A turducken—the name is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken—is a dish consisting of a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The thoracic cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are stuffed, sometimes with a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture or sausage meat, although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird.
The result is a fairly solid layered poultry dish, suitable for cooking by braising, roasting, grilling, or barbecuing. The turducken is not suitable for deep frying Cajun style (to deep fry poultry, the body cavity must be hollow to cook evenly).
Claims that Cajun-creole fusion chef Paul Prudhomme created this dish as part of the festival Duvall Days in Duvall, Washington in 1983 are unverified. A November 2005 National Geographic article by Calvin Trillin traced the American origins of the dish to "Hebert's Specialty Meats" in Maurice, Louisiana. They have been commercially producing turduckens since 1985, when an unknown local farmer brought in his own birds and asked Hebert's to prepare them in the now-familiar style. The company prepares around 5,000 turduckens per week around Thanksgiving time.
Turducken is often associated with the "do-it-yourself" outdoor food culture also associated with barbecueing and shrimp boils, although some people now serve it in place of the traditional roasted turkey at the Thanksgiving meal. As their popularity has spread from Louisiana to the rest of the Deep South and beyond, they have become available through specialty stores in urban areas or by mail order.