Holiday season signals a busy time for Gourmet Butcher Block (2144 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 504-392-5700; www.thegourmetbutcherblock.com), a Cajun-style butcher shop known for its turduckens. Many people are now familiar with this creation — a duck stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a turkey, all deboned and layered with dressing. But that wasn't the case when Mistich and his wife Leah opened their first Gourmet Butcher Block in 1993. Leah hails from Maurice, La., near Lafayette, where her family operates Herbert's Specialty Meats, a butcher shop known for its turducken. That's where Glenn learned the tricks of the trade he plies today in Gretna.
What does it take to make a good turducken?
Mistich: We start making them in September and vacuum seal and freeze them, otherwise we could never keep up with demand. You have to cook the dressing, make the sausage for it, everything is from scratch. Then you have to cut everything a certain way and layer it all a certain way and then sew it all back up a certain way. It's fun, actually, but you have to be really consistent and pay attention. You don't want to ruin someone's holiday meal by doing it wrong.
John Madden famously featured your turducken during his NFL broadcasts at the holidays. How did that come about?
M: It almost didn't happen. Madden heard about the turducken through the guys at WWL (radio) when he was in town for a (New Orleans) Saints game and he asked to get one for the press box. We brought it, but at first the Superdome people didn't want us to bring in outside food. But we got it in. It took off from there, and he always got one every year after that. He still orders two to this day, even though he's retired now.
I understand you make something now called the fowl de cochon. What on earth is this?
M: The fowl de cochon is a deboned pig stuffed with deboned turkey, stuffed with a deboned chicken, stuffed with a deboned duck with dressing all around it. It's pretty big, it'll feed 50 people, but we still sell about 30 a month. Especially around big football games. We sold a lot for the LSU-Alabama game. — IAN MCNULTY