Monday, August 22, 2011

Turbaconducken and Me

It all started innocently enough. Someone--either out of their sincere desire to entertain my Facebook-only obsession with bacon, or out of some deep-seated malice for me--pointed me to a link on  At first glance, they had pointed me to what appeared to be a straightforward recipe-a turkey wrapped in bacon.

But then I dug a little deeper, and what unfolded before me was enough to stop even the largest man among us dead in his tracks. No, not in wonder and amazement. Not in awe and admiration. This thing could stop him, with one glance, by inducing large amounts of plaque to suddenly collect near the heart and cause his arteries to harden irreversibly.  They would be so hard, that a titanium chisel, driven by Thor's hammer itself, would not be able to make nary a dent.

What unfolded before me was (drum roll)... ... ... THE TURBACONDUCKEN (gasp!)

Yes, you read that correctly: Turkey, bacon, duck, and chicken.  Take your basic Turducken, wrap the various components in bacon, and you begin to get an idea of what was about to occur... sort of.

Now before you go any further, this is not a post about how to make a Turbaconducken.  This is a post about my experience making a lazy-man's version of what should be a meaty masterpiece comparable in austerity to the Pieta. If you want to know how to make a Turbacoducken, Google is your friend, you're an adult (right?), and you're no stranger to Internet searches.  Get thee to a search engine...

I apparently did not (thankfully) have a very good reference for making this, er, dish, and I took some inadvertent shortcuts.  Well, ok, I took one very big shortcut. I didn't debone the chicken, the duck, or the turkey.  The only thing that didn't have bones was the bacon.

I began to assemble the ingredients. We bought as big a turkey as we could find; more than 25 pounds. We found a decent size duck and a chicken. Then we bought a whole bunch of thick-cut, peppered bacon.

The first step was to cut up the chicken for "stuffing" into the duck.  I'm using proverbial air quotes when I type "stuffing".  With all the bones still in place, this is a very loose use of the term "stuffing". But the chicken has to be cut into its constituent parts so you can wrap each piece individually in bacon, and "stuffing" it into the duck is much easier if it's not whole.

Then I split the duck in half thinking that'd probably facilitate filling it with the chicken parts.  Once stuffed, I wrapped the whole assembly in more... bacon. (Random Jim Gaffigan thought: That made me thirsty for more bacon.)

But I digress... Where was I?
Ah, yes, the chicken is wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a duck wrapped in bacon, ready to be stuffed in a turkey. A turkey which will eventually also be wrapped in bacon.

At this point I began to wonder why I had started on this endeavor. Apparently I did not have enough to do, or I had so much to do, I was procrastinating something.  Whatever it was, I wasn't running thanks to a PITA injury from the summer, so I was in the kitchen exercising my culinary muscles in my spare time.

After much struggling and wrapping and stuffing and re-wrapping and re-stuffing, then wrapping the assembly... I ended up with this:

All the directions said to cook it slow and low, so it went in the oven at 250F, and we waited. Then we waited some more. Then... we waited still more. At eight hours of cooking time, internal temperatures were still not in the safe range for poultry, so I broke out the foil and cranked up the temperature.

I have to say, the duck and chicken were extremely moist and very bacony. The turkey was ok, but the breast had dried some, despite constant basting.  The boys loved it, but more than the flavor, I think they loved the novelty.  

Would I do this again? That's hard to say. It's a lot of meat, a lot of grease, and a lot of work.  If I were to do it again, I'd have to have at least the turkey and the duck de-boned.  I'd also have to find a better way to get the whole thing up to temp and finish sooner.  All in all, it wasn't a bad thing, but I think I'd rather exercise my culinary muscles pursuing other endeavors.

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