Garbage Can Turkey

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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.


  • aluminum foil
  • 15 inch wooden stake
  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • new 15 gallon metal garbage can with lid


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

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.

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.

Prep time: 30 mins / Cooking time: 2 hrs / Total time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Serving: 12 / Yield: 12 servings

Calories: 670.8

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