The Truth About Turducken


TurduckenDoes anyone really enjoy turducken?  It’s a conversation piece on the dinner table, but  is it worth it?  The hype surrounding turducken has more to do with the recipe, than the actual taste of the dish.  It’s a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey.  Thus, the portmanteau “turducken”.  Individually all items are delicious on their own merit, but combined, it’s a colossal time consuming process that doesn’t garner any more flavor.

Not a novel concept, some believe turducken is actually a toned down American version of an Arabic dish, whole stuffed camel.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists the recipe as the largest item on any menu in the world.  Supposedly, whole stuffed camel is prepared occasionally for Bedouin wedding feasts of sheiks.  According to legend, the recipe steps are:  Cook eggs.  Stuff eggs into fish.  Cook the fish.  Stuff the fish into cooked chickens.  Stuff the cooked chickens into roasted sheep.  Stuff the roasted sheep carcass into a whole camel . . . now cook to taste.  In the United Kingdom, turducken variations include five-bird roast, three-bird roast, royal roast, and Pandora’s cushion all of which  have some variety of fowl such as turkey, duck, chicken, goose, pheasant, pigeon, partridge, or quail.  The concept of stuffing meat inside of meat in this fashion dates back to the ancient Roman era.  I suppose you could expect turducken to make an appearance in an episode of Games of Thrones or at Renaissance fair, but other than that who has time for turducken today ?

You can thank football commentator, John Madden, for trying to popularize turducken in the United States.  He carved one on television during a sports broadcast.  Later, he awarded a turducken to each player on the winning team of the Thanksgiving Bowl.  Despite his efforts, even John Madden gave up on turducken and returned to a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving.  Guess he realized, “Aint nobody got time for that!”

For those who read this with hopes of finding a recipe for turducken, I’m including this link to a recipe on Serious Eats.  I haven’t tried it – nor will I.  I usually opt for a fried turkey.  You can check out a technique for frying a turkey here.

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