How Do You Really Make A Turducken, Anyway?

You've probably heard about it on TV, passing it off as some ridiculous and fictional idea that could only be heard on some nonsense sitcom. You may have heard of it being undertaken by chefs both amateur and professional, thinking to yourself that it sounds like a pretty extravagant waste of food. You never thought that three of Earth's most delicious birds can be combined together into one "super-bird," deep-fried and stewed in its own rich and savory juices. That's right, dear readers, we're talking about the bird to end all birds: the turducken.

The true inventor of the turducken (which, for those wondering, is a combination of turkey, duck, and chicken in one gigantic roast bird) is still somewhat of a mystery. Mental Floss notes that the idea of a "turducken" may go as far back as 1774, when a recipe for stuffing turkey full of pigeons, partridges, and other birds was published in a cookbook. Food52, however, credits the turducken's rise to fame to chef Paul Prudhomme, who, while not necessarily being the sole inventor of the dish, helped to popularize it in mainstream cooking in the 1980s and 1990s. A particular fan of this fowl combination was the legendary football coach and sportscaster John Madden, who, according to ESPN, loved the dish so much he actually tore into it with his bare hands in between announcing a game. 

But how exactly do you make a turkey-duck-chicken roast to begin with? How can you divine the secrets of this poultry?

You're going to need a lot of meat

If you or someone you know brags about a mastery of the Thanksgiving turkey, perhaps you or said other person may be able to take on the challenge of preparing the mighty turducken.

According to Food Network's recipe, the turducken requires not only deboning a turkey, duck, and chicken but also requires two kinds of stuffing to fill the massive dish with. Once the birds have been de-boned, the recipe calls for the turkey to be layered with cornbread dressing and the two kinds of stuffing, then the duck followed by another layer of stuffing, and then the chicken. You might need someone else there to help truss the beast. After that, it's a quick trip into the oven at 200 degrees F for 12 hours, until the turducken is golden brown and rich with its own juices.

The New York Times' recipe is a bit less intensive. The recipe calls for only one kind of sausage stuffing and only 6 hours in the oven compared to 12. One still needs to follow the layering of meat and stuffing, and two people are still needed to help truss the turducken. The turducken, it seems, is not a bird to be taken lightly.

If you aren't feeling that eager to feed your guests this ultra-turkey, you can always take a look at some classic and beloved Thanksgiving dishes to substitute.