To the casual observer, Canadians and Americans are practically indistinguishable from one another.  I mean, sure, there are the odd physical disparities (ie. our eleventh toe, the fact that our hearts are located approximately three inches lower than that of the average American’s) but, for the most part, it’s very hard to pick a non-sandal-wearing Canadian out of a Taco Bell line-up.  Closer scrutiny, however, reveals notable cultural differences between the two countries.  Our money is more colorful, for instance, providing a more level playing field for near-sighted pickpockets and inspiring such uniquely Canadian terms as “She’s as blue as a fiver” or “Pink as a fifty!”.  Our professional footballs are fatter, given that they were originally modelled on a pregnant woman’s abdomen, and thus easier to kick blindfolded.  In Canada, ambulances are called “hospital limos” and their sirens are only half as deafening as their American counterparts because, let’s face it, they don’t need to be THAT loud.  Most interestingly of all are the slight variances between our respective national holidays.  Whereas our southern neighbors commemorate Arbor Day by planting trees, we commerate Armoire Days by cutting down trees and using their wood to build ornate standing closets.  Rather than celebrate the politically incorrect Christmas Holi-(Holy/Holly)-days, we celebrate the less offensive religious/gender-neutral Gazpacho Days.  In the U.S., Americans give thanks on the fourth Thursday of every November, a day called Thanksgiving.  In Canada, Canadians give thanks on the second Monday in October, a day called Thanksgiving as well.  Also, Sorry Monday.

Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is next Monday, so I thought I’d do something special to mark the occasion, something that would incorporate the traditions of both countries.  For starters, instead of celebrating October 14th or waiting for November 28th, I decided to split the difference (more or less) and celebrate on Sunday, October 13th.  This way, my football buddies can partake in that most American of Thanksgiving holiday traditions…the turducken!

via 4505meats.com
via 4505meats.com

And what, pray tell, is a turducken?  “Turducken is a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey.” (Wikipedia).

The first time I ever laid eyes on a turducken was when former football analyst John Madden prepared one prior to a game.  A chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey.  I mean, you couldn’t get more Madden than that.  And then, the more I thought about it, the more I thought: “Why stop there?”  Why not get a pheasant in there?  And inside the pheasant, a cornish game hen?  And inside the game hen, a squab?  And inside the squab, a quail?  How awesome would THAT be? The correct answer is: VERY!

But maybe I get a little ahead of myself.  First thing’s first.  Let’s start with the simple turducken.  And I do mean “simple”.  I won’t be doing any of the actual deboning and stuffing myself.  I’ve ordered one up for next weekend from my local butcher.  All I’ll have to do is pop it in the oven for 5-6 hours and then enjoy with a side of Joel Robuchon mashed potatoes (the secret is in the butter and LOTS of it) and maybe something Canadian as well.  Maple fudge? I don’t know yet.

So, how many of you have tried your hands at turducken?  Any suggestions?  Tips?  Warnings?  Do I roast it?  Or do I incorporate yet another most American of traditions and drop it into a giant pot of boiling oil?

36 thoughts on “October 8, 2013: Celebrating in the grand American tradition! In Canada!

  1. @Canadians and Americans are practically indistinguishable

    Canadians on South Park lol

  2. I have wanted to try turducken at Thanksgiving, but this Texas girl’s family throws their arms up in the air and proclaims it to be a work of the Yankees up North (aka, the Devil). Someday I may try it anyway, perhaps in
    Springtime, and be eating on it for a full two weeks in this household of one.

  3. Frying would be good. Roasting would be good. Wonder how it would taste with fish in the middle.

    The way to tell a Canadian from an American is your accent. You pronounce your “ou”s weird. You say house, mouse, about and it’s a dead give-away that you are Canadian. You say “there is a moouse aboout the hoouse”.

  4. Never had it, probably never will. Probably has something to do with the “turd” part of the word. 🙂 But you enjoy, Joe! Your post made me think of how I always had to chuckle watching SG1 and how they always gave themselves away with the Canadian thing every time they said “rezources”. 🙂 Not so gringo.

    Just finished watching “After Earth”. I actually liked it!

  5. In Canada, ambulances are called “hospital limos” and their sirens are only half as deafening as their American counterparts because, let’s face it, they don’t need to be THAT loud.
    if some people would get their sorry asses off to the side of the road, they probably wouldn’t have to be.

    i’ve never tried to cook a turducken. never even ate one, but here’s a couple of links i discovered on cooking one;
    http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/wine_dine_archive_200/228_wine_dine.html

    http://www.theoriginalturducken.com/cooking-instructions

  6. In America, it is not acceptable to kick a pregnant woman in the abdomen. We certainly don’t have a sport based on it. You may have already guessed this from our exported media.

    To ensure safe food handling and achieve thorough cooking, crisp skins, and moist meats, I suggest roasting the different meats of the turducken separately. Once again, you need more than one oven.

