Garbage Can Turkey

I was looking around today for some interesting Christmas dinner recipes, when I saw this 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.”


  • Aluminium foil
  • 15 inch wooden stake
  • 1/3 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • New 15 gallon metal garbage can with lid


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

Mmmm, nothing like garbage can turkey.

19 Comments on “Garbage Can Turkey”

  1. An amusing recipe at best. I think you’ll find (my foot tastes rather horrible right now) that the same taste can be achieved at a far cheaper price with anything you use. All you have to do is keep all moisture from the turkey within the heating environment around the turkey, not allow any actual flame to come within sight of it, and keep up continuous heating of the turkey without releasing any heat. And no basting. Which (no basting) is a recipe for disaster.

    Use an oven and save your bin. Its the same thing. Besides which, I don’t think it really works…what’s the point (no pun intended) of the stake anyway? Vampire turkey?


  2. Actually, I’ve had this numerous times, and it’s quite good! Of course, you don’t use a used garbage can. I think there are better ways to cook a turkey, the best being to deep fry it, but garbage can is definitely worth trying.

    I have to say, ever since my family started deep frying turkeys about 7-8 years ago, they’ve never looked back. While it sounds nasty, all of the moisture of the bird is retained, and you can cook a 15 lb turkey in less than 1 hour. Mmm.. I’ve got pictures of this around somewhere, but I’ll have to dig them up.


  3. I think it might be fun experiment. the stake is supposed to keep the turkey suspended in the air I think and I’m sure if it’s a new garbage can there won’t be any trash in it. deep fried turkey is pretty tasty. and I love your quote about introducing wankers to nemo :p


  4. Ah, am assuming this was invented so that hoboes could have turkey dinner too? … if they can acquire a turkey, that is. Maybe we should donate turkies to them so we can find out if this way of cooking actually works? ^_^


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