As Super Bowl 50 approaches, football fans can be forgiven if they get a bit nostalgic for the booming voice and exuberant personality of John Madden. He won’t be calling the plays this year, but we’re sure he will be watching, and if you want to serve the ultimate Super Bowl spread in his honor, offer your guests an authentic All-Madden Turducken from the Gourmet Butcher Block in Gretna, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.
John Madden is a true showman, and as the voice of NFL football for 42 years his broadcasts became a fixture in America’s living rooms. Madden mixed his play-by-play analysis with entertaining anecdotes and occasional food segments, which is how turducken, a Cajun specialty, came to be the official food of the All Madden Team in 1997.
As Madden tells it, “I was introduced to the Turducken in New Orleans. And it wasn't Thanksgiving. Glenn at the Gourmet Butcher Block brought it by and I had never heard of it or had seen one and they put it in the booth and it smelled so good, that I had to taste it. And it was good. Then Thanksgiving came and we got one in addition to the traditional turkey. Then a Turducken and a turkey became a Thanksgiving tradition.”
So what is an All-Madden Turducken and who is Glenn? Weighing in at a hefty 17 pounds, turducken is an elaborate Cajun creation first popularized in the 1980s by the Hebert brothers, Sammy and Widley Jr., at their family-owned store, Herbert’s Specialty Meats, in Maurice, Louisiana. The Hebert’s daughter, Leah, married Glenn Mistich and then in 1994 she and Glenn opened their own Cajun meat market called Gourmet Butcher Block, and started selling turducken. From the beginning the turducken was popular, but images of John Madden cutting into a turducken with his bare hands and pulling it apart and eating like a 15th century hedonist caught the viewers’ attention. It didn’t take long for the turducken to become the official food of the All Madden Team and earn the new name of the All-Madden Turducken.
It was as if the turducken was a celebrity on its own and for years it made numerous public appearances in Madden’s booth during the games, which helped make the Gourmet Butcher Block a turducken juggernaut. On an average Thanksgiving holiday they can sell as many as 2,000 to 4,000 turduckens, same for Christmastime, but sales are also high year round, especially during football season. It’s now also a fan favorite during the Super Bowl, and if you have every tried a taste you will understand why. It’s absolutely amazing. The stuffings are moist without being soggy, have incredible deep flavors of chicken and duck, onions, cornbread, and savory sausage and the skin is so crispy and golden brown it’s hard not sneak a nibble before anyone notices. The aromas that escape as the first slice is made will make your mouth water and paired with rice and gravy this is a meal unto itself.
If you don’t what to fuss with a ton of food, it’s perfect for game day crowds because it can feed up to 20 people or as Glenn always says with a twinkle in his eye and smile on his face, “or 10 Cajuns,” can be ordered online, and is delivered right to your door.
Even a newbie can serve this special bird, thanks to Glenn’s complete enclosed cooking and serving instructions. Each delivery includes instructions for thawing and roasting the turducken as well as recipes for the recommended rice and gravy sides. Try the All-Madden Turducken with an Abita beer from New Orleans it will make you homesick for N’awlins even if you’ve never been there. That’s the effect the charming people and delicious food has on everyone, we guarantee it.
To order your own All-Madden Turducken in time for Super Bowl 50, place your order online by 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, February 3. Price: $139.95 for two-day shipping, which includes the bird, instructions, and shipping costs.
Note - Turduckens take a minimum of 18 HOURS to defrost at room temperature, and up to 4-5 days to defrost in the refrigerator. Please plan accordingly.
Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor and a food, drink and travel writer at The Daily Meal. In addition to lifestyle topics, Summer also writes about culture and the arts at Woman Around Town. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva and on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva.