So far we’ve eased into The Oinkster’s Burger Week IV, but starting today the gloves are off. The Turducken is a burger that does not mess around, with a mix of duck, turkey, and chicken that would put your standard holiday meal to shame.
The turducken is the modern American descendant of the time old European tradition of stuffing birds inside birds (like one French recipe that involved 17 DIFFERENT BIRDS being stuffed within each other). Your traditional turducken involves a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, and then filled with sausage and stuffing. A number of variants exist, but the general idea is to layer several types of fowl together. It gained a good deal of popularity thanks to John Madden, who for a good stretch of years would have a turducken during his Thanksgiving football broadcast.
The guys at The Oinkster decided to take a stab at transforming this holiday feast into a burger. They decided to go with duck pastrami, deep-fried chicken beast and a seasoned turkey patty topped with cherry gastrique, rosemary garlic relish, and mayo on a potato bun. This burger is also the only one in the Burger Week line up that has no beef in it, because I’m pretty sure the universe would collapse under the weight of a sandwich with that many different types of meat.
The burger smells like Thanksgiving, with a mix of savory spices and cooked meat. The flavor is spot on, with the meats each getting their note and accompanied by the stuffing like garlic and celery relish, sweet cherry, vegetal greens, and potato bun. I am a huge fan of what I call “the day after sandwhich”, basically Thanksgiving dinner between two pieces of bread, and this burger tops even the best of those. While I was there, everyone in the place kept saying it tastes like Thanksgiving dinner which would be followed by grunts and mmm hmms of fellow patrons. Though it may only be day 3 of Burger Week, it is going to very hard to top this burger in my book.
My beer pairing pick for the Turducken is Ellie’s Brown Ale from Avery Brewing. This brown ale, named after Adam Avery’s beloved dog, is one of my go to brown ales because it plays a great balancing act between flavor, body, and drinkability. The beer pours a very dark brown with a good amount of off white head. The aroma is big and malty with notes of brown bread, caramel, and a hint of doughiness. For being as dark as it is, it’s still medium bodied and pretty refreshing. The flavor follows the aroma with a variety of dark malty notes with the addition of a slight hop spiciness and red fruit notes. The finish is on the drier side, with a subtle brown bread and red fruit finish.
Though normally I’d pair these kinds of meats with something more akin to a Belgian double or doppelbock, I think this particular brown ale works as a good stand in. With a burger with as much going on as the Turducken, you kind of want the beer to be a bit more subtle but still compliment the flavors of the food. Ellie’s Brown does this amazingly well with the subtle sweetness of the malts counterbalancing the savory flavors of the burger while enhancing the cherry gastrique with its red fruit notes. I may be a bit biased in this pairing though, as Ellie’s Brown is one of my favorite beers to pair with almost any kind of food.
Cheers and GO KINGS GO!