Every November for about the past 15 years, the turducken has been the near-mythical belle of the Thanksgiving ball. I get the appeal; a duck stuffed into a chicken, stuffed into a turkey is just one of those things that conceptually seem ridiculous but when you’re lucky enough to have one in front of you, it makes so much sense. While it seems most regard the Russian nesting doll of poultry as a novelty or some sort of delicious-tasting joke, constructing a turducken is an intensely skilled art. I recently witnessed the hours-long endeavor and let me tell you: while it is mind-blowing, it is no joke. (Later, I mouth-witnessed the final product, and yes. Just yes.)
Don’t settle for some lazy man’s bird-on-bird-on-bird, though. A quick Google image search and you’ll see that most turduckens are Frankensteined together by cutting open the turkey in order to place the other two birds inside. Others are made by shoving random pieces of duck and chicken into the cavity of a turkey. (No one, it seems, cuts out the middleman by letting each bird get hungry enough to just eat the others – but what do I know.)
For the purest form of bird-stuffing art, I went to SF’s leader in all things carnivore: 4505 Meats.
Their take on the turducken is much more literal. To start, they completely debone all three birds (except for the legs and wings of the turkey) – a long, difficult, and skilled task that really bulks up the hand muscles. Once the birds are bone-free, they place the duck inside the chicken, and the chicken inside the turkey, filling each layer with stuffing made from cornbread and Chicken Apple Calvados sausage.
This method retains the classic look of a Thanksgiving turkey (whereas other turduckens do not) and keeps in nearly every single drop of juice. (Oh god, the juice!!) The end result is a pillowy, golden brown, 25-pound masterpiece that you have to keep reminding yourself is nearly 100 percent MEAT! Like, you don’t carve this baby, you slice it like a loaf of bread. Except instead of bread, it’s meat. Layers and layers of meat.
Every year, people go nuts with the mere concept of turduckens, and yet foolishly continue to isolate every other aspect of the meal. This year, why not take things to the next level by consolidating every part of the Thanksgiving feast!
No more dusting off the extra leaves to extend your dining room table. Instead, think of all the space you’ll save by combining all your sides in one dish!
Your small intestine will have a lot to be thankful for when you deliver all your favorite holiday beverages in one sip. Nest your glasses into concentric circles and voilà: caffeine and booze together, just as the Four Loko gods intended.
Too full for dessert? Not anymore! Now you can have just one slice, when one slice has it all.
You know what? Fuck it, we’re on a roll! Why stop at the food? Turducken (it’s a verb now) your relatives while you’re at it. Not only will your favorite spot on the couch be safe, but all those awkward conversations about why you’re still single or unemployed can be covered in one, simple, massively heavy sigh.
As we approach this treasured holiday, ask yourself, WWPD (what would pilgrims do)? I can assure you that they would totally blow the minds of their pilgrim families by feeding them birds stuffed into other birds.
4505 Meats is taking orders for their turducken here. For $380, turducken comes completely prepared and ready for the oven with a built-in, preset cable thermometer. But again: WHY STOP THERE? The side dish they created for this photo shoot, aka, "Thanksgiving sides en croute", was so incredible that they decided to make those available as well. (Really.) Bring this pair of masterpieces to your Thanksgiving and I guarantee, you will be the only thing your all-in-one relative gives thanks to this year.
Huge thanks to Three Babes Bakeshop for not only masterfully creating our turducken-esque pie, but also for being so awesomely stoked on the idea.
We took a ton of photos during the turducken-construction but they're a little intense, as the process of deboning animals tends to be. For you strong-stomached meat lovers, we've put together a slideshow of outtakes. (For vegetarians, our apologies.)