“Well, we knocked the bastard off !” – Sir Edmund Hillary
Alright loyal eaters, we’ve arrived at the mother lode of food preparation on the list of 30: the turducken. We’re talking about 35 pounds of poultry layered like delicious nesting dolls of meat and stuffing. But brace yourself, the preparation is not pretty. Or brief. So you might need snacks for this post. Actually, skip the snacks and just get a beer. I will do my best to keep the pictures tasteful and the steps concise.
Put on your mountain climbing face…turducken is the Everest of the poultry world.
Step 1. Hire a sherpa: Read your recipe (over and over) and plot a strategy.
I got a little help with this challenge. A friend had convinced me to include turducken on my list, with the promise that he would help me my first go around. He was the Tenzing Norgay to my Hillary.
Per my friend’s suggestion, we used Paul Prudhomme’s recipe for turducken. The recipe is incredibly thorough and has ALL the ingredients and steps listed, including for the stuffing(s). Yes, plural. Also, the final item on the ingredient list IS “1 small hammer”. I warned you it wasn’t pretty.
I’m not even going to attempt to summarize the recipe, but you can see the whole thing here. I read this recipe over and over in the days before cooking so I would have a big picture idea of the whole process and so I wouldn’t panic from the altitude (altitude/butchering).
Step 2. Assemble your climbing gear: Shop for ingredients and order your birds.
We ordered the birds from a specialty deli and had them defrosted on site. If you’re local, B&B Deli is the way to go. Plus, while we were waiting for our birds (and lunch!), I got an appetizer.
And yes, that’s a piece of deep fried bacon. They have EVERYTHING at B&B and it’s locally sourced, nose to tail. I even spotted the elusive sweetbreads in a freezer case. Also, I knew we were in the right place when I spotted this:
Step 3. Map out the climb: Set your plan of attack.
The turducken party was set for a Saturday evening. So, I made the stuffing on a Thursday night, Friday evening was reserved for assembly, and the “bird” cooked for about 8 hours on Saturday. Yes…that’s three days total. Take the time to develop your strategy and set up your base camp before you head to the summit.
As my counterpart said, “Turducken is less like cooking and more like staging a military invasion.”