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Serious Eats' Ultimate Turducken
November 7, 2012 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Just in time for (American) Thanksgiving, Serious Eats' Kenji Lopez-Alt provides an illustrated dissertation on the finer points of Turduckening. Warning: Link contains pictures of dead birds in various states of undress.
posted by benbenson (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm quite curious about maybe trying this, especially the crispy-skinned duck layer.

When I've had turducken before, I've always been so underwhelmed by the lack of distinctly duckish flavor, and the uninteresting chewiness of the inner skins, that my own multibird Thanksgiving roasts have omitted the duck entirely, and I've just used pounded chicken breasts for the chicken layer rather than a full deboned bird.

"Tur-Hen" doesn't have quite the same ring, but it's cheaper and easier, and no duck at all is better than a crappy boring duck.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:06 PM on November 7, 2012


Link contains pictures of dead birds in various states of undress.

Naked lunch? How fowl.
posted by maryr at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have made turducken, and I have made uh, "breastducken" with well seared duck breasts, boneless chicken thighs, and a turkey crown. That was great, the traditional version not so much. Visceral process either way!
posted by crabintheocean at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2012


And he is so right on the sausage based stuffing.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:28 PM on November 7, 2012


My turducken experiences could be effectively summarized by truncating the word at the first syllable.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:28 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


How many people does the damned thing serve and who has that many people coming over anyway? /largefamilybuteveryonehateseachothersonothanksgivingstuff
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2012


I feel the same way and my family likes each other. This is the same sort of dinner-party fantasy that makes perfectly normal human beings feel like they need to own sixteen place settings' worth of matching plates and silverware.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:46 PM on November 7, 2012


Last year I made a recursive turducken - after stuffing the chicken into the duck and that into the turkey, you stuff the whole thing back into the original chicken.

Damn thing took forever to cook.
posted by modernserf at 4:52 PM on November 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh that gives me an idea. If you turn the universe inside out at the right moment, I bet you can get the chicken on the outside where it'll cook faster.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:55 PM on November 7, 2012


sorta-previously, at least in the comments, re: Lopez-Alt's past work w/ Cook's Illustrated.

I like what he does on Serious Eats in general, but there is a residual touch of that 'you wanted/expected this, but got dry/bland/messy that' in that turducken writeup. That is his thing, that is what he does - but that picture that he presents as his 'wrong' attempt from 2004 - my family would eat the mess out of that!

The ultimate/perfect thing - I guess it is just a stripe of food blogging that I am not interested in anymore.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 4:59 PM on November 7, 2012


That was pretty impressive but certainly not for the faint of heart. I'd love to try it but not enough to make it.
posted by shoesietart at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2012


If you turn the universe inside out at the right moment, I bet you can get the chicken on the outside where it'll cook faster.

I had better luck with the mobius-turkey the following year.
posted by modernserf at 5:31 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many people does the damned thing serve and who has that many people coming over anyway?

I usually have ten or so people over, and there's always a lot leftover, but that's fine, 'cause when it's cold from the fridge and you chop it all up, it makes one HELL of a great breakfast-hash.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:58 PM on November 7, 2012


who has that many people coming over anyway? /largefamilybuteveryonehateseachothersonothanksgivingstuff

most of my friends are transplants to Seattle, and a few of the more hospitable/organised will do a dinner and invite friends and friends of friends. I probably know of two or three 20+ person thanksgiving dinners happening. I'm pretty sure one of them will feature a turducken.
posted by jacalata at 6:19 PM on November 7, 2012


Ah, Turducken, the one word that, when read online, can cause me to emit a low, vaguely sexual sound of lust and hunger while at work. Apparently.
posted by davejay at 6:41 PM on November 7, 2012


From the directions on de-boning:
Turn the chicken so its back is facing up, then carefully cut through the oyster to expose the thigh joint.
Chickens have oysters? How did I not know that chickens have oysters?
posted by zinon at 6:44 PM on November 7, 2012


Oyster (fowl), mmmmm
posted by pullayup at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Highlander II: The Turduckening
posted by jonp72 at 7:20 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chickens have oysters? How did I not know that chickens have oysters?

