Trash Can Turkey
The Brine (prepare 24 hours in advance of cooking)
Combine in a large stock pot bring to a boil and allow to cool to room temperature:
1 gallon of water
1 cup of pickling, Kosher or non-iodized salt
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 tablespoon pepper corns
1 sliced sweet onion
1 orange sliced
Take 1, 12 – 14# turkey (thawed) remove giblets and trim any excess fat and skin from cavity
openings. Rinse in fresh water and place in a 2 gallon zip lock bag. A clean, food grade 5 gallon
pail can be used if you have the refrigerator space. Add the pickling brine to the bag and force
as much air out as possible, seal, set in side an appropriate size tub (never trust a zip lock) in the
refrigerator for about 24 hours.
Items needed for roasting:
1 clean 33 gallon or larger galvanized trash can
1 2’ piece of 1/2” re-bar
1 arms length of aluminum foil loosely wadded into a ball about the size of a tennis ball
10 –12# premium grade charcoal (avoid the instant light types they burn too hot and too quick)
Select a 5’ x 5’ area where a burn mark will have no significant impact on the landscape. Bare
ground, the amen corner of a gravel drive, “The Dead Zone” you know, that area where no plant
can survive, just not an asphalt surface.
Once your spot is selected, drive the rebar stake about 6-8” into the ground. Wrap the foil ball
atop the stake - this is to support the bird. Pyramid the charcoal around the stake and light it.
Once the coals ash over pull them away from the stake making a charcoal donut approximately
the diameter of your trash can.
Remove the turkey from the brine and allow to drain. Using some protective mitts (I love the
Ove-Glove for my oversized hands) quickly place the bird legs pointing down over the stake.
Immediately cover with the can. If it rests atop a few coals, that’s OK. A slightly uneven surface
is perfect to allow some air to the fire. The turkey will be done in about 2 hours. Do not remove
the can until this time. The beauty of this method is the fire is quite hot, but not direct at first.
This sears the outside of the bird. As the coals continue to burn (much slower because you’ve
controlled the air to them) a slow cooking process happens. End result is a beautifully browned,
moist turkey with a wonderful slightly smoky roasted flavor. I have yet to roast one that did not
read 175-180 degrees on a meat thermometer inserted into the breast after 2 hours of roasting.
After 2 hours, remove to a platter and cover loosely with foil allowing it to rest 15 minutes.
Trash Can Turkey