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wilburpan

Turducken!

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Sorry I haven't been around — I've been cooking on Smaug, but work has been crazy busy, so not much time for posting. And by "not much time", I mean zero time. Luckily, this is a holiday weekend.

This year for Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to try a turducken. For those of you who don't know, a turducken is a boneless chicken, stuffed inside a boneless duck, which is then stuffed inside a boneless turkey (except for the drumsticks and wings). There's stuffing between the layers, typically a cornbread-based stuffing. To me, a turducken is a quintessentially American idea, in that it's simultaneously outrageous, over the top, and seems to be based on a dare. ^_^

To me, the main problem with a turducken is the layers of chicken and duck skin on the inside. We all know that we want the skin of a bird to be nice and crispy. The skin layers on the inside of a turducken have no chance of that while being cooked. In addition, it wouldn't be very appetizing if the extra fat in the duck skin came out as a layer. The problem is that typical instructions for cooking that come with the turducken say to roast the turducken at 375ºF or so for 4 hours. Based on talking to a friend that made a turducken before, and this Serious Eats article, I was pretty sure this wasn't the way to go. 375ºF at four hours would probably result in the turkey outside being too dry, the inside being too mushy, and the skin layers not being that great. In the Serious Eats article, they got around this by partially cooking the chicken and duck first, then assembling the turducken. That seemed to be way too much work for the first time I was trying this.

Komodo Kamado to the rescue. I thought that by cooking the turducken low and slow, it would give the duck fat time to render out into the stuffing, while keeping the outside turkey layer moist. At the end I would cook the turducken briefly at a higher temperature to crisp up the skin.

I ordered the turducken online. It came in a box, frozen in a vacuum bag. I timed the order so that it could defrost in my refrigerator for 6 days before Thanksgiving morning.

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On Thanksgiving morning, I started up Smaug, and he settled in at 200ºF. I put the turducken in with the heat deflector in place, and a roasting pan underneath to catch juices.

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My goal was an IT of 160ºF. I wasn't sure how long it would take. I was planning on an hour per pound, like for pulled pork. It finished sooner than that, about 7 hours later. 

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We had Thanksgiving at a friend's house, so I took the turducken out at this point, and used my friend's oven at 450ºF for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin and warm it up a bit.

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To serve the turducken, you cut off the legs and wings, and then slice the rest of it like a big poultry meatloaf.

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It turned out pretty good. I was a bit surprised at how the end where the chicken/duck/turkey layers turned out. First of all, I didn't anticipate that all of that would be down at one end of the turducken. This turned out to be more half boneless turkey, half turducken. I also thought the layers would hang together more. This may be inherent to the turducken, or it may just be due to the company that I bought the turducken from.

The turkey breast meat had a nice smoke ring (not important for taste, I know, but it looks pretty ^_^ ), and was nice and moist. The turducken end was good. The stuffing was really moist and tasty, probably because it trapped all the duck fat. The pieces of duck and chicken meat turned out really good, moist and tasty. I was a little disappointed in how little duck and chicken there was relative to the turkey, however.

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Having done this once, I don't think I'll do it again. It was tasty, but overall my family doesn't eat turkey except at Thanksgiving. We'd rather just cook a duck, or two. We like duck way more than turkey. ^_^ 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I haven’t done a turducken on the kk yet, guess I’ll have to now. Turduckens, and stuffed boneless chickens are fairly common in these parts, and there are some local places around here that do them to order. I did one from Tony Chachere’s, and one from a local shop, the difference was remarkable, and both were oven cooked.

Oh well, off to the butcher shop! Thanks Wilbur!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Glad to hear from you, Wilbur. Been way too long, man!

I've never tried to make one, only bought them. I agree with Robert, the Chachere ones, the only ones that my local market carries, are nothing special. But the shipping costs for me to get a good one are very high, so I haven't done one in a long time. 

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I was at the Stop and Shop grocery today and saw the turkducken for $48.50, never have I seen it before. Mysterious, things come in threes. I picked up a nice pork tenderloin. Hey Wilbur, by the way, you don't happen to have a horse named Ed, do ya? Good to see you back also, I have read your past posts and found them interesting and entertaining

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