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Turkey in a Trash Can

We’ve been cooking turkeys this way for years and I figured everyone needs to try it at some point. We always make it a big and event and this goes way beyond a backyard cookout. That being said, it’s easy to pull off and its not that expensive if a few people chip in to make it work. The cooking will take more than an hour so make sure to have some form of entertainemtn for the guests. We love ournew game of Kubb (https://www.instructable.com/id/How-To-Make-a-Kubb-Set/).

Have fun and be safe! Now on to the cooking….

You will need:

– A turkey (thawed out)
– One NEW metal trashcan that has been washed out with dishsoap
– Two medium size bags of charcoal (the kind that does not need lighter fluid)
– A metal rod or pipe with a “T” on top
– Bricks or Rocks
– Pan for drippings (and catching falling birds

– Wood chips
– Beer and/or cocktails
– Friends

Step 1: The Base

For this you will need the tinfoil, the bricks, the metal rod/pole, the drip pan and a hammer.

First, find a spot of grass that you don’t mind killing. Please note that the grass will NOT SURVIVE  the process so don’t do this in the middle of the front yard. (I warned you).

Second, lay out a square of tin foil larger than the diameter of the trashcan top. Use the bricks/rocks to hold down the edges to keep the wind from blowing the foil up. I have found that if you fold the edges of the foil together as you place them down it helps.
Third, in the center of the foil square place the pan in the center and run the pipe/tube through it and hammer it into the ground. This is what you will place your turkey on for the cooking. Make sure you put the pan there because your turkey will literally fall apart during cooking and this pan will catch it. You want the top of the rod to be 10” from the top of the pan so your bird can “stand up.”

Step 2: Mounting the Bird

For this step you will need the bird, the trashcan, and woodchips (if you have them).

First, you want to season your bird. We use some olive oil, salt, and pepper but you can use almost anything. I do know that if you want a crisper skin use some type of oil on the outside of the bird.

Second, take your prize to the tinfoil square and place the bird on top of the pole with the pole running up through the bottom. If you do this correctly the bird will be “standing” just above the pan for the drippings with the wings out. (On a side note, this is a great time for your guests to call you and crazy and/or awesome.)

Third, if you have wood chips sprinkle SOME around the bird but not directly under it.

Fourth, carefully place the can over the bird. Make sure not to knock it off the stand. 

Step 3: Fire (Almost)

For this step you will need charcoal and the wood chips if you have them.

First, place a ring of wood around the rim of the trashcan on the foil.

Second, on the top of the can (not touching the foil) put a layer of charcoal. Then using the rest of the charcoal form a ring around the foil side of the can. If the ring starts to get to large you can put more on top of the can.

Step 4: Fire!


Light the charcoal. It’s best to light the top (non-foil side) of the can and then work around the bottom. Make sure that everyone is watching and the camera’s are ready. This is going to be awesome.

Once the coals are lit just leave it alone and go play those yard games we talked about. If you do hear a loud band and then some hissing it’s okay, the bird fell and it’s part of the process.

Step 5: Lifting the Can

Let the bird cook until the coals are completely burnt and almost cool. You will need mitts to lift the can, but the coals should not be hot. Be careful when lifting the can, make sure you lift directly up so the coals/ashes do not get of the bird. Once everyone gets a good look at your masterpiece take it off the rod and carve that baby.

You can check out the whole article and few pictures here.

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