[Sca-cooks] Turducken Hints

Susan Lin susanrlin at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 21:13:38 PDT 2012

Just a comment from someone who has made a turducken - from scratch (we
used  Chef Paul Prudhomme's recipe - including three different
stuffings) - when
we did ours the duck was so punny that we put it inside the chicken rather
than the other way around - if we had removed the skin the duck would have
been in pieces - it just wasn't substantial enough to be used skinned.  I
don't recall the skin causing any big problems when it was eaten.  People
seemed to enjoy it.

Another note - know your butcher - we didn't and when we got the birds home
we saw that the turkey had been cut down the front instead of down the back
making the presentation horribly ugly.  It's supposed to be deboned from
the back.  If we ever do one again I'll be doing the butchering myself.

Finally - make sure you've got a pan big enough - we thought we did but by
the time we did all the stuffing with the birds and the stuffing it only
barely fit in the pan and it dripped out while it cooked.

Other than that - it was a fun experiment that we might repeat again
sometime -


On Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM, Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com> wrote:

> Earlier this month we were discussing Turduckens again.
> Just by chance I came across a write-up of one of the BBQ Pitmasters where
> the show
> had them prepare and bbq one.
> I thought the hints given here about making sure the skin is off the
> smaller birds made sense, just in case
> some SCA cookery contest in the future presents someone with the raw beds
> and instructs the contestants
> to prepare and cook one.
> Johnnae
> From a write up titled "Week 5 Recap: Iowa Supermen, Contest Jumps the
> Rails with Turducken, and There's No Crying in BBQ!"
> I'll say. This fifth and last week of prelims was a real test of patience
> for all four teams as BBQ Pitmasters officially jumped the  rails with the
> three oddest choices of ingredients yet, ingredients many of the cooks had
> never worked with before. On the plus side, we got to see some talented
> cooks, ahem, really wing it.
> This week the "Classic Meat Challenge" was turducken. Classic? Everyone
> who has ever cooked turducken from scratch, please raise your hand. Nobody?
> OK, everyone who has bought a prefab turducken and cooked it, hands in the
> air. Not many. OK, how about the hands of the folks who've tasted
> turducken? Yeah, that's what I thought. Ever seen it in a BBQ joint? Me
> neither. How many have never heard of it? Well you're not alone, several of
> the cooks on Pitmasters had never cooked or even tasted turducken either,
> and one of them looked like she never heard of it.
> So what the heck is turducken? Let this week's runner up, Dan Hixon of 3
> Eyz BBQ of Owings Mills, MD, describe it: "You've got a turkey, you shove a
> duck in there, and just for good measure you shove a chicken in there,
> too." Tur(key)-duck-(chic)ken. Get it? Or is it Turd-(y)uck-(outta our)ken.
> The turkey still has its drumstick and wing bones in, but all the others
> have been removed, and the duck and chicken are totally boneless. This
> birdzilla from Cajun Country is usually filled with a stuffing, and, when
> cooked, it is sliced like a giant meatloaf.
> The concept of a bird inside a bird as been around at least since the
> Roman Empire, but the turducken is an American original probably created in
> Louisiana in the 1980s and popularized by football analyst John Madden who
> awarded one to the winning team on his Thanksgiving broadcast.
> The invention of the the monstrosity is credited to either Chef Paul
> Prudhomme of New Orleans, or Hebert's Specialty Meats in nearby Maurice,
> LA. Culinary Historian John T. Edge has said "It strikes me as a dish
> invented by men in a hunt camp, men who have a snootful."
> If you want one, you usually order it from them frozen on the internet.
> Nobody but nobody makes turducken from scratch. Still, TLC made these
> barbecue champions do just that. At least TLC was kind enough to give them
> boneless birds so they did not have to slice off their fingers trying to
> hollow them out. This may be a fine task for the trained professional chefs
> on Food Network's Chopped competition, but these folks rarely stray from
> ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and chicken. As I have stated emphatically in
> weeks past, with $100,000 on the line, challenging them to move outside
> their comfort zone is a good idea, especially for the appetizer or side
> dish. But the "Classic Meat Challenge"? Sheesh.
> To make this silly concoction palatable, you have to remove the duck and
> chicken skins or they just turn to fatty limp rubber bands. It appeared
> that many of the cooks didn't figure this out as you could see the judges
> pulling strands of elastic from their plates.
> The next big challenge with turducken is keeping the turkey from turning
> to leather. This is one large mass of meat and stuffing, up to 15 pounds or
> more, and by the time the center is cooked properly and safely, the outer
> layers are as dry as charcoal. The solution is to cook it low and slow. One
> cook cleverly grilled the duck a bit before putting it into the turkey.
> Another injected the turkey with butter. Another brined it. Another used
> only the breasts and made smaller loaves. Good thinking, all.
> Even if you manage to keep the turkey portion moist, the real crime is
> what happens to the duck breasts. Duck breasts are red meat and are best
> cooked rare, like a steak. When buried in this dodo bird, the meat turns
> gray and tasteless.
> The next challenge with turducken is to make a stuffing that doesn't taste
> and feel like plaster. The Cajun solution is a cornbread and andouille
> sausage stuffing that is not too wet when it goes in because there is a lot
> of fat rendering.
> The final hurdle is the gravy, a necessity to add moisture back to the
> meat, especially the turkey. There is a lot of fat in the pan and
> degreasing it is not easy. The stuffing usually gets into the pan too,
> making the gravy cloudy. Aaarrrrrgghhh!
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-goldwyn/bbq-pitmasters-covering-t_b_681010.html
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