Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Turducken on a Tur-Budget

I had volunteered to make a turducken for an intimate get together. My husband and I have been wanting to try one for years so we thought this would be a good opportunity. After researching where to buy one and what one would cost, I started to feel a little bit overwhelmed by the price. I even considered changing the menu. They start at $100. That's a little much this close to Christmas.

That was the start of an entirely new google search. Turducken roulade? In my head I envisioned buying a turkey breast, duck breasts, and chicken breasts, layering them, and rolling them up with kitchen twine. I bought the turkey breast several days ago. Did you know that you get two breasts attached to a bunch of bones? Yeah, awesome.... Then I went by 99 Ranch Market to get the duck. They didn't have breasts, only whole ducks, organs, feet, and leg quarters. So, I bought the leg quarters. And now that I had the leg quarters, I wasn't going to buy chicken breasts when I had perfectly good chicken thighs in my freezer.

All the birds were put in my biggest pot and covered with a sugar and salt brine. After thawing out after a day and a half, I butchered the heck out of everything. I was successful at getting all the bones out, but it was totally gross. Next was the part I envisioned in my head so perfectly. I thought I would lay out all the meat on top of itself and then just roll it up and secure it. Who was I kidding? There was no way I could get it to roll up. Basically I folded everything up and secured it with long skewers. I wish I had photographed that part, not my prettiest culinary moment.

This experience was a good example of how things may not go as I envisioned but still having a successful outcome. As Tim Gunn would say, "make it work." I always do.

Please note that this meal took three days to make, from purchase to table.  If you plan on making this you must, PLAN.

  • one turkey breast 
  • two duck legs quarters
  • two chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup salt for brine
  • 1/4 cup butter cut into pats 
  • Let everything thaw out in the fridge for a day in a brine of water, sugar and salt.
  • Remove the bones from all of your meat. The turkey was the easiest. The duck on the other hand was a little trickier. The tendons and bones are tougher than a chicken's. Click here for a video demo. 
  • Remove the skin from the duck and chicken.
  • Salt and pepper all of your meat.
  • Layer the meat. Turkey on the bottom, next layer is duck and the last is the chicken. 
  • If your turkey is thin enough, you might be able to roll it. If not, do what I did. Fold it over like a taco.
  • Skewer through the turkey to keep it together. 
  • Separate the skin from the meat on the turkey and shove pats of butter under the skin.
  • Leave it overnight in the fridge. 
  • When you are ready to cook your birds, remove the skewers and put your turducken in a turkey bag (follow the directions on the bag.) Cook for 2 hours on 350 degrees. 
  • Check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Poultry thigh meat needs to hit a temp of 175. 
  • Let it rest for an hour before removing from the bag and carving.
  • Enjoy!!!

Roasted red potatoes made a nice side dish to my first turducken.

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