Can you see the dragon?
It was a few weeks ago when Steve of CajunGrocer.com emailed me and asked if Meathenge would like a turducken. I’m thinkin’, “A turducken for ‘review’? A review copy of a turducken? Sheet yeah I do!”
I have a book and a water filtration system in the wings for a review, but this bird wasn’t going to wait. It was thawing and needed attention and I’m just the caring soul who’s ready and willing. And speaking of willing, let’s talk a moment about shilling. Yup, that’s right. I know many of us non-professional writers/bloggers are pretty cagey when it comes to accepting free stuff. Let’s see what the dictionary has to say about it.
1. To act as a shill for (a deceitful enterprise).
2. To lure (a person) into a swindle.
This my good people, is not what I’m up to. Let’s move on, shall we?
Steve said he’d never had a smoked turducken, so it was a pretty easy choice. The instructions for the bird said it needed to defrost in the fridge for 48 hours, so I had a few days to figure out my game plan. It was during this time that I began to think, “Man, that’s one large meat bomb you got there Biggles. Do I trust whomever it was that put this beast together to do it right? I mean, I got in to this whole grilling/smoking deal because I wasn’t impressed with commercial food stuffs. I like things spicy with flavors, I’ll bet it doesn’t have enough flavors. And who knows where that meat came from? What have I done.” I continued on and made plans in my head for this bird’s journey.
Turkeys don’t really have much fat to them, so I wanted to jack the heat a bit in the smoker. Figuring maybe between 250 and 275 would be a good start. Probably use one of my roaster racks to hold it steady. Thought maybe the V shaped rack would be nice, it’d give the meat blob some shape.
Then I started thinking, wait a minute. I need to make sure the center of that bird isn’t a block of ice when it hits the smoker. See, with a standard turkey action, if it isn’t completely thawed you can sit in cool water and you’re set. But this bird was filled with 2 other birds, stuffing & Cajun sausage. After 48 hours in the fridge, the center was still at 27 degrees. Okay, so we’re not having turducken today folks.
At 5 days in middle of the fridge, it was time.
30 degrees was going to have to be enough. What this is telling me though is that the turkey could very well be done while the inner birds and stuffing will still be probably 70 degrees. I had 2 possible routes I could take. 1 being putting bacon under the skin, over the breast meat and 2, cooking the bird upside down. It was at that moment I put 2 and 16 together. That bird has sausage and a duck in it! Plenty of fat for everyone. It was decided, cook it upside down and flip to finish.
Here’s Tiny E’s reaction when he finds out what’s inside the turkey.
It took a few hours to get the outdoor kitchen set up and a fire mellowed and ready. Charcoaled apple wood for fuel and hickory chips fer flavor. While I do know my smoker quite well, I wanted to make sure I didn’t screw anything up. So, I put a thermometer at meat level to see what temp I was at. Well, sure enough, I was at 220. I already had a good fire going, it looks as though I was going to have to use the extra rack in my smoker and raise the turkey up higher. This brought me up to about 260 degrees, excellent. But it was so high in the smoker I couldn’t use the roaster rack! Sigh, okay, where’s my spray extra virgin? Grease up the rack and off we go. Don’t want to lose any yummy skin.
I wanted to make sure the boneless ball of meat had some flavor, so tossed chips in every 20 to 30 minutes. Wanna see what it looked like 4.5 hours later?
Let’s take a moment and just watch it sit there. Wow.
Well, if it were in the 350 degree oven, it’d be way done by now. But we’re still a ways out and it’s time to flip it. How’d I do that? There’s only 1 easy, yet safe way to move this bird around. With leather gloves, make sure you got some, eh? Because if your smoker, like mine, has the heat on one side, you’re going to need to not only flip it, but you’ll need to rotate it as well. I started mines out with the dark meat towards the heat.
Backtracking a moment, I believe it was at the 4 hour mark was when I could smell the stuffing and sausage cooking. This is a good thing. What you see above is the turducken that is completely done to 167 degrees internal temperature (at the center of the bird, in the stuffing).
The smells of the spices and herbs were excellent, I was feeling far better about this Turducken thing. After resting for 20 minutes, it was time to carve. The legs and wings came right off, sliiice. When they say boneless, they mean boneless. The entire middle section of the bird sliced up just like a loaf, a meaty loaf.
As I sliced I noticed that the skin of the duck & chicken had been removed. The lower portion of the bird and the neck cavity had been stuffed with sausage and the center was filled with cornbread stuffing. Each slice provided a little more or less of one thing or another. It was rich and full of good flavors and to much to my amazement, it did have some zing to it. No really, this premade turducken was most excellent. Even the breast meat was moist, dark meat downright juicy. Of course smoking it added a dimension that won’t be found in the oven version. Oh, we suffer so.
After all was said and done 9 diners all gave 2 thumbs up to Cajun Grocer’s Turducken. I figure it’d feed about 10 hungry lab assistants.
Jlee and I did have an idea as to another way of serving the ball of fun, either for the main meal or leftovers. Turducken sandwiches! Um, but it went so quick, all of it. I didn’t get to try it out either way, sorry about that. Mebbe next time.
I do have 2 complaints about the bird & packaging. I noticed when I flipped the bird over to install it in the smoker, it had only been seasoned on the top. Considering this bird is boneless, except for the legs & wings, all portions consumed must be spiced. I have plenty of Cajun Seasoning on hand, so it wasn’t a problem. Also, I would like to see a brightly colored tri-fold brochure in with the package. Someone paid a good amount of money for this treasure and it’d be nice to sit down and read something about it. History, variables, stories, my photographs that kind of stuff.
Thank you to everyone at Cajun Grocery for a tasty & fun meal.