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Recipe: Garbage Can Turkey

Not the conventional way of cooking a turkey, but the results are amazing and the bird tastes wonderful. Seasoning can be added, but is not necessary.

Garbage Can Turkey Ingredients

  • aluminum foil

  • 15 inch wooden stake

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

  • new 15 gallon metal garbage can with lid

How to Make Garbage Can Turkey

  1. Lay about 3 long sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil out on the grass to make a square about 3x3 feet. Pound the wooden stake into the ground in the center of the aluminum foil.

  2. Fill the lid of the garbage can with a large pile of charcoal, and light. Place the whole turkey (thawed of course) onto the stake, legs down. Turn the garbage can upside down, and place over the turkey. Place piles of lighted coals on the top, and around the sides of the can.

  3. Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours, or keep going until coals go out. Do not lift can during cooking. Brush the charcoal off of the can, and lift off carefully as some heat may rush out when you lift the can. The internal temperature of the turkey should be at least 180 degrees F (83 degrees C) when taken in the thickest part of the thigh.

Garbage Can Turkey Nutritions

  • Calories: 670.8 calories

  • Carbohydrate:

  • Cholesterol: 264.5 mg

  • Fat: 31.4 g

  • Fiber:

  • Protein: 90.6 g

  • SaturatedFat: 9.2 g

  • ServingSize:

  • Sodium: 219.3 mg

  • Sugar:

  • TransFat:

  • UnsaturatedFat:

Garbage Can Turkey Reviews

  • I have done this garbage can turkey for years.But I have went a little bit modern I now use a stainless steel stake and a stainless steel can. The turkey always comes out perfect. I also use 20# of k9ingsford chaircoal & leave it for 2 hrs. without opening the can.

  • Please do not use a galvanized garbage can. The zinc fumes are toxic. It will also seep into the turkey and thus you can get poisoned eating it. If you are using a galvanized garbage can, please burn the inside off first Just dont inhale the fumes We would hate to have someone in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day

  • You dont need to go through that much work. Need the garbage can- no lid. Put stake 2" X 2" in ground 15" high. Place foil around steak and a piece over top if you dont want bird to touch wood. Foil around base of stake is in case bird gets so done it slides down stake. Place garbage can over turkey mounted on stake with legs down. Light 10 - 12#s charcoal till turning white. Shoval about 3 briquettes wide around bottom of can with a shoval full on top. Let cook for 1 1/2 hours without removing can. Turkey will be done. No charcoal inside of can. If you wish set a can or 2 of beer inside can with turkey for additional moisture. I found it doest make a difference. Size of turkey is also irrelevant. Ive done these in freezing temperatures outside and have always had great results. Bird size doesnt matter. Watch out for the dogs once the stake is in the ground.

  • This way to cook turkey is amazing Its so moist and has a wonderful smokey flavor The important thing about the trash can is to burn off any galvinizing before the first time cooking with it. All you have to do is get a really hot fire going inside of it, then when the fire is out, dump the ashes.

  • Ive done this many times while camping through the summers. We have found that it doesnt seem to matter if its hot out or cold and snowy. It always works out great. You should also try it with a couple chickens, one on top of the other, and reduce cook time to about 1 hour. Also good using a pork loin or eye of the round, again reducing cook time. Season to taste. Be careful when removing can. Ashes can blow around, especially on a windy day.

  • This is a great way to make turkey, it comes out moist and juicy. I used a beer keg with the bottom cut out and charcoal around the bottom and on top of the keg then added a thermometer on the side to watch the temperature. The turkey came out great

  • If you use a wood dowel 3/4" and put a bunt cake pan at the bottom, it can catch the juices and make an awesome turkey. Did it last year and was great.

  • I have been doing this for years. We camp and do it there most of the time. the night before we actually cook the turkey we have a huge camp fire and burn all the bad things off the can in the bon fire, by the next day the can is ready to cook the turkey. It comes out perfect every single time. No need to add any beer cans or anything to it. Juicy, smokey and just simply wonderful every single time.

