April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log

Questions? Comments? Reservations?

Another Portland Blog

Friday, December 28, 2007


The not-so magical turducken adventure

I found myself with a daunting task this holiday season: whipping together Christmas dinner for my parents, my sister and her boyfriend. I didn't want to cook but neither did any of them. With absolutely no holiday meal preparation experience under my belt, I was the worst person for the job. I'm still not sure why I was nominated or why any of them trusted me with the task. Despite what the ghost chef in Ratatouille claims, anyone can't cook. For instance, I routinely screw up cereal.

As always with challenges like this, I immediately decided to make things more difficult for myself. Instead of ordering a nice, simple turkey with a nice, simple popper, I put in an order for a turducken. Cooking just one bird wasn't enough. Only a chicken stuffed inside duck stuff inside a turkey would do.

And so last Sunday off I went in the pouring rain to pick up this mutant concoction from the Beaverton New Seasons. Behind the counter in the meat department was a guy who, according to a tag on his shirt, was named Turtle. Turtle couldn't find my order but was kindly enough to track down a 13 pound turducken roast from the freezer. It didn't look anything like I was expecting. Instead of an overstuffed turkey, this thing looked like a meat bomb set to go off at any second. I nervously took the turducken back to my car and prayed that it wouldn't go off on the drive home.

I consider it an accomplishment worthy of putting on a resume that I was able to get this beast over to my parent's house on Christmas morning. According to the overly-complicated recipe I looked up at the last minute, I'd need eight hours to cook the turducken and a roasting pan. Do my parents own a pan large enough for the Frankenstein monster of holiday main courses? Had I thought to pick one up? Of course not.

Four closed grocery stores and one open neighborhood market later, I returned with a $2.00 roasting pan almost identical to the normal turkey pan my parent's already had. Undaunted, I shoved a cookie sheet in the bottom of the pan to further prevent the turducken from wallowing in its own juices (supposedly a serious no-no). I tossed on an old chefs hat and finally threw the turducken in the oven over an hour behind schedule.

What to do next? The recipe had nothing to say about basting this mutant bird. A colleague I talked to on Christmas Eve claimed that basting anything, be it a turkey, a turducken or a goose, is a complete waste of time and will only turn it into something akin to the dried-out husk Chevy Chase contends with in Christmas Vacation. When the turducken reached the four hour mark, I panicked after noticing there were no juices at the bottom of the pan. I ended up basting it with a container of chicken broth.

Dinner was scheduled for six but the turducken was still twenty degrees away from being ready according to everything I read online. 165 Fahrenheit was the magic number it needed to hit before it would be deemed suitable for human consumption according to the USDA. Six quickly became seven and the turducken was still ten degrees short. My sister and her boyfriend decided to undermine my authority and pitch in with the side dishes. Had they no respect for my chefs hat? It was doing little to protect my honor. Faith in my ability to run a kitchen had reached an all time low.

I broke out a meat thermometer again. The ends of the turducken were five degrees higher than were they needed to be while the center was five degrees below. I decided to take a vote. None of us knew what to do. Everyone was all in favor of just eating the damn thing. The recipe claimed it needed to sit under tinfoil for an hour to "firm up." Instead, I left it front of a televised Blazer game for thirty minutes figuring that Brandon Roy's awesome dunking skills might somehow inspire the turducken to be more tasty.

The results were mixed. The exterior, turkey portion of the bird turned out dry while its duck and chicken center were juicy. In hindsight, I should have pulled el meat bomb out of the oven 30 minutes earlier.

The mysteries surrounding turduckens continue to elude me. Is it even possible to properly cook something like this- a weird feast o' meat melded together out of portions of three different animals? I've come to the conclusion that turduckens just weren't meant to be.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home




  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?