Living in California while the rest of my family lives in Texas is hard, so I always look forward to going home for Thanksgiving. This year was no different, but when I arrived, I was greeted by strange smells from inside my home. I always looked forward to helping my mother make the last minute preparations, but this year she firmly refused to let me anywhere near the kitchen. At a loss, I wandered into the computer room. Sitting down, what to my wondering eyes would appear but a page with a turkey stuffed with an octopus.
I was mildly intrigued as I read about how Rusty Eulberg, a database administrator from Lubbock, Texas, had invented this creation that involved stuffing an octopus inside a turkey and attaching crab legs across the bottom to make feet and creating a comb-over with bacon. Taking a huge whiff of the air, it then dawned on me that my mother could very well be creating a cthurkey for Thanksgiving.
Since I knew that it was too late to escape this horror that my mother was making in the kitchen and realizing that family was more important than food, I steadied my nerves as the clock struck 12. Hearing my Mom call everyone to the table, I whispered a silent thanks for a nearby convenience store selling stale hot dogs if this meal failed to impress. Arriving at the table, I realized that I was right, but the turkey cthulhu, better known as cthurkey definitely impressed me, so the thought of going to get a stale dog quickly vanished from my head.
Each part of the cthurkey is actually prepared separately before being assembled moments before being served.
Mom says, in order to make this dish, start by roasting your turkey overnight. This allows it to be cooked by the early morning when you will need the oven space to make side dishes and you will be busy making the other needed meats.
- 20 pound turkey
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon sage
- Remove giblets and keep to make giblet gravy if desired
- Rinse the unfrozen bird in cold water and pat dry
- Place a roasting rack in a large roasting pan
- Pour the chicken broth under the rack trying to splash as little on the rack as possible
- Pour enough water into the chicken broth until the moisture is about 1/2 inch deep
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and all the spices. Use a mixer to stir until well combined
- Grab a little of the butter mixture. Find the opening at the rear of the bird and slide your hand holding the butter into the opening. Give the turkey a good massage with the butter
- Rub any remaining butter onto the outside of the bird
- Cover the turkey completely with aluminum foil making sure the foil connects tightly to the pan
- Place the turkey in the oven and cook for 1 hour
- After 60 minutes, reduce the heat to 200 degrees or your oven’s lowest temperature
- Cook the turkey for eight to nine hours while you go to sleep trying to avoid dreams of this mysterious creature coming to attack you and your loved ones
- The next morning, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the chicken breast. It should measure at least 160 degrees. If it does remove the turkey, if needed let it cook longer.
- Let the turkey rest while you prepare the crab legs, octopus and bacon
The next step is to get the octopus ready. In order to assemble your finished dish, you need a two to three-pound octopus. Fill a large stockpot with water. Use a sharp knife to remove the beak and pull the organs out with it. Place the lobster in the pan and simmer for one to two hours until a knife easily slides between the head and the legs.
The next step is to make the crab legs. They bake to perfection in the oven in about 25 minutes.
- 12 king crab legs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 lime
- ⅛ teaspoon dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan
- Add the garlic powder and olive oil
- Add the juice of the half lemon and lime stirring until well combined
- Arrange the crab legs on a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan
- Use an injector to inject the mixture into each of the crab legs
- Pour any remaining butter mixture over the crabs
- Bake for 25 minutes
The last step before assembly is to fry the bacon. Put three strips of bacon in a cold skillet and cook it until it is still limp. Do not let it get crisp or it will not wrap around the turkey.
Assembling the Turkey With Octopus
Now, you are ready to assemble the cthulhu turkey.
- Lay the crab legs on a large serving platter allowing the legs to stick off each side. Put six on each side
- Lay the turkey on top of the crab legs with the large opening facing the front
- Use a sharp knife to trim away enough of the turkey so that you can cram the lobster into the opening
- Insert the octopus half into the opening making sure that the head stays on the outside. This is the hardest part of making turkey with octopus, but try to get it as realistic looking as possible.
- Finally, lay the bacon across the top of the turkey like a comb-over
- Serve and watch your guest be amazed at your creation
The great news is that since each part is prepared separately, your creation actually tastes great for your Thanksgiving dinner.
As we sat enjoying our Thanksgiving meal, my folks announced that since Lubbock can get cold and wet at Christmas time, they had decided to come to visit me in sunny California for Christmas. That is when I knew exactly what I was going to prepare for Christmas dinner. Mom would love cthulhu turducken and Dad would laugh with glee.
While the first dish was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book called Cthulhu, there is little doubt that turducken was the creation of John Madden who bought one into the broadcasting booth at a National Football League game several years ago. This creation has a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Once cooked and sliced, everyone gets all three types of meat in a single serving on their plate.
- 7 slices white day-old bread
- 25 saltine crackers
- 1 9-inch pan cornbread
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 1 large white onion finely chopped
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 5 eggs
- 4 pound chicken
- 6 pound duck
- 15 pound turkey
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried savory
- 1 cup ice water
- Crumble the bread, crackers and cornbread stirring until well combined
- In a skillet, saute the celery and onion in the butter. Cook until onion is translucent.
- Pour the butter mixture over the bread mixture.
- Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then pour over the mixture.
- Lay the chicken on a flat surface.
- Debone the chicken by cutting along the backbone until you reach the rib cage.
- Start again on the other side of the backbone continuing until you reach the rib cage.
- Remove the flat of the wing.
- Cut around the wing drum on both sides working towards the knuckle. Pull out the bone and discard.
- Slice along the thigh bone until you reach the point where the thigh and leg meet. 12. Slice around the bone until you get it free and discard the bone.
- Slice around the knuckle of the leg bone pulling down. Once you get it exposed enough, then grab it and pull it out.
- Repeat the process for the duck.
- Repeat the process for the turkey, but do not remove the wing or leg bones.
- Combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, savory and ice water.
- Lay out the turkey skin side down getting it as flat as possible. If you have large pieces of skin hanging off the main carcass, then trim those away and discard.
- Inject the vegetable broth mixture into the turkey’s breast and tenderloin.
- Press a layer of stuffing over the turkey’s surface making sure to fill the wing and leg cavities.
- Lay the chicken on top of the turkey and chicken placing the skin side down.
- Add a layer of dressing being sure to fill the leg and wing cavities.
- Lay the duck on top of the chicken.
- Place any remaining stuffing on top of the duck.
- Carefully pull the turkey back together running a long skewer through the top to hold the turducken in place.
- Use a large needle and heavy string to sew the turkey back together. Tie each stitch with a strong knot.
- Once you reach the end, then turn the turkey and tie the legs in place.
- Tie the turkey across from the other direction as well concentrating on trying to keep the same thickness throughout.
- Place the turducken on a cooling rack and refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare smoker to cook at 350 degrees.
- Cook for three to four hours until the skin looks crispy.
- Cover the turducken with aluminum foil and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Remove the turducken from the smoker. Let rest 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
After my parents and I finished our wonderful Christmas dinner, we got to talking. It would be easy to create a cthulhu turducken. You would just prepare the octopus and crab legs like normal and open the turducken up enough to insert the octopus. As we laughed, my Dad said you could even make the turducken look alive by adding bread for its tail feathers.