Turducken: The Triple-Threat of Thanksgiving Meat
Are you done giggling yet?
No, problem. I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself.
OK, turducken has long been a Thanksgiving punchline thanks to John Madden and Monday Night Football— just say the word and it evokes giggles from your guests. But the turducken got some much-needed street cred in foodie circles after Paula Deen, the queen of southern cuisine, made it for her family on her “Paula Deen’s Family Thanksgiving” special on the Food Network . (Watch the video on YouTube. )
So, what is a turducken?
It’s a triple threat of Thanksgiving meat: It’s a chicken, stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey.
How do you do that, exactly?
Well, it requires all three birds be deboned —— but keep the wings and drumsticks on the turkey for presentation.
“Let your butcher do most of the work,” Deen advises.
Given the law of physics, you want to have your birds in descending size order: The Awl’s “Ultimate Turducken Guide” suggests a 15-20 pound turkey, a 5-6 pound duck and a 3-4 pound chicken. (If you can’t afford a butcher, the Awl suggests a friend who’s a pre-med student.)
One word of caution here: Be careful when handling your fully-assembled turducken. Remember, the only bones in it are for show and you’ve just created a 20-to-30-pound mass of slippery raw meat, so you may want to call in for back-up to help you get a grip.
Generally the inside doesn’t look too appealing (that’s why we’re not showing you a pic of the inside) but Deen’s turducken was, unsurprisingly, quite lovely: Inbetween each layer of meat, she had a layer of cornbread stuffing — so it had a swirled effect, like a giant meat and stuffing Ho-Ho.
Your next question might be — how long do you have to cook all that meat, and does the core meat, the duck, really get cooked?
Yes, if you do it right — and get up early enough!
Deen put her turducken in a roasteron 500 degrees for 15 minutes, then 225 for five more hours. For those of us who don’t have roasters, the Alpine Steakhouse in Sarasota, Fla., recommends baking the turducken in the oven at 200 degrees for 12 hours, then let it rest for an hour.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering what goes with turducken, Deen served hers with fried corn with baconand sweet potato balls, which are basically a jumbo marshmallow, wrapped in mashed sweet potatoes and rolled in coconut. (A nom nom nom…)
CNBC.com managing editor Allen Wastlerwas way ahead of the curve: He made his family and friends eat turducken in 2003 after seeing Madden do it the year before. Wastler said the meat was “sumptuous, moist and tender” but admitted that “the platter looked like a meat bomb went off.”
(You see? This is why we didn’t show you a pic of what a sliced turducken looks like.)
If that’s not enough meat for you, Bacon Today offers the “turbaconducken” — a turducken wrapped in bacon. And, if you want to go really avant-garde, the Cajun Grocer offers a “quaducant” — duck stuffed in a quail stuffed in pheasant.
Before the meal is served, let us join hands and recite this turducken haiku:
Praise thee turducken
Meat stuffed in meat stuffed in meat
OK, now let’s eat!
Watch Paula Deen prepare her turducken (with bonus turkey-reprimanding footage. "Bad boy!"):
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