
 
AntoniaJames October 8, 2015
I have never made a Turducken, and actually have no desire whatsoever to do so, but if I did, I would (a) use Kenji's method and (b) get my butcher to do all of the boning. Point (b) would be a deal killer. ;o) P.S. This year I'm doing something a bit unconventional with my turkey - based on Paul Virant's Thanksgiving in his noteworthy "Preservation Kitchen."
 
inpatskitchen October 8, 2015
Years ago I made one but just used turkey, chicken and duck breasts with 2 stuffings. Much more manageable than a whole bird!
 
Jared K. October 8, 2015
I believe Kenji did a Turducken Edition Food Lab. He talked about how cooking a turducken traditionally will cause you to have an extremely dry frankenbird on your hands. Definitely worth checking out, so even if you don't make it in his style you can at least pull some pointers from it. <br /><br />http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/the-food-lab-the-ulimate-turducken.html
 
smarshtastic October 8, 2015
I definitely second this one! Kenji always has a reliable answer.