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What is Osturducken?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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An osturducken is a roast made by stuffing an ostrich with a turducken. Far from being a new species of bird, a turducken is a roast which is made by stuffing a duck with a chicken, and stuffing this roast inside a turkey. As you might imagine, an osturducken is an extremely large roast, requiring a huge group of people to consume it, and most osturducken reports are apocryphal. The construction alone of such a roast would take at least two days.

The concept of stuffing animals with other animals is far from new. The Romans, for example, were very fond of making elaborate stuffed roasts with poultry and lambs. Stuffed poultry roasts were prepared in many parts of Europe for feasts during the medieval era, often integrating exotic fowl like swans and peacocks. These roasts undoubtedly inspired the turducken, which emerged in the American South in the later part of the 20th century. Once the turducken was developed, the osterducken would have been the logical next step in the eyes of some ambitious cooks, integrating the largest known bird on Earth into an already extravagant dish.

The process of making an osturducken starts with deboning the birds involved. This creates ragged sheets of meat and skin. Many cooks like to leave the skin on for more flavor, although some choose to remove it for various reasons. The meats are then seasoned, and they may be marinated as well. Some people like to brine the meats to create a rich, savory flavor which will also retain moisture as the osturducken is cooked.

Construction of the roast starts with laying out the ostrich, skin side down, and covering it in a layer of stuffing. Then the turkey is layered on top, followed with a layer of stuffing, and so on until the chicken has been covered in stuffing. Next, the meats are rolled up into a block which is sewn together. Some people like to leave the legs of the ostrich on for aesthetic reasons, so that the finished roast will more closely resemble an actual bird.

The stuffings used in an osturducken can be incredibly diverse. They can include seafood, sausage, an assortment of vegetables, fruits like oranges and pears, mushrooms, and other ingredients. Many people like to use distinctly different flavored stuffings at each layer for variety, and the stuffing is often spicy, as well.

Cooking an osturducken can take well over 12 hours, and it requires a very large oven which maintains a stable temperature. The dish must periodically be basted as well, to keep it moist. Once the osturducken is roasted, it is allowed to rest for half an hour or more and then carved for the table.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon42148 — On Aug 19, 2009

The osturducken is a noble effort, but I'm working on something I call the osturduckenaubegg, in which an osturducken is stuffed with a squab which, in turn, has been stuffed with hard-boiled eggs.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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