What’s your family’s traditional entrée for Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey or ham? Or do you prefer the increasingly popular third Thanksgiving tradition: Turducken? If you haven’t heard of turducken – it’s short for turkey, duck and chicken. Literally, three deboned birds stuffed one inside the other, between layers of dressing, and tied up like a rump roast. Each vertical slice contains three types of meat, three layers of stuffing, and five times the calories of a run-of-the-mill stuffed turkey. Or about 1,700 calories a serving.
The origins of the turducken are murky, but most people credit its creation to the famous Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme. It’s very popular in Louisiana, where it’s been served year ‘round since at least the early ‘80s and it’s especially popular for Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Super Bowl parties. It’s also a big favorite of NFL commentator, John Madden – who often sends frozen turduckens to quarterbacks as a “go get ‘em” incentive during the playoffs. All kinds of celebrity chefs share their favorite recipes on TV and on their Websites, including Southern cook, Paula Deen.
If you’d like to serve turducken this Thanksgiving, you can get a frozen one FedExed to your house from several vendors, including Tony Cachere’s in Louisiana, which sells about 70,000 a year. A 12 pound turducken, with extra dressing and a cookbook, can be yours for $60 plus shipping. Of course, you can make one yourself, but the entire process will take two full days of deboning, chopping, sautéing, baking, and even sewing to get the thing in the oven – and will cost more than $100 in groceries. If you don’t pack it in a tight-enough roasting pan, it may burst all over your oven – because the whole thing is held together only by turkey skin and twine. Still, fans say it’s worth every minute of effort once you take your first bite. By the way – to burn off one 1,700 calorie serving of turducken, the average person would have to walk briskly for 2-and-a-half hours, and play a 2-hour game of flag football.