Thursday, May 24, 2007


I’ve written about turducken before, that peculiarly horrifying (and yet tasty) Cajun concoction. It’s nothing more than a chicken stuffed into a duck, in turn stuffed into a turkey. The birds are deboned (the turkey, partially so) and any remaining empty space is packed with various stuffing mixtures.

It’s a real Culinary Chimera, a turducken. Buoyed by the general interest in Things Cajun, turduckens have been showing up in supermarket meat sections here in Atlanta for several years now. They’re not cheap, but there’s very little waste. The perfect dish for, say, IEATAPETA Day.

Turducken came to mind as I was listening to Steve Graham’s new podcast, Code Blue Cooking. Most of my Esteemed Readers who know Steve are more familiar with his Bloggy Incarnation, the Steve H. who writes at Hog On Ice (“Broadcasting Live From the Holy City of Coral Gables”). Steve is a man of many talents, and when he takes his prodigious cooking abilities and combines them with his homespun podcasting technique, the result is at once amusing and educational.

Code Blue Cooking is a podcasted radio show on BlogTalkRadio, and it looks like it’s settling into a time slot Wednesday evenings at 10:00 pm Eastern (US) time. As is appropriate for something that calls itself BlogTalkRadio, facilities are provided for listeners to call in and contribute to the show. And as is appropriate for something that calls itself Code Blue Cooking, the focus is on Matters Culinary, especially Manly Dishes containing massive quantities of pork fat.

On one of the recent shows, the topic of manatees - Nature’s Speed Bumps - came up. Manatees are a protected species (the current status is “threatened,” a notch down from “endangered”), inhabiting estuaries and rivers in Florida and other southern swampy climes. I recall an unusual incident in the late 1990’s in which a wayward manatee ended up in the Houston Ship Channel.

Photo: Wikipedia.

They’re big, harmless, dopey mammals, manatees are, reminiscent of devolved walruses. No tusks, and no ability to get around on land. Mostly they just float below the water’s surface, playing tag with motorboat propellers and scaring little children. Drunken sailors, it is rumored, were inspired by manatee sightings to spin wild tales of mermaids - which doesn’t say much for the kind of women these sailors associated with.

Apparently, Seminole Indians are permitted, owing to their status as Aboriginal Americans, to harvest and eat a limited number of manatees. Apart from a gamy layer of blubber-like fat, the meat is supposedly nice, lean, and red. And there’s plenty of it. A full-grown ’tee will weigh something on the order of half a metric ton.

Think of the Extreme Turducken possibilities. Submitted for your consideration: a quail stuffed into a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey stuffed into an emu. Then, cram everything into a Deboned Alligator...and for the pièce de résistance, shove everything into a cored-out manatee carcass. Cart the whole bloated mess over to an abandoned car wash, and then set fire to the building. It’s the only way you’ll ever deliver enough BTU’s to this thing to cook it properly. When a thermometer inserted into the quail’s ass shows 165°F, your Extreme Turducken is done. Feed a crowd? It’ll feed a whole frickin’ battalion.

If anybody could cook something like that, it’d be Steve H. Graham. And then he’d try it again with a different spice rub just to see which version was better.

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