My two cousins, Lynsey and Darcie, had decided to take on the challenge of making a turducken this long weekend. They asked me if I would like to be part of the team, and I jumped at the chance. I heard about turducken years ago and have wanted to try making this monstrosity as well. Being it is three birds, it would have been quite an undertaking on one’s own, so a team of three (and more for the eating) was very sensical.
We had a pre-meeting earlier in the week to choose stuffing recipes and decide on the other dishes we would serve with our meal. We discovered more research was required to figure out cooking time for the turducken, since some recipes suggested 13 hours and others said 5 (which we later discovered was for a tabletop roaster I think — it wasn’t entirely clear).
Friday, we met to de-bone our birds and get our stuffings ready.
With the aid of Lynsey’s good knives, we embarked on the de-boning process. All that is required for the chicken and duck is to cut out the backbone and then separate the ribs and breastbone from the bird, lifting the rib section out while leaving the breasts still attached. The wing bones are worked down and removed (and actually we just removed the whole tip of the wing since there’s not much meat on it anyways), and the thigh bones until the first joint are worked down as well and removed. The drumstick bone is easily cut out by slicing along its length. Easy as pie (really much easier than we expected).
You can see to the right the turkey and chicken splayed and de-boned. The turkey’s lower wing bones and drumstick bones are left in, but the chicken and duck are entirely boneless. The duck, which I don’t have a picture of, ended up in a couple of pieces since we decided to remove the skin (none of us relished the idea of a thick layer of fat in our turducken).
As the birds lost their bones, stuffing was also made. We decided on three stuffings: a traditional turkey stuffing that’s been made in our family for years (left), a stuffing with chicken sausage in it, and a pistachio, pine nut, and bacon stuffing (right). Honestly, looking back now, we agree one kind of stuffing would have been sufficient since it was hard to discern the three separate stuffings when eating anyways.
Since Paula Deen’s Food Network recipe for Turducken was one of our reference recipes, we decided to brine our birds as per the instructions. So a simple salt and brown sugar brine was made and the birds sat in the brine bath overnight, awaiting their assembly and roasting the next day.