It sounds like a mythical creature, but the turducken is real and growing in popularity for Christmas lunch thanks to Sydney butcher Adam Stratton.
Stratton, a 20-year veteran, runs the Tender Gourmet Butcher chain in Hornsby, Macquarie Park and Bondi Junction and first started making turduckens six years ago, inspired by Medieval feasts and research into overseas trends.
In his first year he sold 30.
“We thought gee that’s pretty good,” he said.
Five years on, it’s grown to 1500 last year, despite the fact that supermarket rivals Woolworths and Aldi tried to copy him.
This Christmas he expects to top 2000. Stratton sells them for $130. That’s $260,000 and 10 tonnes worth of poultry.
The orders are rolling in from across Australia and even overseas.
Just in case you’re new to the idea, it’s a boneless turkey, duck and chicken, combined with three separate layers of stuffing – sage and onion, fig and pistachio, and mixed savoury fruits – all wrapped in smoky bacon.
“They’re a massive thing for us,” Stratton told Business Insider.
“Three birds are always better than one. Once you’ve had a Turducken – you’ll never return to a single bird roast.”
Stratton’s used to stuffing things, being one of Australia’s best sausage markers, scoring more medals along the way than a North Korean dictator with sausage combinations such as Moroccan lamb and raisin, and sweet chicken and corn.
But he can’t quite believe how turduckens have captured everyone’s imagination.
“If you’d told me five years ago that they’d be outselling our hams, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s completely off the planet,” he said.
A turducken weighs about five kilograms, takes about four hours to cook and can feed 12-16 people.
Stratton will be busy for the next few weeks putting them together. Once they’re boned out, they each take about 15 minute to assemble. He has an experienced team of three working full-time preparing them.
The butcher says the great thing about a turducken is they’re actually a little more foolproof than the usual turkey. And filling, he warns.
“My strong recommendation is to go light on the chips and dips beforehand,” Stratton said
“You’ll definitely need a long sleep after knocking off one of these for Christmas lunch.”
He also passed on his recipe for cooking the beast.
How to cook a Turducken
1 Litre of Chicken Stock
150gm of Butter
150ml Maple Syrup
Step 1. Pre heat oven to 160°c
Step 2. Place Turducken into baking tray and add 1 litre of Chicken Stock, cover loosely with foil.
Step 3. Cook for 3.5 hours at 160°c, turning a couple of times.
Step 4. Melt 150gm of butter and 150ml of maple syrup and baste all over the Turducken.
Step 5. When there is 20 mins of cooking time left, remove foil.
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