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Fun Food: Turkey in a Trash Can

Before completely ignoring this idea, let me assure you that more than one scout troop has cooked a turkey this way with great success! If may be a little offbeat and "out of the box" but it does work. I've also known families that use this method to cook their Thanksgiving turkey so that they can take advantage of the long holiday weekend and go camping, yet still celebrate with a traditional meal.


To prepare the cooking area:

1. Drive a wooden stake (2"x2"x24") into the ground far enough to have at least 9" clearance when the trash can is placed upside down over the stake.

2. Lay aluminum foil on the ground around the stake to form a 3 foot square area; shiny side up.

3. Obtain a CLEAN 30 gallon metal trash can and have it nearby while you prepare the turkey.

4. Start the charcoal BEFORE you prepare the turkey.

Note: Always follow safe food handling practices no matter what your cooking arena is. You could be cooking in a spotless chef's dream kitchen, but if you are careless in handling your food, you could still become ill.

To prepare the turkey:

1. Remove anything from inside the turkey.

2. Wash the turkey with clean water inside and out.

3. Rub the outside of the turkey with butter then sprinkle with seasoning of your choice.

4. Form a ball of aluminum foil about the size of a softball.

5. Shove the aluminum foil ball inside the turkey from the back end to plug the neck opening so the turkey can be placed on the wooden stake.

6. Position the turkey legs down over the wooden stake and carefully lower the bird down over the stake until it rests on the stake. The turkey should now look as if it is standing on it's legs, but the legs should not be touching the ground.

7. After the turkey is in position on the stake, turn the trash can upside down over the bird.

8. Place hot charcoals next to one another on the ground all the way around the trash can. The coals should be touching.

9. Place 50 coals on top of the up-turned trash can.

10. Every 15 minutes, add one unlit coal to each 5 coals around the bottom of the trash can.

11. Every 15 minutes, add 15 unlit coals on top of the trash can. Try to distribute the coals evenly over the entire area.

12. DO NOT REMOVE the trash can until you believe the turkey has finished cooking. You can figure 15 minutes of cook time for each one pound of turkey, if it is not too windy outside. A 20 pound turkey will take 5 hours. The more wind, the more charcoal you will need.

13. Before trying to remove the trash can, scoop the hot coals off the top onto the aluminum foil on the ground (so you won't get burned). If you find the turkey is not completely cooked, you can put the trash can back over the turkey and scoop the coals back onto the can.

14. Use two big meat forks to remove the turkey from the stake. Have someone standing by with a big serving tray to sit the turkey on to carry back to your eating area. DO NOT try to carry the turkey on the meat forks or with hot pads! That's a sad event waiting to happen -- either the carrier gets burnt or you drop the turkey -- what a disaster!!

15. Say Grace, carve the turkey and CALL ME FOR DINNER!


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