Turducken

Turducken

The Spruce / Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs
Servings: 12 to 14 servings

Turducken is a true showstopping main course for Thanksgiving dinner. The term "turducken" is a combination of the words "turkey," "duck," and "chicken," as the dish consists of a chicken stuffed inside a duck that's then stuffed inside a turkey. To make the stuffing and slicing easy, a turducken uses deboned poultry; to save time and effort, ask a butcher to do this for you. When sliced, each piece of turducken contains portions of all three birds with stuffing in between the layers.

Turducken combines the flavors of moist roast poultry and savory stuffing into one glorious dish. It is not difficult to make, but it is a little time-consuming, so plan on adequate preparation time. The end result is worth the effort.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups bread stuffing (prepared, room temperature; divided)
  • 2 cups cornbread stuffing (prepared, room temperature; divided)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (whole berry)
  • 1/4 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick, room temperature)
  • 3 cloves garlic (quartered)
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (10- to 12-pound) turkey (deboned)
  • 1 tablespoon browning sauce (such as Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) duck (deboned)
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken (deboned)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place 2 1/4 cups of the bread stuffing in a bowl. Place 1 1/2 cups of the cornbread stuffing in another bowl.

  3. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of bread stuffing in a third bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup of the cornbread stuffing. Add the whole berry cranberry sauce and pecans and toss gently to combine. You should now have 3 separate bowls of stuffings.

  4. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the butter, garlic, sage, and thyme until the herbs are finely chopped.

  5. Gently run your hand under the turkey skin to make sort of a pocket, but do not separate the skin completely from the meat. Distribute the herb butter mixture evenly under the skin.

  6. Rub the skin with the browning sauce, then the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

  7. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Flip the deboned turkey over so it is open and skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread bread stuffing evenly over the turkey cavity.

  8. Place the duck on top of the bread stuffing, skin-side down. Spread the cranberry nut stuffing on top of the open duck cavity.

  9. Top with the chicken, skin-side down. Spread cornbread stuffing on top of the open chicken cavity. Skewer the back of the chicken closed.

  10. Bring up the sides of the duck to cover the chicken. Skewer the back of the duck closed.

  11. Repeat the process with the turkey.

  12. Carefully turn the turducken over so it is seam-side down and breast-side up. If possible, remove all skewers except the last one holding the turkey together.

  13. Place the turducken in a heavy roaster. Roast 3 to 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the very center of the chicken stuffing reaches 165 F. Baste once per hour with pan juices. If turducken begins to get too brown, tent loosely with heavy-duty aluminum foil that has been coated with vegetable spray.

  14. Let the turducken rest 30 minutes before carving. Slice the turducken across the breast to show off each layer.

Tips

  • Make sure the turkey, duck, and chicken are already deboned (save the bones for stock) before you begin to assemble the turducken.
  • Keep all of the poultry refrigerated until you are ready to use it and do not assemble the turducken until it's ready to go in the oven to avoid foodborne illness from contaminating the stuffing. Cook all of the birds completely to at least 165 F.

Who Invented Turducken?

The origins of turducken are unclear, but the New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme claimed he invented the dish in the 1970s. While the story has its skeptics, the turducken is a popular Thanksgiving main dish in modern Cajun cuisine.