I think physiologically speaking it's basically the buttcheek, but for some reason that wasn't selling so well.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:00 PM on November 7, 2012


By the time I got through the bullet list of problems he had I was wondering why this ever became a thing in the first place, our fixation with figuring out how to combine these unrelated things to begin with.

It would be like us becoming culturally obsessed with how to best join peanuts and jello.
posted by sourwookie at 9:02 PM on November 7, 2012


"And flavors that blended as harmoniously (as) robotic lions joining forces to save the universe."

Dude.
posted by eriko at 9:11 PM on November 7, 2012


It would be like us becoming culturally obsessed with how to best join peanuts and jello.

Dude. This is meat, stuffed with meat, stuffed with meat, stuffed with ground meat.

Lets get some perspective here!
posted by eriko at 9:12 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jaques Pepin teaches you how to debone a chicken
posted by vespabelle at 10:05 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm tempted to try spatchcocking the turkey this year, but my mother might murder me. She's very serious about her Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey.

Any mentions of turduckens have resulted in lots of gagging and yelling.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:29 AM on November 8, 2012


The oyster is the most chickeny-tasting part of a chicken, apart from the chicken heart, which is too chickeny-tasting. It has the added benefit of a soft, tender texture, and will pop right out of a roast bird without needing a knife once the skin's out of the way.

You've likely never had it, as the cook usually swipes them for himself, especially if he is me.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:29 AM on November 8, 2012


Be wary of buying pre-made turducken. My family bought one about five years ago, and it was super duper salty and dry. (I think they bought it from a butcher shop, but I'm not entirely sure.)
posted by ErikaB at 8:12 AM on November 8, 2012


Ah, Turducken, the one word that, when read online, can cause me to emit a low, vaguely sexual sound of lust and hunger while at work.

I'm flattered. But not surprised.
posted by turducken at 9:01 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm tempted to try spatchcocking the turkey this year, but my mother might murder me. She's very serious about her Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey.

Just spatchcock it, then nail-gun it back shut. She'll never be the wiser!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:06 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The one and only time I did a turducken was last New Years, and it was such a success I suspect repeat performances will be demanded. I smoked it in a charcoal BBQ overnight and then rested it for six hours wrapped in foil and blanket in a cooler (w/digital thermometer to ensure core temp stayed well out of danger zone... it barely lost 20 degrees F). A brief high-heat roast immediately before serving. The result was... quickly eaten.

Needless to say, the slow cook ensures everything renders perfectly, and allows you to get up to a very safe 180 degrees F without drying things out. [Getting that hot is important, for the health reasons the article mentions... while 140 F is considered safe for intact birds, because of the mixed-up preparation here and the resulting exposure to potential contaminants, if you are going to slow cook you need to end up with a well-done turducken. Prudhomme does 8 hours at 225F to internal of 165F, so I'm not all that far off. ]

A juice tray placed in the BBQ will catch everything, and produce the most ridiculous gravy you'll ever eat. The long rest also ensures your stuffing sets up and the beast carves neatly. I can't recommend it enough, if you have any experience smoking over coals, the turducken is a perfect match with that technique.

Next time I'll probably start it in the morning though. It is an 8-10 hour affair, so an 8am start is fine. (Just make sure assembly is done the day before. Again, no safety issues as long as everything stays nice and cold.)
posted by mek at 11:31 AM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The one and only time I did a turducken was last New Years, and it was such a success I suspect repeat performances will be demanded.

Don't flatter yourself. I was drunk, and I don't remember a thing.
posted by turducken at 10:24 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


My turducken experiences could be effectively summarized by truncating the word at the first syllable.

Ho ho. You're in good company. Also, this is officially piling on.
posted by turducken at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2012


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