What does a Time Out veggo do when confronted with a barbecued pig stuffed with twenty different meats? Hands the plate to someone else...
The hardest thing about being a vegetarian at Merrick Watts's turducken hoedown on the rooftop of Triple M at World Square last Friday was the smell.
Broadly, I mean “that barbecue smell”. Specifically, I’m referring to the stench of 19 meats* painstakingly layered up and slow-cooked to perfection inside of a whole baby pig. Yep – it was monumentally gross. But it was a spectacle, so I sucked it up and joined Time Out Sydney editor Joel Meares for a big ol' barbecue in celebration of what Watts was calling the Turducken Ridiculous. And a fair name it was indeed.
It took two days to de-bone and dry out the meats, and another full day to cook them, with the pig spending a huge number of hours steaming. MasterChef’s Matt Preston (who lead the taste-testing with Watts) and Heston Blumenthal (sadly absent) both expressed their approval of the plan. The turduckens of yore had usually been filled with up to ten birds, but this freaky commingling of species was unprecedented. They're waiting to see if they make the Guinness grade.
Those present – Austereo staffers, knife-and-fork-slamming competition winners, a few befuddled veggos – were treated to a video loop of the turkducken’s preparation (could not…tear…eyes…) and the hosts’ ritualistic repetition of the phrase “turducken ridiculous”. It was nearly too much for the starving guests, who quickly filled up all the seats at two long tables decked out with condiments enough for, well, 20 types of meat. When the turducken finally emerged from the barbecue area on the stormy Austereo rooftop balcony, fumes wafting, radio station staffers were fleeing their desks downstairs to come and get in on it.
A special "pork sword" glided right through the middle of the pig, which looked, Preston noted, a little "post-coital", sitting there all golden-brown and stuffed. And when it was divided into two like a magician's assistant, reports were that it was cooked all the way through. Phew! And it looked like a Neapolitan ice-cream inside. Watts noted that he didn’t know “whether to root it or eat it.” So far, so good. But how did it taste?
Meat-loving Meares nabbed a plateful and delivered the Time Out verdict: “It tastes like texture.”
“Not bad," he said, chewing, chewing, chewing... "But which one is the water buffalo?”
*pigeon, partridge, quail, guinea fowl, rabbit, chicken, duck, pheasant, turkey, goose, mutton, beef, emu, goat, water buffalo, oxen, kangaroo, wallaby and venison.
WARNING: Video below contains some graphic content.