<<EDIT 10:19 AM – The Bacon Terrorist has reminded me that he actually suggested using the Big Green Egg when I first brought up the idea of doing a turducken. “You told me I was insane.” Since that sounds exactly like something I would say (and regret later), I hereby publicly apologize to the Bacon Terrorist for dismissing what I have now decided is an amazing idea.>>
Okay, I’ll admit I get a bit obsessed about things from time to time. Smoking a turkey on the Big Green Egg for our Fakesgiving dinner is a great example, but it’s not even the most recent. My excitement last month upon learning of a new pickle vendor at Eastern Market on the weekends (watch for a writeup soon) was later described by Elizabeth as similar to that of a six-year old on Christmas.
There are few things that have captured my imagination longer than the turducken. The word – at once descriptive and mildly off-putting – refers to a Frankenstein’s Monster of poultry. Take a deboned chicken. Stuff it inside a boneless duck. Now shove both of them inside a partially deboned turkey (leaving the legs and wings intact, of course, so the creation still looks like an average turkey). Add several types of stuffing, at least one of which usually includes sausage, and you’ve got a turducken.
If you’re like me, that description only makes the turducken sound more appealing (if you’re more normal, it probably makes you a little ill). Ever since I learned about the existence of the turducken – thank you, John Madden – I’ve been dying to try one. Give me a little bit of credit, though: I’ve recognized and respected the fact that the only possibly appropriate occasion for serving a turducken is a Super Bowl party. And somehow, the timing has never been quite right to attempt the cooking…
…Until now. Not only is this the year that I will finally make a turducken, I’m taking it one step further. Super Bowl Sunday will find me braving the cold (and the remnants of the snow and ice out there this morning) as I cook the turducken on the Big Green Egg.
It’s perfect, really. I was going to be cooking something on the Egg for the party no matter what, and that yearning for the turducken started to make itself heard as I passed it in the frozen meats section of Harris Teeter last week. But I kept trying to justify cooking a turducken AND smoking a brisket or some pulled pork, and coming to the conclusion that it was just too much.
Finally, last night, I had a moment of clarity. Why not cook the turducken on the Big Green Egg? Because all of my Egg endeavors up to this point have involved smoking, I forgot that the Egg is also capable of cooking at higher temperatures just like a conventional outdoor grill. In fact, the hardest part about smoking on the BGE is fighting its inclination to heat up into the 300-350 degree range while trying to maintain a low-and-slow 225 or 250.
I did a quick search of the internets to make sure I wasn’t about to make some sort of huge mistake, and I came across a couple of threads on the Egghead forum. I was immediately reassured that people not only cook turducken on their Big Green Eggs, they enjoy it enough to turn it into a family tradition at holidays and cook-offs. 4 hours at 350 degrees seems to be the consensus for an average-sized turducken, with some wood chips thrown in for added smokiness and flavor. I can do that…maybe even without having the warn the Fire Department ahead of time.
As eager as I am to try this (and to report back with the results), I’m not quite gung-ho enough to think about actually making the boneless beast myself. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, however, there are quite a few recipes out there…including one from Paula Deen (a Butturducken, perhaps?) and one from the man who may or may not have invented this poultrypalooza, Paul Prudhomme. There are even guides for creating a vegan version of turducken (you guessed it – ‘tofucken’), in case you’re opposed to the “carnival of carnage” that is a turducken, but you still want to stuff semi-related things inside each other before cooking.
Personally, I’ll be buying mine from Harris Teeter since this is my first foray into the world of the turducken. But if you’re willing to shell out some slightly more significant coin, the Cajun Grocer and a number of other online purveyors can ship the bird(s) right to your door. The CG even brags about coming out on top in a turducken taste test (conducted by the Wall Street Journal, of course).
What do you think? Is it worth passing up another opportunity for pulled pork on the Egg to try the turducken? Or is this an experiment that’s destined for disappointment?