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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Cook a Turducken for the Holidays

It's a chicken, in a duck, in a turkey...

What You'll Need:

* 2 3/4 cups prepared savory bread stuffing, at room temperature, divided

2 cups prepared cornbread stuffing, at room temperature, divided
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce4 tbsp butter
6 fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, quarteredKosher salt and black pepper, freshly ground
1 10-to-12-lb turkey, deboned
1 4-to-5-lb duck, deboned
1 3-to-4-lb chicken, deboned
1 tbsp browning sauce
1 tbsp olive oil


2 baking sheets
ScissorsButcher's twine
3 large mixing bowlsFood processorSmall bowlKitchen shearsMeat thermometerCarving knife

Recipe Details

Servings: 12 to 14

Prep time: 1 hour

Total time: 5 hours

Step 1: Preparation

1. Heat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven. This draws out the essential oils and the deeper flavors, creating a richer pecan taste. After removing the tray from the oven, leave the oven at its current temperature. Cut three long pieces of butcher's twine.

2. Place two and one-fourth cups of bread stuffing into a large mixing bowl. A second large bowl should have a half a cup of bread stuffing and a half a cup of cornbread stuffing. The third large bowl should contain one and a half cups of cornbread stuffing. In the bowl with equal parts of both stuffings, stir in the cranberry sauce and pecans.

3. To create the compound butter, blend the butter, sage, thyme, garlic and a small amount of salt and pepper in a food processor. Transfer this mixture into a small bowl.

Step 2: Assembling the Turducken

1. Place the turkey skin-side down onto a baking sheet. Season the insides of the turkey thoroughly with salt and pepper.

2. On the inside of the turkey, create a small pocket on one side, right between the skin and the meat. Add half of the compound butter inside this pocket.

3. Create another pocket on the other side and put in the other half of the compound butter. This will keep the turkey moist while baking and adds the flavor of the herbs.

3. Add some of the plain bread stuffing onto the top of the turkey. Lay the duck skin-side down on top of the turkey. Add some of the pecan-cranberry stuffing onto the top of the duck.

4. Lay the chicken skin-side down on top of the duck. Add some of the plain cornbread stuffing onto the top of the chicken.

Step 3: Tying, Roasting and Carving

1. Turn the baking sheet so that the turkey's breast points away from you and the legs face you. Place a length of twine under the legs, then bring it forward until it reaches the middle of the turkey. Pull each end towards the other around the turkey, then tie a tight double knot.

2. Place a second length of twine under the legs, then bring it to thigh height. Use it to pull the thighs close together and then tie another double knot.

3. Pull the flap of neck skin up onto the turkey to cover the stuffing as much as it can. Place a piece of twine under the breast, then bring it to wing height. Feel free to turn the baking sheet if necessary. Use the twine to pull the wings upward and then double knot it. Make sure the wings' ends are tucked in to avoid burning them.

4. Use the kitchen shears to trim the excess twine off of each knot. Now, carefully flip over the turkey, using a hand to prevent the stuffing from falling out. If a small amount does fall out, add it back in wherever you can.

5. Rub the browning sauce over the skin side of the turkey, then rub in the olive oil. The olive oil helps the skin become crispy. Season the skin with salt and pepper, which aids in carmelization.

6. Stick a meat thermometer into the center of the chicken stuffing. Roast the turducken in the oven for three to four hours. Once the thermometer reads 165ºF (74ºC), the turducken is ready to be taken out. Use the kitchen shears to cut the butcher's twine, then remove all of the twine.

7. Let the turducken rest for 30 minutes. Remove the thermometer. Slice into the turducken, starting in the center of the breastbone area and carving towards the legs. Make sure to slice through all three layers of meat.


* When buying your chicken, duck and turkey, ask your butcher for some butcher's twine. They may give it to you free of charge.

* Make sure to roast the turducken immediately after you've put it together. Refrigerating it to roast later creates a risk of stuffing contamination, which leads to foodborne illnesses.
* Because the side of the turkey that is closed with twine won't be seen by the diners...

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