    The best way to prepare poultry hands down is to Broast (TM) it in peanut oil with a vintage model Broaster (TM) from before regulations required them to be made to only operate at lower pressures.

  7. I’ve never tried Turducken, let alone made it, and part of me isn’t really fond of the idea of it. Probably my mouth and stomach parts.

    Anyway, are you doing anything else exciting for Sorry Monday Weekend? And why exactly is Gazpacho Day NOT a paid holiday? Friggin’ gubmint.

  8. Thanks, Joe! I had a long day and needed a good laugh – wonderful comparisons of US and Canada.

    I’ve never cooked a turducken either, but it sounds fascinating.And delicious! I’m thinking slow roasting for a loooooonnnnngggg time is the best method, but I’d ask the butcher.

    I hope all of you with sore joints, etc. are resting and feeling better. JeffW, I had a similar problem with my knee. I finally gave in and had surgery in January. The good news is that the cyst completely resolved after the torn meniscus was cleaned up.

  9. Sorry, I’ve never cooked a Turducken, but it makes me wonder, can you brine a one? I might try to smoke it (low and slow) to make sure it all cooked evenly, but take that for what it’s worth from someone who hasn’t cooked one.

    It looks like I may make it to Vancouver in late October or early November, so I’ll be missing Canadian Thanksgiving, but maybe I’ll take home some of the maple fudge to go with my American Thanksgiving. So, how does maple fudge go with pecan and pumpkin pie? 😉

  10. Okay…here’s a hint.

    You’re looking at September’s calendar. Either that, or today is Sunday and you’d better have that turducken cooked and on the table!

    das

  11. If you are making a turducken, you should also make a picaken (pie inside a cake). I’ve never made a turducken, but the first picaken I made turned out pretty good. I did pecan pie inside a chocolate cake…

  12. Another difference between the US and Canada…..your Canadian postal service trucks are are a very pretty blue and red. Ours are a boring, dingy white. I mistook one of yours for a food truck, because it was so pretty. Also, no pennies or dollar bills in Canada. Love that.

  13. A little off-topic (sorry Joe), but since this is movie related, I hoped you wouldn’t mind… simply leave it unapproved if it’s a problem.

    Drive-ins theaters are facing a crucial time this year…they need to upgrade to digital projectors or go out of business (the film industry is releasing only the digital format starting next year).

    To add our support, my daughter Jackie and I have been frequenting a local drive-in called the McHenry Drive-In Theater. Well tonight we learned that Honda, as part of “Project Drive-In”, awarded them a new digital projector (one of 9 theaters that were awarded projectors). We’re so excited to know that our local drive-in is staying in business (Jackie did a happy, happy dance when she found out).

    Go to:
    http://projectdrivein.com/
    if you want to know more about the effort to save Drive-Ins.

    Oh and good luck with the Turducken; Can I assume there will be pictures?

  14. @Sparrow_hawk:

    Thanks for the description of your knee surgery; it gives me hope there’ll be a resolution at some point. We should compare “knee stories” at the next foodie outing. I’ve been meaning to get back to that by the way…maybe between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

  15. Don’t fry it. There’s no cavity in a Turducken. When you fry a turkey, you cook from the outside and from the inside of the turkey. With no cavity, you’ll end up frying for a lot longer of a time just to cook the center, and it’s far more likely to result in a charred over fried turkey exterior. With such a dense meat, it’s probably better to cook it long and on low for hours just to have it reach the center. If you have a BBQ smoker, it’s probably best to start it the night before. This works best if you plan on doing a Fowl De Cochon (Pig Turducken).

    In terms of a Piecaken, just settle for a Boston Cream Pie. It matches the whole pilgrims thing in the US, and you can’t go wrong with a chocolate frosted yellow cake on top of a cream pie.

  16. Pfft..Turducken is for amateurs – just ask Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who cooked a 10 Bird Roast once for his River Cottage TV programme…

    http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/ten_bird_roast

    The accent thing for me is getting easier with each visit to Canada I make and as I’m on No.13 or 14 next year and spend a LOT of time listening to the dulcet Canadian tones of Michael Shanks I’m counting myself pretty much as an expert now 😉

    The British don’t have Thanksgiving,. Be thankful for something?..Hell no, that might get in the way of us having a good old moan about stuff ..

  17. I ordered a Turducken about 6 years ago for Thanksgiving. I roasted it per the enclosed instructions. It was fanfriggintastic. If I remember correctly, ours was stuffed with andouille sausage and cornbread stuffing.

    I would do it again if I could buy one locally, but I won’t order online. The shipping was cost prohibitive @ $50.00 overnight and chilled in a special cooler. Or…we are having my wife’s family over this Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll make one. Nothing says fun like deboning fowl for 3 hours. =)

  18. That… seems vaguely obscene and needlessly decadent. I love me some meat, but at least leave the poor birds their dignity.