  • I have made turkeys like this for years for our Boy Scout troop. It is easy, delicious, fun, great for camping, and always a hit

  • My dad loves to make this recipe. Its great to make when you are camping. So easy and the turkey turns out so good

  • Great recipe As a scout leader I have done over 100 various versions of this recipe over the years. To create a more perfect wheel, I combined a bunt pan and a mechs jack stand to create a reusable turkey stand. The jack stand is seperated to allow the bunt pan to slide over the jack stands shaft. then the top is repinned back in its upright postion. Wrap the whole thing in foil and waaallaaa Insert the over the top of the stand and your all set. The stand is ajustable for chicken, of bigger birds, and the bunt pan catches all the drippings, thus allowing the makeings for gravy too The bunt pan also stops the bird from sliding onto the foil below. Try this if you use it alot, and try a herb and butter rub between the skin and meat too Yummy

  • Excellent Way to do a Turkey. Moist everytime. I rub the inside and outside of the bird with spices before I put it on the stick. There is not any issue with using galvanized cans for cooking, as some major BBQ grill manufacturers have switched to galvanized. When galvanized metal has reached such a high temperature it vaporizes (as in welding) it becomes an issue. Your garbage can will not come close to this temperature to lech zinc into your food.

  • Had entire family at cottage this past weekend, 90+ outside and I annouced we were having turkey. Everyone thought I was crazy. My son helped me with my adventure. I used suggestions from others and used a bundt pan to "sit" the turkey in and used 4 wire bent coathangers, covered in aluminum foil, push up the pan into the bird as the support. Soaked the bird in "out of this world brine" by SUDEMERS from Allrecipes. This was the best turkey we have had We will now be cooking our Thanksgiving turkey this way. would give more than 5 stars if I could.

  • I was at a friends cottage this summer and her husband made this - when she said we were having garbage can turkey, a few of us looked at each other in trepidation, but it was AWESOME The turkey was moist and falling off the bone. And what a great way to have a turkey on a summer day without heating up your house.

  • This is easy and good. Turkey is always moist. Like others, we have done this when camping and at home.

  • I use a steel stake wrapped in foil. also use a bunt pan. stake goes right through the middle of pan and collects all the juices.

  • My husband loves making turkey this way. it is good but I like the traditional way. still tender & juicy very the second time around. good

  • My hostess used mesquite flavored charcoal and the meat was so juicy and flavorful, I couldnt believe it had only cooked for 2 hours There was a faint charcoal hint to the flavor, which I love.

  • My husband loves making turkey this way. it is good but I like the traditional way. still tender & juicy very the second time around. good

  • I have done this 6 or 7 times. It is wonderful, I use a large injection needle for the marinade. I also do a spicy rub and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days to absorb all the flavors. Making an aluminum rack for the bird was easy, I took a 4 piece of flat stock from Tractor Supply, cut it in half bent it leaving a small area to bolt it together. That gives me a 4 leg holder that can be put through the dishwasher.Using a galvanized can does NOT pose a health issue. It does NOT get hot enough to vaporize the plated zinc. The zinc plating needs to be burned and you have to inhale the fumes (like from a cutting torch) for quite a long time. At that point you may get Anosmia which can effect your sense of smell but that takes a ton of breathing it. If you take cold pills they contain zinc, as a matter of point zinc is required for a number of healthy reasons..Cook your bird and enjoy

  • THIS WAS AWESOME Will be making this again and again

  • This works great every time

  • Galvanize Can - Its ok to use, but prep the can first, by doing a burn using charcoal first. That will burn the zinc off. After that, you need to store the can inside in a dry area and do not use it for anything but cooking.You cook at about 700 degrees, so the cooking time is substantially shortened. Be careful not to over cook. I use the insert from a turkey fryer standing straight up and then a foil tray to catch all the drippings. yum. Its on the weaker side, so you need to add support on both sides to keep the bird upright.

  • This is a great way to make the perfect turkey, outside. It is extremely moist because it cooks so fast, and does not have a chance to dry out. Here is a video of the same process:

  • Dont use a zinc coated garbage can to cook in. The metal zinc platting will outgas into your food and is toxic.

  • Weve done this a number of times, the turkey turns out great

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