If you don’t what a turducken is, you’re in for a gastrointestinal experience that can boarder on the sublime, but easily cross into a purgatory of food-coma. It is, perhaps, the ultimate meat-atarian option when it comes to filling your Thanksgiving table. No mere turkey, the turducken is a stuffed chicken, inside a stuffed duck inside a stuffed turkey. The etymology of the name, obviously, directly reflects the composition of the subject.

The origin of the Turducken itself, is Louisiana: home to all things fried and heart-stopping. Allegedly, the creole chef Paul Prudhomme invented the dish for a celebration in the state of Washington. Even if that’s true, though, the culinary roots are clearly in the delta.

Enough jibbajabba. How do you make one? Like anything worth doing, it’s not particularly easy.

The Basics
Dressing (recipes here)
Cajun seasoning (recipes here)

1) De-bone the birds
Debone the duck and chicken entirely, but you’ll be leaving the wing bones in the turkey. You’ll essentially debone all three birds the exact same way, you’ll just be removing littler bones from the littler birds. First, cut off the wings tips on the chicken and duck. Next, pull the skin back over the shoulders allowing you to cut out the shoulder joint. This should free up the wing to be pulled free, too. Next, pull the skin back along the breasts until you see the wishbone which you should cut free with a knife.

2) Season the birds
All three birds, in the traditional recipe should be seasoned liberally with creole seasoning. You’ll want to use about 3 tablespoons on the turkey, 2 on the chicken, and 1 on the duck. Spread them over the exposed skin of each bird evenly and thoroughly.

3) Meta-stuff the birds
Now comes the tricky part. Stuff the stuffed birds inside one another. To do this, you’ll need a big knife. Slice the birds down the middle so you can lay them, flat out on the table. Lay the turkey out first, then cover what the inner cavity would be in stuffing. On top of that, lay the flayed duck. On top of that, more stuffing, then the chicken, then more stuffing. Use dressing you prefer (we like to use the sausage dressing in the recipe above so the you’re actually eating 4 animals at once) into the leg, thigh, and wing cavities of each of the seasoned birds.

4) Tie it up
You will probably need an assistant for this part. Each of you lift one side of the turducken evenly and slowly to close it up where you initially cut it open, thus folding the two smaller birds back inside the larger turkery. At this point, you can either stitch it back together using butchers cord, or you can simply skewer it together with BBQ skewers for the duration of its cook time.

5) Get Cooking
The cook time for you turducken is going to very slightly based on the weight of the birds you choose, your specific elevation, your oven, etc. But, you should preheat the oven to about 350 degrees, and cook the bird until it’s browned on top. This usually takes at least 8 hours, but can take longer depending on the above factors.

6) Carving
Once you remove the bird, cover it with aluminum foil and let it sit for one hour. This is sort of a post-oven marinating-in-its-own-juices that will ultimately make the bird(s) taste better, but will also make it easier to carve. Once it’s ready to carve, slit the birds once down the center line. Then, Again horizontally cutting the turducken into fourths. You can, from there, cut it further into each of the birds or let your guests (if you’re eating a whole turducken alone, you’ve got bigger problems than how to carve it) cut their own pieces.

A word on frying
Unfortunately, a satisfactory technique for frying an entire turducken is not known as using a traditional turkey fryer requires the inside of the bird to be hollow allowing it to cook evenly when it fills with oil. Because the turducken is, basically, just a gigantic ball of meat with no empty core (awesome), it would remain under/un-cooked in the center.