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    You are in: Home / Recipes / Trash Can Turkey Recipe
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    Trash Can Turkey

    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    6 hrs

    4 hrs

    2 hrs

    FloraandMerriwether's Note:

    A whole turkey roasted upright on a stake under a metal trash can. The moistest, tastiest turkey I've ever eaten. This is a Boy Scout Recipe. It's just great!

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    Units: US | Metric


    1. 1
      Also requires: 1 Wood or Metal Stake (at least 1" thick and 20" long), Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, 1 Clean 30 Gallon Metal Trash Can.
    2. 2
      20 Lbs. Charcoal.
    3. 3
      Mix poultry seasoning, salt, mustard, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl and stir to mix.
    4. 4
      Remove giblets from neck or body cavity of the turkey and set aside for use another time (or gravy).
    5. 5
      Remove and discard the fat just inside the cavities of the turkey.
    6. 6
      Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.
    7. 7
      Season the bird with the rub, placing 1 TBS into the neck cavity and 2 TBS int0 the body cavity.
    8. 8
      Brush or rub the outside of the turkey all over with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the remaining rub.
    9. 9
      Put covered into refrigerator and let cure for 4 hours or overnight.
    10. 10
      Clear a 4 foot circle on the ground, using a shovel (do this on dirt, not your grass).
    11. 11
      Cover the circle with heavy duty aluminum foil.
    12. 12
      Drive the stake into the ground in the center of the circle, so it sticks up about 16" above the ground.
    13. 13
      Light the charcoal in a grill.
    14. 14
      Holding the turkey with the neck end at the top, lower it onto the stake.
    15. 15
      The tail end of the bird should be about 6" above the ground.
    16. 16
      Place the trash can over the turkey, keeping the bird in the center and resting the trash can on the ground.
    17. 17
      Shovel 1/3 of the coals on top of the trash can and the remainder around the outside; these should come 3 to 4" up the sides of the can.
    18. 18
      Cook the turkey until cooked through (1 1/2- 2 hours).
    19. 19
      Using a shovel, remove the coals and ash from the sides and top of the can.
    20. 20
      Lift the can off the turkey- CAREFUL- The can will be HOT!
    21. 21
      Transfer the turkey to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
    22. 22
      Let it rest for 10- 15 minutes, then carve and serve.

    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on August 28, 2003


      I have made these recipes over the years. I was an Occupational Thereapist at a nursing home and we would have a pig roast and I would do a turkey this way. It is also great with just vegetables. Corn is on the bottom lined up and then other vegetables topped with cabbage. I do have to do you MUST HAVE A GALVANIZED TRASH CAN chemicals from the can aren't absorbed by the food.

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No
    • on November 11, 2008


      Our Troop has been preparing turkeys this way for the last 5 years for our October Feast - Family Camp out. I suggest skipping the stick and simply place the bird on an empty #10 can (collects juices for gravy). The turkey cook so tender and so fast that the stick will slide right through and then your bird is on the ground. Always lots of pictures taken during preparation and lots of families asking for instructions for Thanksgiving. Best way to cook a turkey!

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No
    • on December 04, 2003


      I have tried variations of this method several times and it has always produced the best turkey I've ever eaten including peanut oil fried turkey! Maybe it had something to do with long cold days with crazed Boy Scouts and being ravenously hungry. Ya think? Anyway, try this method. I think this is best: As for Mr Goomba... obviously he has never been on a BoyScout outing. They are experts at lugging around way too much paraphernalia just to make bacon and eggs at 6 in the morning.. and then spend 3 hours cleaning it up. (sorry if this is second occurance of this posting.. something went wrong with my machine)

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

    Read All Reviews (5)


    Nutritional Facts for Trash Can Turkey

    Serving Size: 1 (690 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 8

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 1118.3
    Calories from Fat 511
    Total Fat 56.8 g
    Saturated Fat 15.6 g
    Cholesterol 463.0 mg
    Sodium 2187.6 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 2.1 g
    Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
    Sugars 0.2 g
    Protein 139.6 g

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