Thursday, 11 October 2012

Turducken: Reviewed

If you've been tracking along with me this past year, you probably know about the list I made on my Birthday- 26 things I wanted to accomplish in my 26th year of life. One of the more daunting tasks was to make a Turducken (#11)

For those of you that haven't heard of it, a Turducken is a Turkey that has been stuffed with a duck that has been stuffed with a chicken. All three birds are deboned, and there is stuffing in between each layer, so when complete you can cut straight through the center to reveal a cross section of turkey>stuffing>duck>stuffing>chicken>stuffing. Some people choose to do three seperate stuffings (all different flavours) in each layer, but I chose to stick with my family recipe. My family *cough Nicole cough* does not always enjoy the... adventurous nature of my cooking, so I wanted something about this beast to be recognizable.

So to begin, I purchased a 22 pound turkey, a 4 lb duck and a 4 lb chicken. In retrospect I could have gone with a slightly smaller turkey - once it was all stuffed it was enormous and hardly fit in the turkey roaster. A larger duck would have been helpful too, because it turns out there is very little meat in a duck. Most of it is fat and skin. After a lot of internet research I decided to remove the skin from both the duck and the chicken because almost every review I read said it came out quite rubbery. This mean I was essentially butchering the duck and chicken, not just deboning them. I ended up with pieces of meat to place in the layers instead of an opened up deboned bird because once you remove the skin, there really isn't anything holding it all together!

I attempted to debone the turkey first, but it was still a little frozen in parts, so I tackled the duck first. Youtube video in front of me, and a handy hubby pausing, rewinding, starting, pausing, rewinding and starting was absolutely pivotal to this task. Oh, and a very sharp knife.

Sorry this is the only picture of the deboning process! Chris and I both had yucky hands, and with the process taking as long as it did, it just wasn't feasible to stop, wash hands and take pictures with every step.

Deboning ended up being easier than I thought, but still very time consuming and tedious. You make an incision down the spine, and "tease" the meat back one side at a time with very small cuts- keeping as close to the bone as possible. The worst part was getting the meat off the drumsticks. Ugh. For this reason, the turkey was the easiest to do because you leave the drumsticks and wings on for esthetical purposes.

I deboned all the birds one day prior to making the turducken, so once they were done they went in the fridge to wait until bright and early the next morning. And boy, do I mean early. Chris and I got up at 5 am to make the stuffing and assemble the bird so we could have it in the oven for 6 am. We knew it would take 5-6 hours to cook, and we wanted to eat by 12-12:30.

Here's a picture of it all assembled before closing it up with turkey lacers.

I checked it for the first time at 10 am, and then again at 11 am when it was finished. I knew it was done because I could easily rotate the drumsticks (the meat was falling off them) the juices were all clear, and my trusty meat thermometer read 165.

We let it rest for an hour (It was recommended that it rest for 30-60 minutes) and it was still nice and hot when we sliced into it. Speaking of slicing into it....
A perfect cross-section!
It tasted really yummy. Everyone seemed happy with it. Do I think it tasted SO amazing that it was worth all that work? Absolutely not. My final review of the Turducken is that it's a novelty, and if you can afford to buy a pre-assembled bird, go ahead and try it. It got more ooh's and aah's from the excitement over seeing the cross-section than over the flavor. If I were to do anything again, it would be deep-frying a turkey (which we did for Easter this year) THAT was some good turkey.

Before I leave you today, I'll just show a couple more things I scratched off my list in the past few weeks:

#23: Go Horseback Riding. This was on my list because I haven't been on a horse for over ten years. Accomplished! (and fun!) Thanks Mandi for all your help in making this one happen :)
And lastly, something I have been VERY excited about for a while now...
 #8: Get a new tattoo

It isn't finished, but I think it still counts. It better count after 2.5 hours of pain! When it is all done, all the clouds will be completely colored in, leaving only the birds in negative space. To me it represents Hope, and I am completely infatuated with it. (((<3)))

Well that's it everyone! Wish me luck in the next couple of days as I try frantically to cross a few more things off my list. Birthday on Sunday!

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