Leave it to the Roberston family to decide a turducken just isn’t enough animal for one meal. The Duck Dynasty clan took the notorious holiday trifecta of a chicken stuffed into a duck that is then stuffed into a turkey, and shoved the whole shooting match inside a pig. They dubbed their concoction a “Pirducken,” and viewers will get to behold its majesty during Wednesday night’s hourlong special, “I’m Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas.” (10/9pm CDT)
I talked with Duck Dynasty matriarch Kay Robertson, affectionately known as Miss Kay (pictured, right), about Pirducken — and since it was right around Thanksgiving, some of her family’s holiday traditions — as well as how she’s handled her unexpected TV fame:
Channel Guide Magazine: So, Miss Kay, how did the Pirducken come about?
Kay Robertson: Well, what happened is we started off, it was originally going to be the turducken, which is the turkey, the duck and the chicken, but then we decided to put it inside this smoked hog we did, and then it was called a pirducken. A pig, a turkey, the chicken and the duck, all in one. It’s great. It evolved into that. The turkey, chicken and duck thing, they do that, we just added the pig and made it all that more special.
CGM: How was it?
KR: We enjoyed it. It took a lot of room up on the table, but it was worth it.
CGM: Is this going to be a new family tradition?
KR: I don’t know. You just never can tell.
CGM: Tell me about the typical Thanksgiving in the Robertson family.
KR: Phil is always the one to make the dressing, you know. Anything he can make with his duck, he loves that. He does that quite often. But actually he’s a really good cornbread maker and puts the whole dressing together. For a real man’s man, he’s a pretty good cook, too, I’ll tell you that. But he loves to season and he chops everything, and he really handles it all himself.
CGM: You have a pretty big family, so how do you make sure everybody can get together?
KR: A lot of our tradition has been that we would have the Thanksgiving meal actually the night before Thanksgiving, and I do that because I want the daughters-in-law to all be able to be with their families, too. You know how you fight over families at Turkey Day. So at our house we just up ours a little. The boys that hunt, they can always get a few of our leftovers, too, before they go on to their in-laws for dinner. It’s the best of both worlds. But yeah, they always make our Thanksgiving. So far, so good. I did just find out that Willie’s leaving on a big deer trip, a hunting trip, Thanksgiving afternoon, but he will get our meal and his in-law’s meal, and then he’s on his way out to hunt.
CGM: I’ve talked with Willie a couple times, so it’s nice to be able to talk with someone else in the family, too, and get their perspective. How about you? Do you watch the show much?
KR: Yeah, of course we watch it. It’s really funny, because when it airs we have usually someone with us watching it. The first night it comes on every year for the first time, we all have a big party at Willie’s house. The only bad thing when you have a big group like that is you miss some of the jokes in it. See, I don’t watch any kind of rough cut or anything, I just see the show just like everybody else, and of course I’m missing lines. But then we go home and I always have it recorded, and Phil and I watch it again so we can hear everything.
CGM: Do you think the family comes off pretty well? Is it an accurate portrayal of you guys?
KR: It certainly is. It really is accurate. Si is really that crazy. In fact, Willie gets mad at me saying this, but my favorite saying is I can’t believe somebody would actually pay me to just be myself. But that’s what I am, I’m just being myself. That’s why I have no fear, I would have never thought I would be able to be on the shows that we’re on now, and yet we’re able to, and I’m never nervous because I’m just being myself. How could I be nervous about that?
CGM: You’re known for your dishes and cooking. Do you watch other cooking shows to get tips on how to present them to an audience?
KR: I grew up staying more at my grandmother’s, because my mom and dad ran the biggest store in our little country town — it was a grocery and a hardware store. They pretty much worked all the time, so I was at my grandmother’s side, and she was the best cook in the whole town. I learned at a very early age about cooking. Of course, I’ve changed a lot. I had to make dishes like Phil’s mom. She made some dishes different, and all that. But yeah, I love to watch some cooking shows. I don’t get to do it all the time, I just occasionally watch them. It’s just natural with me about cooking. I love it, about like the guys do with hunting and fishing and all that stuff.
CGM: So you didn’t see someone else’s cooking show and sort of take cues from them on how to be on camera yourself?
KR: No, you know, it’s really, I’m telling you, this all came about like it did and I never had time to even dream about it. I never thought I’d be on TV. But people would say to me, “Why don’t you make a cookbook?” “I wish you’d be a TV cook, I wish you’d teach me.” “Make a DVD.” Willie and I were really going to run a cooking school at one time, but that didn’t pan out. I guess the one closest to me would probably be Paula Deen, but you know I just thought, “Man, I’m not going to be there. I’m never going to be there. Ever.” Yet we had a list of people, like even just at our church, about 100 people, who said, “Can we come eat with y’all? Please. We’ll buy the food, if you just cook it for us, if we could just be at your house.” I mean, we’ve actually offered just a meal at Phil and Kay’s house just for charity and different causes that are really good and they’ve bid as much as $800 to $1,000 to eat supper at my house.
CGM: It’s obviously a very warm relationship fans have with this show, so what’s it like for you when you meet with them?
KR: I love it. See, I’m a people person anyway, and I was before I ever had a TV show. I love people. But now that we have the fans, I’m telling you, I love meeting and greeting them. I love talking to them. The problem is when you’re trying to get on a plane or have a deadline, or you have to be somewhere and you have to leave them. We went to a lot of events, and Phil and I usually go over our time, but now Willie’s pretty strict. If they say two hours, then we’re in and out, we stay right on time with them, but Phil and I will go over. When I have to leave them, and the whole line hasn’t gotten through, then they’re crying and I am, too, because that’s how much I can’t stand it. But it’s just life. You have to do the best you can. I love my fans. I really do.
CGM: What do the fans want to ask you more than anything else?
KR: They ask me all the time, “Is Uncle Si really that crazy?” I say, “Yeah, he really is that crazy.” And then they’re like, “What about the boys? Y’all seem like you have such a good relationship?” We do. But like Willie, he will pick at me all the time, or aggravate me. Sometimes I mispronounce words and then he’ll say it back to me the next time we’re together. “Mom said this” or “Mom said that,” just to aggravate me. But it’s all in love. Everything we do. Jase and I will argue some. Now Jep, the baby, he’s always needing me to do something for him. But you know what, I love all my kids, and I enjoy them. But it’s not that we don’t argue or make fun. You see that. The only thing I’ll say is you can’t be in the Robertson family if you don’t have a sense of humor, because it’s going to be there. Loud and clear.
Photo: © 2011 Credit: Zach Dilgard