You gotta love the Wiki when a definition has the word "portmanteau" in it, as in:
"A Turducken is a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The name is a portmanteau of those ingredients: turkey, duck and chicken."
Turkeys, bones still in (left).
And why am I telling you this? Well, neighbor SEH is an instructor at the Western Culinary Institute, and her colleague is the advisor to the school's Charcuterie Club. Every year the club makes turduckens and smoked, cured hams during the holidays to raise money for club projects. Of course, as soon as I heard about this I was immediately on board and, having heard about turduckens but never having seen one made, I asked if I could watch as long as I promised to stay away from sharp implements.
Duck carcass. Good job!
The deboning process is fascinating and looks pretty easy, especially at the start. It's not unlike carving a roasted bird, only you start with the back instead of the breast, then follow the curve of the rib cage to remove the main skeleton.
The drumstick bone of the turkey is left intact, but the duck and chicken leg bones are removed completely so the roasted turducken can be sliced easily. The tricky part seems to be in removing the leg bones cleanly without tearing the skin, and it takes practice to do this well.
Chicken stuffed with sausage is placed inside the duck, which will be stuffed into the turkey.
Each bird is then stuffed with sausage (in this case they used andouille sausage made by the students) and the chicken is placed inside the duck, which is then placed inside the turkey. It takes about 5 lbs. of sausage to do this, and will add moisture and fat to make the final product moist and tender.
The last step is to sew the whole thing up, then the bird is flipped over and frozen until it's time to pick it up just before Christmas. And apparently after it's roasted, a tug will remove the string so the meat can be sliced and served. Stay tuned for the report on the results, post-Christmas dinner!