Turkey in a Trash Can Main Image

Turkey in a trash can! How to cook turkey in just 90 minutes!

Most of us would agree that Thanksgiving would be incomplete without the turkey. But this holiday culinary star can be challenging with its five or six hour bake. And you might just be a little bored if you’ve been cooking it the same way year after year.

Turkey in a Trash Can

So why not do something really different this year? Cook your turkey in a trash can! Yes — smoking a turkey can be done with a trash can!

Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox. ?

It may sound a little weird, but this kind of outdoor cooking is actually one easy, fun and entertaining way to make delicious turkey for gatherings!

Just make sure to use a NEW metal trash can (of course) and to use a long, hot fire to burn off any heavy metals that could contaminate your dinner. Then wash it out thoroughly with dish-washing detergent! Once done, you’re ready to have fun cooking your Thanksgiving turkey to enjoy with friends and family!

Cooking time will take 1.5 to 2 hours, so prepare some fun backyard activities or entertainment for everyone while you wait for the main dish to finish. :)

Is this how you’re going to cook this year’s Thanksgiving turkey?


  • 1 New Metal Trash Can
  • 2 medium size bags of Charcoal (the kind that does not need lighter fluid)
  • Tin Foil
  • Bricks or Rocks
  • Pans (for drippings)
  • at least 12″ long Metal Rod/Pipe (with a “T” on top)
  • Wood Chips (optional)
  • Oven Mitts


  • Hammer

[adinserter block=”11″]


Turkey in a Trash Can

The base: For this you will need the tinfoil, the bricks, the metal rod/pole, the drip pan, and a hammer.

First, find a spot of grass that you don’t mind killing. Please note that the grass will NOT SURVIVE the process so don’t do this in the middle of the front yard. (I warned you).

Second, lay out a square of tin foil larger than the diameter of the trashcan top. Use the bricks/rocks to hold down the edges to keep the wind from blowing the foil up. I have found that if you fold the edges of the foil together as you place them down it helps.

Third, in the center of the foil square place the pan in the center and run the pipe/tube through it and hammer it into the ground. This is what you will place you turkey on for the cooking. Make sure you put the pan there because your turkey will literally fall apart during cooking and this pan will catch it. You want the top of the rod to be about 10″ from the top of the pan so your bird can “stand up.”

Turkey in a Trash Can

Mounting the bird: For this step you will need the bird, the trashcan, and wood chips (if you have them).

First, you want to season your bird. We use some olive oil, salt, and pepper but you can use almost anything. I do know that if you want a crisper skin use some type of oil on the outside of the bird.

Second, take your prize to the tinfoil square and place the bird on top of the pole with the pole running up through the bottom. If you do this correctly the bird will be “standing” just above the pan for the drippings with the wings out. (On a side note, this is a great time for your guests to call you crazy and/or awesome.)

Third, if you have wood chips sprinkle SOME around the bird but not directly under it.

Fourth, carefully place the can over the bird. Make sure not to knock it off the stand.

Turkey in a Trash Can

Fire: For this step you will need charcoal and the wood chips if you have them.

First, place a ring of wood chips around the rim of the trashcan on the foil.

Second, on the top of the can (not touching the foil) put a layer of charcoal. Then using the rest of the charcoal form a ring around the foil side of the can. If the ring starts to get to large you can put more on the top of the can.

Turkey in a Trash Can

Light the charcoal: It’s best to light the top (non-foil side) of the can and then work around the bottom. Make sure that everyone is watching and camera’s are ready. This is going to be awesome.

Once the coals are lit just leave it alone and go play those yard games we talked about. If you do hear a loud bang and then some hissing it’s okay, the bird fell and it’s part of the process.

Turkey in a Trash Can

Lifting the can: Let the bird cook until the coals are completely burnt and almost cool. You will need oven mitts to lift the can, but the coals should not be hot. Be careful when lifting the can, make sure to lift directly up so the coals/ashes do not get on the bird. Once everyone gets a good look at your masterpiece take it off the rod and carve that baby.

I hope you enjoy and let me know if you make your own. Be safe and have fun!

Thanks to CrawJac for this great idea!



Global Site Search


Our Deal For Today!

Your details will never be shared with any third party. Unsubscribe at any time with a single click.

The posts on this site sometimes contain an affiliate link or links to Amazon or other marketplaces. An affiliate link means that this business may earn advertising or referral fees if you make a purchase through those links.