    @ Ponytail — No, Canadians say “oh” instead of “ow”. Like “about” sounds like “a boat”. It’s funny, normally even on Stargate I don’t notice, but I remember one episode where Daniel said something (can’t even remember what it was), and it was like getting slapped in the face with Canada. Even my brother, who’s married to a Canadian, has started slipping into certain Canadianisms now and then. Although I do like that they have the word “tuque” for something that I would just call a hat and then fumble around to describe (I’d probably go with “knit hat”, actually, but they’re not all knit, and I don’t like the words “beanie” or “sock hat”).

  19. Turducken? Not on my budget. We skip Thanksgiving anyway, since my parents passed and my bother Larry, I can’t be bothered with all the fuss. We can go toe a local “Orphan” gathering with friends if we’re so inclined.

    Maple Bacon Pecan Pie for dessert, with Bourbon sauce and caramel ice cream. You know you want to.

  20. Joe, just heard via twitter by Brian Smith and Peter Kelamis that @cherluvya has passed away. 🙁

  21. Cheryl (cherluvya) passed away? Thank you mamasue9 for letting us know. So sad…. I’ll start saying prayers for her family. 🙁

  22. I’ve worked as a cook for almost 30 years, I’ve never cooked or even seen a turducken. Because of the poultry being inside the poultry you should use a thermometer to test for doneness, not just count on time. At least 165 F throughout.

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/turduckens-require-safe-food-handling
    Says 325 F, with no guidelines for time. I’ve seen 3 lbs per hour at other sites, but at 375.

    One site says 225 f for 9 hours. It doesn’t sound right to me. The inside would be at warmish (bodytemp) for a long time. I can imagine the bacteria multiplying like crazy.

    I understand that deep fat frying is a great way to cook them turkeys. You would have to use a wire basket and a whole lot of heavy cooking string wrapped around the turducken to support the turducken or it would fall apart. The stuffing might even float out.

    I’d suggest finding rendered beef fat and using that as the oil, it’ll taste awesome. I really mean it, the taste of many deep fried foods cooked in rendered beef fat is far superior. And you can keep the oil and use it to make great french fries. But do it outside, don’t do it in the rain. Don’t do it close to the house. A two or three gallon oil fire is a truly horrifying sight.

    Unless you want to rebuild your house?

    Have two large fully charged fire extinguishers on hand. Maybe the fire department. Or a food truck that has a deep fat fryer.

    My brother does his deep fried, he swears by it. He prefers to deep fry it until the skin is golden brown then finish it in the oven. Unfortunately I have no idea of the time it takes. You want to go from the deep fryer to the over as soon as possible to keep the heat up. It would probably knock an hour or two off the time, but not as much for a regular turkey since it’s hollow.
    You might be able to get some rendered beef fat from an food distributor that does cash sales, or a cooking school, or ask a food truck that does french fries.
    I really miss beef fat french fries. I can’t find tallow here in Victoria since Sysco bought out the food distributor nor can I find a cheap source of beef fat. Sysco won’t do cash sales for walk ins.

    You can buy beef fat and render it at home. For the amount you would need it would be an adventure to render that much, and beef fat can be expensive. A butcher might cost less. It’d take maybe 8 to 12 hours for that much.

  23. I popped in to make a funny, then read about cherluvya. So very sad. 🙁 I know she had quite a battle, but I just never expected another one of our little cabal to leave us so soon. She was part of our family here, and she will be missed very much. My heart goes out to all who loved her.

    das

  24. @ Mike From Canada – Deep-fried turkey is the best! Moist, with wonderful crispy skin, and it cooks in just minutes! I would never risk doing it, but we have a friend who is an expert. I think not only avoid the rain, but also never put a frozen or semi-frozen turkey in the hot oil:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QMuLU7oi14

    😮

    das

  25. Ohhhh, cherluvya passed away? I had just been thinking about her lately, noticing she hadn’t posted any comments in awhile and I was wondering if she was doing okay. That is so sad. She was such a brave beautiful lady. My thoughts and prayers go out to all her children she was so proud of and the rest of her family and friends, including all here on Joe’s blog.

  26. Maple fudge sounds good, but nothing says Canadiana like Nanaimo bars and butter tarts.

  27. I would like to point out that if you deep fry a turducken in beef fat, it’s almost like a beefturducken. Duck stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a turkey stuffed in a steer without the problem of needing an oven the size of a car.

    How can you pass that up?

  28. I was told that turducken was only good deep fried as everything in Texas is. Monday is Columbus Day, the day we celebrate Columbus discovering America by going to cool sales at stores. Poor Vikings. They discovered it first but people aren’t taught that and frankly the level of education in this country continues to plummet that soon history books will be rewritten with subjective opinion versus fact.

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