Trash Can Turkeys

This is a fun way to cook your holiday turkey.
Here are the first two turkeys I saw being cooked in trash cans. Notice that they are mounted on sticks driven into the ground. The sticks are about 2" X 2" square and 24" long. You want the sticks long enough that the turkey is centered in the can. Here they are cooking.

This time we are cooking 6 turkeys for a function at work. Three at a time.

We planned on about 10lbs. of charcoal for each turkey. We did end up using more because it was windy.

While the coals were getting started we covered up the turkeys with the trash can.

The trash cans are 10 gallon galvanized metal cans. We purchased them at a local farm store.

Try to center the turkey in the can top to bottom and side to side.

Notice we lined the ground with aluminum foil. You'll want to do this to catch the bird when it falls off the stake because it is so tender.

Waiting for the coals to turn white.

When the coals have all started to turn white it is time to place them on and around the cans.

Cover the top of the can with a layer of coals.

This is a hot job. Mike is using a metal dust pan as a shovel.

After covering the top with coals use the remainder to spread around the base of the can.

Try to get the coals so that they are touching the side of the can.

We had to add some more briquets part way through since it was a windy day. Just add them to the top and side and the existing coals will light them.

It helps to pull the edges of the aluminum foil up around the coals and can. The helps to hold the coals against the side of the can.

Removing the coals from the top of the can once the time is up.

For a 10-12 lb. bird cook for 2.5 - 3 hours, for a larger bird experiment. We always use the birds with the pop out thermometer just to be safe.

When done, uncover the top and pull the coals away from the side.

Remove the can.

And look at that bird. The turkey was so tender in fell off the stake onto the foil. This happens most of the time.

This is a stand I made to hold the turkey up without having to drive a stake in the ground. A wood stake works just as well.

The turkeys were so well cooked and tender they just fell apart.

The aluminum foil will catch the bird if it alls apart like this one.

Since we already had hot coals and we needed to cooks some more birds we just took one off and added another.

We then put the can over it and pulled the hot coals up to the can and on top. Then we added some additional coals and let it cook.

Safty Notice:
The cans pictured are galvanized trash cans. The galvanize coating will vaporize with heat and if inhailed is bad for your health. Before using the cans we started a fire inside the can to burn off the galvanize coating to keep it from contaminating the food or from being inhailed by the cooks.We probably should also burn off the galvanized coating on the outside of the can or better yet start with cans that do not have a galvanized coating. Obviously with this method you are working around open flames, hot cans and coals. Beware of hurting yourself.

Mike Neeley is the master chef you see in these pictures.

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