Every pitmaster worth his or her salt knows a thing or two about stuffing (and probably salt). At Bugbear BBQ we’ve been known to stuff a troll burger patty full of bacon, cheese and jalapenos before stuffing it into our mouths.
After the cooking, of course.
But over the last few years the idea of stuffing one meat inside another meat inside of another meat has really exploded, the patient zero of this plague being the infamous turducken. And though this meat-monstrosity (and this is coming from someone who loves making meat out of monstrosities) tastes like boiled cardboard, people are constantly clamoring for turducken recipes.
As such, we will give you our version of the turducken made from chimera and called the Ligoake.
Figured out our clever naming scheme yet? If not…
Now if you’re not personally familiar with the chimera, know that it’s the worst aspects of some already terrible animals; times three. Also, did I mention it breathes fire? Or that it don’t taste so good?
Despite the chimera’s rarity, poor taste, and general difficulty to prepare, people are clamoring for ligoake. And though we don’t serve it at our restaurant, we do love a challenge. Almost as much as stuffing stuff full of stuff. So let’s break down the ligoake recipe.
First thing's first: You need to kill a chimera. And then you need to drag it to your favorite bestiary butcher, because, unless you’re maxed out in your woodscraft skill with a similarly high proficiency with a blade, you’re going to ruin the thing right away. Or end up with a nickname like “Nine-fingers.”
And that’s just embarrassing.
Because you want to stuff each animal quadrant into the larger animal quadrant, you’ll need an expert to debone it for you, all three separately: Snake, Goat, and Lion. And when your butcher hands your three meat flaps over, you’re going to take the smallest bit (the snake) and wrap it around your aromatics: Three sprigs of rosemary and two crushed cloves of garlic.
Once you have that ballish lump, salt and pepper it moderately and then wrap the goat flap around it before applying more salt and pepper. Then wrap this larger meatwad with your lion flap before lightly salting and peppering again.
Then bind this even bigger ball with twine, which should yield you 12-15 pounds, which is quite a bit of meat. Which is why we’re going to deviate quite a bit from our usual cooking routine.
Now many ligoake recipes call for three different rubs for each distinct piece of the chimera, but that’s all just show. Because, and this the real secret of why we don’t think the ligoake is worth the bother: IT’S STILL ALL THE SAME DAMN ANIMAL!
Yeah, each piece physically looks different on the outside, but ligoake is basically stuffing beef inside of beef inside of beef and then calling it a unicorn.
That’s why we just salt and pepper the beast at this stage. But, for good measure, you should probably mix 2 Tablespoons (TB) of garlic powder, 2 TB of ground rosemary, 1 TB of mustard powder, and 1 TB of paprika together.
Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to procrastinate on this as we deviate again in our…
…because we’re not actually going to cook this meat-monstrosity. Well, not in our smoker at least (for now). Instead, we’re going to sous vide it, which is basically an aquarium heater that slowly brings the water temperature, and eventually the meat’s internal temperature, up to the desired degree without losing much moisture.
For meat of this size, you’re going to need a special-made vacuum sealer, which is another reason we avoid this recipe like the plague. And if you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide, well you probably shouldn’t be attempting this recipe in the first place.
My adopted son, Little Wooden Boy, hanging on my serious sous vide rig
Chimera needs to be served at an internal temperature of 145, so set your sous vide for 140 and plop your sealed ligoake inside. Then get comfortable and let it sit for TWO FULL DAYS. In that time you can make your rub, read a book, or just generally fritter your slowly-dwindling life away.
When your sous vide sentence has run its course, set your smoker to 375 with an ounce of cherry or apple wood before removing your ligoake from your sealed bag. But DON’T pour out the juices inside your bag. We’re going to want those for later.
You should remove the mush that was your aromatics though. Then bind your ligoake back up with twine, brush with a wash of egg whites, then liberally coat with the rub you made at some point over the last 48 interminable hours.
Once it’s ready, toss it in the smoker for 45 minutes to give it a great crunchy crust. But know, while it may look delicious on the outside, it’s just basically a loaf of meat that resembles a roast and tastes vaguely like disappointment.
Still a good-lookin' disappointment, if I do say so myself.
Because, just as every man who has ever tried to stuff two other creatures at the same time knows; it always seems like a good idea at the time, but ends in tears. And possible a divorce. Or VD.
Sauces, Sides, and Pairing
Remember those juices left over in your sealed bag? Well pour those into a saucepan and reduce down to about half a cup. Then pour in some beef broth and reduce again by half. And now you have one of my very favorite sauces of all time: Au jus.
Since the ligoake is basically a loaf of meat, and no one around these here parts eats meatloaf, we have no idea what that could possible serve as a side. Vegetables of some sort? Depression?
Pairings are also difficult because ligoake never really lands on our plate. But, to stay with the x3 theme, we’re going to suggest consuming three types of alcohol. This can either be gone about with one unit of liquor, wine, then beer, or the ol’ George Thorogood route of One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer.
And, because we really want to hit the low-hanging-fruit theme of three times three, we’re now invoking Shakespeare’s “Thrice to thine and thrice to mine. And thrice again, to make up nine.” So go ahead and drink your three drinks three times to go with your ligoake.
Because, after reading all this, if you’re still going to make this meat monstrosity, we hope you end up puking.
5w in the punchline to the joke hidden in a technique consisting of three words, yet only one. But beware! An invisibility spell has been cast on this clue, so search carefully!