I used to limit Food GPS to meals that people can repeat in restaurants, but a recent family tradition has proven too powerful to ignore: the turducken. For the past four Christmases, my father and stepmother Jane have mail-ordered a turducken from Cajun Grocer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a turducken is a conglomeration of three boneless birds, a turkey wrapped around a duck, wrapped around a chicken. Cajun Grocer offers several different fillings, but we always order the version crammed with sausage cornbread stuffing. I first learned about the turducken watching Thanksgiving Day football games announced by John Madden, who awarded the game’s MVP with a turducken. His version was affixed with six drumsticks. We only received two sticks, but didn’t feel slighted in the least.
Turducken prep is easy. All you have to do is thaw the bird and pop it in the oven for 4-5 hours. Carve the bird width-wise and you’ll see the distinct layers of meat. The juices drip from bird to bird and infuse the sausage cornbread stuffing, forming a flavor spectrum that’s greater than the sum of its parts. For $75 plus shipping, this 15-pound Franken-bird can be yours, and it’s good for 20 sizable servings.
After my father carved the bird(s), it was clear that the prescribed 20 servings was an understatement.
Man (or woman) can’t live on turducken alone, so we added some knockout sides, including cipollini onions roasted with balsamic vinegar, a garlicky spinach and parsnip casserole, herb-roasted carrots and mashed sweet potatoes flavored with nutmeg.
For dessert, we ate slabs of rich, liquor-soaked buche de Noel with a caramelized pear center and accompanying scoops of vanilla ice cream.
The most exciting part of Christmas used to involve opening the stocking and the presents. Now it’s undoubtedly the turducken feast with family and friends.
September 2, 2009 at 7:43 PM
We have enjoyed Turduckens from Cajun Specialty Meats for years. Wonderful meal that should be tried and enjoyed by all. Not just for Cajuns!
January 6, 2009 at 9:22 PM
I hope this doesn’t mean you’ll lay off the turducken. Cajuns ate turduckens long before me, and it’s the kind of experience that every self-respecting carnivore should have.
January 6, 2009 at 7:28 PM
ha, you beat us to the punch — me and the others who did the jungle food marathon were talking about gathering for a a collaborative turducken feast!
January 5, 2009 at 9:43 AM
wow, my dream is to eat a turducken after reading jeffrey steingarten’s article on the dish.