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Old 10-11-2006, 07:38 AM   #1
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Outdoor cooking

Good morning, this is my first time using your forum.My question is: Our Boy Scout Troop has decided to try and cook a turkey during or November camping trip in new Hampshire. The Scouts want to cook it in a barrel, I have never seen this done and know of no one who could give me the details on how to Accomplish this task. Is there anyone out there that has or know of someone that has roast a turkey in a gailvinize barrel? If you do, would you be so kind as to send me this information as I hate to let the boys down.

Thank you
Jim Dunne

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Old 10-11-2006, 07:57 AM   #2
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Hmmm. What they want and what is possible may be different. Is the barrel at the site or are you taking it there?
I think I would "cheat" a little and give yourself some insurance of success. Parboil that turkey before you go.
Then cut a door in the bottom of the barrel to add your coals to the "oven".
Make a cross of steel rods and suspend your turkey from it. You will need to get something like what is used to lift turkeys out of fryers--a support from the bottom of the bird (as it cooks, it would fall off off a plain hanger thing).
Build the first fire in the bottom, let it go to coals and suspend the bird--maybe half way down the barrel. Put a lid on it. You will need some holes in the top and bottom for air to get to the fire.
Replenish the fire as needed by having a fire outside that is burning down to coals. You do not want an active flame burning in your oven--it will be acrid smoke that will be unpleasant.
I think it might work. When the drumstick moves easily and the juices run clear from the thigh it is done. You might want to stick a little instant read thermometer in your pocket--test=180 in the thigh.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:17 AM   #3
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Don;t boil. Just put a layers of foil on the ground,

(just to keep the turkey clean) then find a clean wooden stake that is long enough to SUSPEND the turkey (without touching the ground) but pound it into the ground so the galvanized can can cover the turkey completely (it needs to touch the ground) and the turkey should not touch the top of the can. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and any other rubs or seasonings you like and put the turkey over the wooden stake. Put the can over the turkey then pile charcoal all around the can and light. Not sure of the timing since it depends on size of turkey and size of fire and weather conditions. I'll check with my expert and get back to you. I usually just let them do all the work and I get to eat it but I think it is about 1 hour or a little more. I should have mentioned first that it is important NOT to do this over grass, if you have a fire pit it is the perfect place.

It is not really critical that the turkey remain suspended. It can touch the foil on the ground. The stake is really to keep the turkey upright so it doesn't touch the can on the sides.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:34 AM   #4
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This barrel sounds like the smoker method many of us have used. I've smoked a 23 pound turkey in the yard. It takes about 12 hours.

I've heard horror stories about people parcooking turkeys and then traveling with them to relatives homes to finish baking them. You'll encounter serious temperature abuse problems if you decide to parcook this bird. It's unsafe to bring the temperature past 40 degrees but not all the way to 180 during the cooking process, regardless if you fry, bake, roast, smoke or stick in the living room fireplace. When you travel with the turkey, it must remain at no more than 40 degrees, so keep it in a cooler than can safely hold it at this temperature...or chances are the local hospital will be hosting the boy scouts of america rather than the campground.

I don't know if you have to use wood or charcoal to get the merit badge...but the 23 pound turkey took just a bit more than two bags.
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Old 10-11-2006, 10:39 AM   #5
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The galvanized barrel you refer to is confusing to some,

we just use a new, well washed and SCRUBBED small galvanized garbage can.

Some people use a metal popcorn can if their bird is small enough. If the can looks like it has a coating in it then build a fire inside the can to burn off any
coating. This can be done well ahead of time.
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:17 PM   #6
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Here's a link that might be helpful for cooking turkey in a trash can (it includes photos). http://www.scoutingthenet.com/Cooking/Turkey/
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Old 10-11-2006, 09:10 PM   #7
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sounds like an improvised kettle grill. use indirect heat , coals on sides of bird not underneath it, drip pan under the bird to catch fat, etc. check recipes from Weber grills.
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:09 PM   #8
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Dutchess has hit it right on the nose. This is very popular with Boy Scout campouts. Good luck, just remember to prepare your can before you leave on your trip.
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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We also use either a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil, or a wooden box if you want to reuse it, and place that around the bird to about 3 ft high. We have four cylinders made from chiken wire that are a couple inches around that we place in the four corners of the box. place a drip pan on the ground, hang the turkey from a tripod, put charcoal in each of the tubes and cook it that way. it is the same idea, but it cooks from all sides and it is more portable for us than using a can. All you do is keep feeding charoal into the tubes as the charcoal turns to ash.
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