What the Turducken!

Holidays are a time for tradition. We decided it was start a new one. We cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that’s a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!

This isn’t a task to take on unless you are fully committed to the challenge. Patience is your friend while preparing the turducken.

Process

Debone the birds– turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save time. Depending on your expertise, this can take from 45 to 90 minutes.

turducken birds still have their bones
turducken birds sans bones

Stuffing is placed between each meat layer. Feel free to put your own spin on the stuffing. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.

  • Stuffing mix of your choice (we used corn bread)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh sage
  • Minced garlic
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Now for the Turducken!

  • Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper.
  • Lay turkey out flat so it’s ready for the stuffing.
  • Pat the first layer of stuffing on the turkey.
layering stuffing into the turducken
  • Place chicken thighs on top half of turkey, and chicken breasts on the lower half.
adding another layer to the turducken
  • Pat a second layer of stuffing on top of the turkey-chicken combo.
  • Place the duck in the middle of the stuffing layer.
  • Add the last layer of stuffing.
folding up the turducken
folding up the turducken more
stitching the turducken
skewering the turducken
sealed turducken
  • Begin pulling up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers.
  • Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper.
seasoned turduckens

Settings

We doubled up and made two turduckens. One was cooked using a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven.  The other was staged in the CVap oven and then fried in a Collectramatic®  Pressure Fryer.

The roasted turducken was cooked on high yield at 170°F doneness and 4 level browning for six hours, then held overnight for eight hours at 150°F doneness and 1 level browning.

The staged and fried turducken was staged at 165°F and 0 browning overnight for 14 hours and then finished in the fryer for three minutes.

Roasted Turducken –82% yield

roasted turducken
roasted turducken interior

Staged & Fried Turducken– 84% yield

fried turducken
fried turducken
fried turducken interior

The Perfect Turkey in CVap

perfect turkey
perfect turkey

It is easy to cook the perfect turkey in a CVap® oven. There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue. The perfect turkey has a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife. The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.

Brining is an option many cooks exercise, though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include:

sugar
paprika
granulated garlic
granulated onion
peppercorns
salt

thyme
rosemary
Italian parsley
bay leaves
aromatics (onion, celery, carrot)
water

To Brine or Not to Brine?

The benefit of brining a perfect turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.

brining perfect turkey

The Science of a Perfect Turkey

In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8 (new CVap setting would be 190°F Vapor temp/290°F Air temp). We cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.

In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 (new CVap setting would be 180°F Vapor temp/230°F Air temp) for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.

An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.

No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!