Turducken for Thanksgiving

At Grandma’s house

I like the taste of turkey
anytime throughout the year,
but it never seems to taste as good
as when Thanksgiving’s here.
Could be it’s the trimmings
that are cooked with it to eat,
but I think it’s eating at Grandma’s house
that makes it such a treat!

                                                                                                               author unknown


Turducken cut

When I came to the states to work on the book project with Gina, I remembered that several years ago she told me about turducken. At first I thought this was a joke and didn’t really pay attention to it.Putting different birds into each other can be ok, but this all sounded too crazy, as we were talking about WHOLE birds! Anyway, my opinion is that this is such a crazy idea that it would occur only in the United States. That’s exactly what I love about this and it actually makes sense.

Gina’s friends who are now my friends too, invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them. It was traditional and marvelous, but no turducken. Since one of Gina’s friends had to work on Thanksgiving day and the day after, we invited her and her family to join us on Saturday for a Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, this was finally my opportunity to tackle a turducken.I love a challenge and this was it. We took photos as proof that such a thing exists, because my friends in Europe and Iceland would never believe otherwise. So here I publish for everyone who might be interested, how I did this monster bird thing that everyone loved at dinner. I did it “my way” as Frankie Boy would say, meaning I didn’t follow any recipes. When my kids heard of this and saw the pictures, they insisted that turducken be served at our New Years dinner in Iceland. And so it will.

Enough talking. Please try this at home but to make it easier than it was for me, ask your butcher to bone-out the birds for you. Totally de-bone them, but the keep the lower legs and lower wing bones on the turkey, as we want the whole turkey-thing to look like a “normal turkey” when served.

I am not going to give recipes for stuffing, as you can use your favorites. This is more of a how to put it together manual. I did a rice and spinach stuffing as well as a bread stuffing, adding eggs to both stuffings so the stuffing would hold together when the turducken was sliced. To add flavor and color, I liberally sprinkled a mixture of salt, pepper and sage over the turducken before hoisting it into the oven. I made a stock from all of the bones and used it to flavor the stuffings, cook the rice and as a base for the gravy

PS. The tradition is to fill the duck with the chicken and then stuff the duck into the turkey.In this case the chicken was bigger than the duck, so I just decided to layer everything.


Turducken 1

1. Totally bone out all of the birds except the turkey, where you save the lower part of the legs and the lower part of the wings.

Turducken 2

2. Cut a piece out of each breast and use it to cover any gaps. Season the meat.

Turducken with duck

3. Spread stuffing evenly over the turkey. (This is the rice/spinach stuffing.) Place the duck on top then season.

Turducken with filling

4. Spread stuffing on top of the duck so that it totally covers the duck. (This is the bread stuffing.)

Turducken  with chicken

5. Next lay the chicken on top and spread everything so it’s laying evenly on the turkey.

Turducken  2

6. Put the sides together and sew or weave a long pin through the skin so you seal and close the bird.  I used a metal skewer. You might need a helping hand here to hold the turducken while you close it up.

Turducken 3

7. Rub the turducken with olive oil or room temperature butter. I used olive oil.

Turducken 4

8.  Carefully turn the turducken right side up. Seal the gap with another pin and tie the legs together.

Turducken 5

9. Bake at 200F for 9 hours. During the last 30 minutes of baking increase the oven temperature to 350 F. Make sure you have a meat thermometer in the center of the turducken. The turducken is done when the temperature reads 170 F.

Turducken 6

10. Cover and let the turducken rest for at least 30 minutes. This is to keep in all of the flavorful juices.

Turducken sliced warm

11. Cut a slice and see how you did. This looks nice and smells even better – believe me.

 Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, mashed and sweetened sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, salad,  and Gina’s sweet cranberry thing.

Charlotte desert

A Charlotte is the perfect finish for a turducken dinner. It always lights up the female faces.

About Allthatcooking

We are an Icelander living in Sweden and New England Yankee living in Virginia who share not only a great friendship but also a passion for world food. Our particular interest lies in the types of dishes that bring people together at celebrations and during holidays. When we take an occasional break from working on our global cookbook, we post on what is now a side project - our blog . Visit us at www.allthatcooking.com
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20 Responses to Turducken for Thanksgiving

  1. . . . and a good time was had by all. Thanksgiving Saturday was a big hit thanks to Oli.

  2. Dagrun Erla says:

    Wonderful story! but 9 hours? Steinar and i will consider to try this out next Thanksgivingday.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This dish is a labor of love. The stuffing and meat slices look delicious, the step by step process was helpful. Loved the story Olin. The blog is amazing. You and Gins should be very proud. What's next?????

  4. Anonymous says:

    Patti of Nashua, NH…..Loved the Thanksgiving poem. That is my comment above. Finding commenting difficult on kindle. Don't know what "select profile" is so I am having difficulty commenting. The photos of the turducken were excellent…looked delicious. Nice job GINA and OLI!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Really liked the 'play-by-play' pictures of the process. I could almost smell the bird(s)! It looked like a wonderful meal was had by all. :)Verly

  6. Dagrún Ása says:

    Everything looks sooo good mmmm 😉

  7. Dagrún Erla says:

    Reading about the turducken reminded me of the rjupa/ ptarmigan, the most hunted birds here in Iceland, especially in the wintertime and eaten at Christmas. The rjupa has been a traditional Christmas dinner for hundred of years, but nowadays the hunters are allowed 9 days in the wintertime to catch 34.000 birds from the estimated 390.000 hunting stock. Foxes, eagles and falcons take their share and selling the rjupa in stores, is now forbidden. Enthusiastic hunters sometimes get lost in bad weather, but the rescue searchers almost allways bring them back, alive. So there is a shortage of rjupa and some Icelanders think there is no Christmas
    without rjupa and now grouse from Scotland is being imported. This late in the season
    rjupa / ptarmigan may have a strong taste due to the buds they’ve been eating.

    • Hi , maybe it could be a idea to do a put a Ptarmigan into a duck and then the duck into a goose and serve as christmas dinner in Iceland. just wander what we would call it. Thanks to you both for the comment. I love Rjupa ( Ptarmigan)

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  10. Serena Ball says:

    Really! You did it! Amazing! Love all the photos. Maybe I’ll try this…ummm, next year. Whew, gotta work up to it for a year! (:

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  15. That turducken is a MASTERPIECE!

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