This article was originally published on November 26, 2013. It has been updated with new recipes.
November 24, 2015
Ah, Thanksgiving. Or, as we Americans know it, "Black Friday Eve." It's a day purportedly honoring brave pilgrims who survived the winter on squash and twigs, but which now functions as strategic carbo-loading before the mall riots and waffle-maker stampedes of spending season.
To celebrate the joys of gross consumer excess, we invite our loved ones to gorge on a harvest feast. But if your centerpiece is only a single turkey, we're afraid you're sadly behind the times. Gone are the days when the meat of a 15-pound animal was enough to feed your medium-sized family. What is this, the Great Depression?
Nowadays, we really know how to give thanks: By shoving delicious birds into the body cavities of other delicious birds, roasting them together, and muscling it all down with gravy made from the drippings of their liquefied fat.
The multi-bird roast is the most important Thanksgiving innovation since Squanto introduced "not starving to death." It started with the now-famous "Turducken": a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. But good ol' American ingenuity has since begotten further improvements to the field of feasting. Below we present the top 10 achievements in multi-bird roasting, and perhaps a window into the bright future of this special holiday.
Designed to mollify the aloof, hemp-sniffing vegetarians at your table (every family's got one), the Veggieducken comes in 10th place because it lacks the most important part of a balanced North American diet: dead animal.
This is a sweet potato, inside some leeks, inside a two-foot banana squash, all held together by vegetarian stuffing. Lower in gluten, but also lower in gluttony, the Veggieducken isn't quite what we picture for the perfect Thanksgiving. But if you're into, uh... fiber, here's a way to eat that in excess, too.
With the holiday season right around the corner, this is the time for aggressive budgeting. Don't squander cash on a cozy meal with your family.
The Hotchken is a superb money-saver, consisting of six or seven hot dogs, stuffed inside a... a turkey? No. There's no money for turkey—not unless you want your toddler to go iPad-less on Christmas morning. These hot dogs are stuffed into a chicken instead, just like nature intended. Mustard and relish optional.
Thanks to the Discovery Channel, we know goose hunting is how rugged Alaskan men feed their families in the wintertime. If your family is craving a taste of the wild north, but can't commit to all the plaid and loneliness, try Gurducken. It's a greasier, gamier version of Turducken that replaces the turkey with a goose. Honk honk!
Our delicate sensibilities prevent us from typing out the name of this unholy creation, but suffice it to say that [redacted] is a tur -key, stuffed with d -uck, stuffed with pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston Butt). Since that particular cut of pork is what's typically used for pulled pork, this Turducken variant sounds like it's probably the most delicious so far.
The only problem, of course, is convincing grandma to come over and eat your... well, you know.
Rather than the crass original, we'll change a letter and call it... "Tofurken." This hilariously unappetizing-looking concoction is an invention of Stefany Anne Golberg from Table Matters, and it's another concession to whatever hippie is going through their herbivore stage at your dinner table. Unlike Veggieducken though, Tofurken contains actual protein, with four total varieties of wannabe-meat. It's all placed on a bed of actual cornbread stuffing and smothered with simulated gravy.
If you have something against real food, we suppose this is a better option than the Veggieducken, so we've rated it a bit higher.
5. Fowl De Cochon
Now we're into the second half of the list, so you know we're getting serious. Over at Cajun Specialty Meats, we dare you to order up a Fowl de Cochon (or "Pig Turducken") for a cool $275.
That would be a pig stuffed with a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. Whew! And they even shove some of their special Cajun sausage inside the chicken for good measure. The ensuing meat bomb weighs 60 pounds, and feeds as many people.
Think your oven has the space to handle this meat monument? Think again. At three feet long and one foot around, this thing will barely fit inside your Prius, much less your conventional oven.
When the guys at Epic Meal Time decided to attack Thanksgiving dinner, turkeys everywhere wondered if migrating would've been a better idea after all.
You are not enough of a carnivore to handle their iconic TurBaconEpic, a five-bird meatplanet consisting of a whole pig, stuffed with a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a cornish game hen, stuffed with a quail, all held together by something worryingly called "meat glue." Oh, and bacon strips.
Clocking in at no less than 79,000 calories, the TurBaconEpic is garnished with—what else?—Wendy's Baconator cheeseburgers. It's best consumed with one's bare hands.
3. Ten-Bird Roast
Five birds? That's cute.
Enter UK-based River Cottage Cookery School,who set out to create a spectacular medieval-inspired bird roast. This poor turkey is engorged with (wait for it...) 10 different species of bird. We're talking woodcock, partridge, pigeon, pheasant, guinea fowl, mallard, chicken, duck, and goose, all stuffed inside a massive turkey.
It takes 10 hours to cook, two men to lift, and a whole bunch of people to eat. Good luck.
"Wait a minute," you might be thinking, "this one isn't a bird within a bird." Quite right, this here is next-level Thanksgiving absurdity, brought to us by Unwholesome Foods.
It's not birds within different birds, but meals within different meals. Dinner and breakfast hook up with dessert for a rainbow-sprinkled orgy in the form of a candied coffee turkey all-in-wonderful. Brined in Dunkin' Donuts Coolattas, stuffed with hash browns, doused in coffee gravy, and topped with sprinkles like an ice cream cone, this bird gets a sugary spa-treatment that most coffee addicts wish they could dunk themselves in.
Dunkin' Donuts even got in on the fun with a slightly more sedate version of the recipe, minus the sprinkles.
This year, ring in the holiday season with your first diabetic coma!
Long ago, the scrolls foretold of a multi-bird roast so magnificent, it would change the world. Hallowed be the TurBaconEpi-Centipede, the greatest multi-bird roast of all time.
Conceived by the madmen at Epic Meal Time in their second and ultimate appearance on this list, not one but 10 TurBaconEpics are joined together like a centipede and garnished with hundreds of Wendy's Baconators.
Fifty birds are stuffed into 10 pigs to forge a cosmic meat singularity from which no hunger can escape. With enough calories to feed a grown man for a year, it's a Thanksgiving atrocity the likes of which the world has never before seen, and may never see again. Abandon all hope, the TurBaconEpi-Centipede is woken.