Good Cooking since 1995
Convert the recipe
Works in most Browsers
Since the Turducken takes about 12 to 13 hours to cook (and then it needs to cool at least 1 hour before it’s carved), you will need to plan your time wisely. First, be sure your oven temperature control is accurate. A good thing to know, though, is that since you are cooking the Turducken at such a low temperature (assuming your oven temperature is accurate!), you can leave it cooking a couple of extra hours with no harm done; and once it’s removed from the oven, the Turducken will stay hot for several hours.You can bone the meat (be sure to save the bones and necks for making stock) and assemble the Turducken the day before cooking. Keep the Turducken refrigerated until ready to cook. Make the gravy after the Turducken comes out of the oven.
To stuff the Turducken itself, you will need about 12 cups, (3 quarts) of dressing. It’s also nice to serve additional dressing in bowls at the table.If you’re inexperienced at boning fowl, start with the turkey; because of its size, you can more easily see the bone structure. After boning the turkey, the duck and chicken will go much faster. And remember, each time you do a Turducken it gets easier; it doesn’t take magical cooking abilities, it just takes care.
Chestnut Dressing 4-5 quarts, You may use dressing of your choice. Oyster, Cornbread, or Sausage in addition or in place of chestnut.
1 (4-inch) needle (a needle with a curved tip works well)
1 (20- to 24-pound) turkey
Strong thread, for sewing up the fowl, use white not colored
1 (4 1/2 - to 5-pound) duckling
1 (16 x 12-inch) baking pan, at least 2½ inches deep
1 (3- to 3½-pound) chicken
1 pan, larger than the 16 x 12-inch pan, that the smaller pan will fit inside with some extra room,
2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper
Make your dressing(s); cover well and refrigerate. Then bone the fowl. Keep the following in mind:
1. Your goal is to end up with one large piece of essentially boneless turkey meat; the finished product will contain only the tip end of each leg bone and the first two joints of each wing. You will end up with one piece of completely boneless duck meat and one piece of completely boneless chicken meat.
2. Be careful not to pierce the skin except for the initial slits.
3. Allow yourself plenty of time. Approach the boning procedure with a gentle, carefully - the meat is not tough and you want to end up with as much of it as possible.
4. Bone one side of each bird - either the left or right - before doing the other side.5. Use a sharp knife and use mainly the tip; stay close to the bone at all times with the knife.
Bone the Turkey
Place the turkey, breast down, on a flat surface. Make an incision the entire length of the spine through the skin and flesh. Starting from the neck end and using the tip of the knife, follow as close to the bone as you can cut, carefully teasing the skin and meat away from the frame. Toward the neck end, cut through the meat to expose the shoulder blade (feel for it first and cut through small amounts of meat at a time if you have trouble locating it); cut the meat away from around the bone and sever the bone at the joint so you can remove the blade.
Disjoint the wing between the second and third joint; free the heavy drumstick of the wing and remove it, being careful to leave the skin intact. Continue teasing the meat away from the backbone, heading toward the thighbone and being careful to keep the "oyster" (pocket of meat on the back) attached to the skin instead of leaving it with the bone. Cut through the ball-and-socket joint to release the thighbone from the carcass; you should now be able to open up the bird more in order to better see what bones are still left to deal with. Continue teasing the meat away from the carcass until you reach the center front of the breastbone. Then very carefully separate the skin from the breastbone at the midline without piercing the skin (go slowly because the skin is very thin at this point). Repeat the same boning procedure on the other side (left or right) of the turkey, with the turkey still breast down. When both sides are finished, carefully remove the carcass. Then remove the thighbone and leg bone on each side as follows. Being careful not to break through the skin, use a small hammer to break the leg bone completely across, about two inches from the tip end. Then manipulate both ends of the bone with your hands to be sure the break is complete. Leave the tip of the bone in, but remove the leg bone and thighbone as one unit. To do this, cut the meat away from around the thighbone first, using the knife tip; then, holding the thighbone up with one hand, use the other hand to carefully cut the meat away from around the leg-thigh joint. (Don’t cut through this joint, and don’t worry if it seems as if you’re leaving a lot of meat around the joint - it can’t be helped and, besides, it will add flavor when you make the stock with the bones!) Then use the blade of the knife to scrape the meat away from the leg bone; remove the leg-thigh bone. With your hands or the knife, one by one remove as many pin bones from the leg meat as possible; then, if necessary, pull the tip of the leg bone to turn the meat to the inside (so the skin is on the outside and it looks like a turkey again). Refrigerate.
