Thanksgiving video and recipe tips: Turducken 101

Noelle Carter, the Los Angeles Times’ Test Kitchen director, goes through the procedure on how to prepare the turducken

At first glance, it looks like a roast turkey on steroids. Slice into it and there’s layer after layer of meats and stuffings. It’s a glorious monster of a roast, a guaranteed showstopper at any holiday dinner. Forget Dickens’ prized turkey -- this bird is big enough to crush Tiny Tim. Just make sure you’ve reinforced the dining room table before you set it out.

I’m talking about turducken.

Although traditional roasts, hams and turkeys bring a nice Norman Rockwell-esque feel to the holiday table, they can get to be a bit . . . traditional. Even boring. To try to get around that, I’ve smoked turkeys, roasted game birds, prepared venison and elk steaks, and stuffed or deep-fried almost everything imaginable. I once even made a massive pate en croute -- from bear.

But for me, nothing beats the turducken, and I’ve made at least one every holiday for several years now.

You’ve probably heard the name and may have even seen one on TV. Simply put, a turducken is a glorious meat-fest, consisting of a boned and stuffed chicken placed inside a boned and stuffed duck, which is itself placed inside an at least partially boned and stuffed turkey.

So, how do you make it?

It’s not impossible, but I will be honest with you: Making a turducken takes dedication and patience -- lots of patience. That said, nothing beats the satisfaction of presenting your own creation. Plus, you can choose whatever stuffings you want and assemble your masterpiece exactly as you like. This is your (very big) baby.

Check out the video above for a detailed how-to, and then check out the recipe links below for your ingredients and instructions.

Recipe: Turducken

Recipe: Dirty rice stuffing

Recipe: Corn bread dressing

Recipe: Andouille smoked sausage dressing

Craving more? Check out our handy holiday recipes and cooking tips page to help you out with your Thanksgiving planning. Not only do we cover familiar holiday dishes, we share tips and tricks to save you time and energy during this busy time of year. And you can find all your Thanksgiving recipe needs in our California Cookbook. If you have any tips or questions you’d like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at

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