In November 2003, I became acquainted with a culinary phenomenon known as a turducken. I described it thusly (and yes, I was blogging in 2003. I am a nerd.): "this is a chicken in a duck in a turkey, with layers of stuffing in between." Indeed it is. Back in 2003, I decided that I would partake in said gastronomic delight the following year. Well, dear readers, I am sad to report that it took me FIVE years to get to that turducken, but this year, thanks to the generous folks at The Cajun Grocer, I got to experience it first hand.
Now I'm not sure how they found me, but when I received an email asking if I'd like a turducken, I had to restrain myself from sending an email that said "HOLY FUCK, YEAH! I SURE DO!!!" I think, instead, I responded a tad more subtly, with "Would love one, thank you!!" When I got the email announcing its imminent arrival, I did a little dance around my apartment, like a 12 year old girl who had just gotten asked to the dance by the captain of the football team or something (I wouldn't know -- I was never asked to the dance by the captain of the football team. Thank the lord.). The beast of beauty arrived a short time later, frozen and packaged in a styrofoam container. I placed it in the fridge to thaw for several days and decided to serve it up for the following Sunday, which was right before Thanksgiving. I invited about 20 people to help me out -- I didn't want to have tons of turducken leftovers before heading off for the holiday, and had folks bring drinks, apps, and desserts. I made a few sides and whatnot, but my main goal was -- the turducken.
I realized fairly early on that my largest roasting pan was not quite big enough for the bird. That said, I made do, fitting it in with barely enough room to spare. I had to buy one piece of equipment for the occasion -- a new baster. The rubber bulb on mine had melted from storing it in the cabinet next to the oven. Apartment living. Sigh. I used my digital meat probe thermometer and set it about 5 degrees shy of their recommended temperature. I roasted it at 325 degrees and basted it every so often. Finally my thermometer beeped, announcing that it had cooked thoroughly, and out it came.
Here is where I will admit my mistakes. First, I think I should have set the thermometer about 10 degrees lower than the recommended 165 degrees, to allow for resting time. Second, I think I had jammed the thermometer probe a little too far in, so that it was measuring more stuffing than bird. Perhaps I should have left it in the thigh? Either way, I overcooked it a bit. In was in longer than the recommended time, as I was relying more on the thermometer rather than the clock. Finally, we probably didn't carve it all that well. I don't have a proper carving knife, and I think we were so eager to get it out that we sort of mangled it while carving it up. That said, it was quite good. Nicely seasoned, with a definite Southern bent due to the pork and cornbread stuffing. Had I remembered to serve the cranberry sauce I made alongside it, it might have been that much better, but regardless, my guests and I gobbled it up (pun totally intended, leaving only the drumsticks and wings, which I happily finished off over the next few days.
We agreed, en masse, that the turducken would become an annual tradition, perhaps every Sunday before Thanksgiving. Thanks again, Cajun Grocer, for sending along 15 lbs of Cajun-y turducken deliciousness and getting us all warmed up for the holiday season! You can read more about the particular turducken I got here, and the full, ridiculous picture gallery is here.