Bone the Duck
Place the duck, breast down, on a flat surface and follow the same procedure as you did to bone the turkey, except this time you will remove all the bones, instead of leaving in part of the wing and leg bones.
To bone each wing, cut off the first two joints of the wing (and save for stock), leaving the wing’s drumstick; cut the meat from around the drumstick and remove this bone.When you reach the thigh, follow the thigh-leg bone with the knife blade to release the bone as one unit, again being careful not to cut through the skin.
Trim some of the excess skin and fat from the neck area; cut the skin in small pieces and reserve it for making the gravy; discard the fat. Refrigerate the duck and skin pieces.
Bone the Chicken
Use precisely the same procedure to bone the chicken as you used to bone the duck.
Assemble the Turducken
Spread the turkey, skin down, on a flat surface exposing as much meat as possible. Sprinkle the meat with 1/3 of the salt and pepper, patting it in with your hands. (Be sure to turn the leg, thigh and wing meat to the outside so you can season it, too.) then stuff some of the cold dressing into the leg, thigh and wing cavities until full but not tightly packed (if too tightly packed, it may cause the leg and wing to burst open during cooking). Spread an even layer of the dressing over the remaining exposed meat, about ½ to ¾-inch thick. You should use a total of about 7 cups dressing.
Place the duck, skin down, on top of the dressing, arranging the duck evenly over the dressing. Season the exposed duck meat generously and evenly with about 2 teaspoons salt and pepper, pressing it in with your hands. Then spread cold dressing evenly over the expose duck meat, making the layer slightly less thick than the first dressing, about ½ inch thick. Use a total of about 4 cups dressing.
Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top of the dressed duck. Season the exposed chicken meat with about 2 teaspoons more salt and pepper, pressing it in with your hands. Spread more cold dressing evenly over the exposed chicken meat, using about 3 cups dressing and making the layer about ½ inch thick.
Enlist another person’s help to carefully lift the open Turducken into an ungreased 16 x 12-inch baking pan that is at least 2½ inches deep. (Note: This pan size is ideal because the Turducken fits snugly in the pan and stays in the proper shape while cooking.) As you lift the Turducken into the pan, fold the sides of the turkey together to close the bird. Have your helper hold the turkey closed while you sew up all openings, making the stitches about 1 inch apart; when you finish sewing up the Turducken on the first side, turn it over in the pan to sew closed any openings on the other side. Then tie the legs together just above the tip bones. Leave the Turducken breast side up in the pan, tucking in the turkey wings.Place the Turducken pan in a slightly larger pan with sides at least 2½ inches deep, so that the larger pan will catch the overflow of drippings during cooking. Season the exposed side of the Turducken generously and evenly with the remaining salt and pepper, patting it in with your hands. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
Bake at 190° until done, about 12 to 13 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted through to the center reads 165°. (Note: There is no need to baste, but you will need to remove accumulated drippings from the Turducken pan every few hours so that the lower portion of the turkey doesn’t "deep fry" in the hot oil.) When done, remove the Turducken from oven and let cool in its pan at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the gravy with some of the pan drippings and the reserved duck skin. With strong spatulas inserted underneath (remember there are no bones to support the bird’s structure), carefully transfer the Turducken to a serving platter and present it to your guests before carving. Then place the Turducken on a flat surface to carve. Be sure to make your slices crosswise so that each slice contains all three dressings and all three meats. (It’s easy to do this and still have manageable size servings if you slice the Turducken in half lengthwise, then cut servings crosswise to the desired thickness from one side of the Turducken at a time.) Serve additional bowls of the dressings on the side.
About 2 gallons cold water
6 medium onions, unpeeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, separated into ribs
1 large head garlic, unpeeled and halved crosswise to expose meat
1½ to 2 pounds bones and necks from the turkey, duck and chicken, excluding livers.
Always start with cold water. Enough to cover all the ingredients.
Place all ingredients in a very large stockpot; bring to a boil over high heat, then gently simmer at least 2 hours, preferably 3. Strain, cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 6 quarts
My special health note: I remove the chicken and duck skin before assemble. I might be fussy, but I don't think it's a good idea to eat all the extra fat.