Turkey Stuffed Pig, Anyone?

Mike Cook

You have heard of the turducken, right? In case you've missed out, this jabberwocky-sounding culinary construction is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Because roasting a turkey isn't good enough for America.

A good friend of mine throws a turducken party each year. In his constant escalating effort to top previous years, however, he has gone beyond the now average seeming turducken. This year he found himself with a suckling pig in his oven. Inside the pig were a turkey and a chicken.

After doing a turducken two years ago, my friend had upped the bird quotient to a turgoochipheashen last year (turkey

For all of you who want to follow in these animal-stuffing footsteps, here are some notes:

My friend used advice from these two sites in creating his turducken. http://homecooking.about.com/od/turkeyrecipes/ss/turduckensbs.htm

He used different stuffing recipes, but the basic techniques and cooking times hold. It being the modern era, you can now buy turduckens already made. But where is the fun in that, I ask?

For those of you interested in going beyond the three-bird basic, there's all variety of birds to choose from, and all sorts of combinations, and even a little historical precedent. If anyone ever claims you're dabbling in a newfangled barbarism, you might note that we've been stuffing animals inside each other for centuries. Here is a totally sweet recipe from 1774 describing how to make a five bird (plus pie crust) conglomeration known as Yorkshire Christmas pie. Good luck. http://books.google.com/books?id=kYIEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA140#v=onepage&q&f=false

You really can find anything online, which is where my friend got his goose and pheasant. That's an expensive road, though, and some of the better grocery stores like Wegman's sells even rare birds pretty regularly, so you might as well call and ask. Once you get the birds, the rest is really just a matter of scale.

Not so with a piturken. Logistically speaking, the pig

My friend didn't debone his suckling pig, though, so the turkey and chicken were in its abdominal cavity. The eating experience is very different, with plenty of pig un-touched by bird.

And the process? In his own words:

"The prep time mostly consisted of cleaning the pig in my bathtub, deboning the birds, then stuffing and sewing everything shut and trussing. It took about 3 hours of prep time.
The pig (28.5lbs), stuffed with the turkey (14lbs before de-boning) and the chicken (5lbs before deboning), weighed in at 40lbs. It cooked for 2 hours at 250, then 6 hours at 200, then 1 hour at 250. (so 9h total)"

He doesn't mention the wrangling it took to fit it in the oven, though, which was probably considerable judging by how little spare room was left in that oven when I saw it.

Was it worth the work? The piturken was delicious, of course. The technique could be perfected, though. A few sections of the pig had dried out a little. My friend said that if he ever tries it again he wants to arrange the pig differently (lying on its stomach instead of on its side) and protect the skin better so it gets crispy instead of leathery. Combined, this will probably keep everything nicely moist.

Good luck on your own animal stuffing and roasting adventures this holiday season. If you tackle a piturken, let me know.

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