We did this the weekend before Thanksgiving for our "Introduction to Outdoor Leader" course.  Some of the pictures are from that course and some are from a prior course.  We used two different cameras at two different times but at least you should be able to "get the picture".  :)

  • 1 - 20 Gallon trash can (some people say not to use galvanized - but certainly try to avoid plastic) ;)
  • 1 - Dutch Oven
  • 1 - Turkey Stand (the kind you use in a fryer to get the turkey to "stand up" work well - I found mine at Bass Pro)
  • 30 Pounds of Charcoal
  • 1 - 15-20 pound Turkey
  • 1 - Roll of Aluminum foil
  • 1 - Pair of thermal gloves (like you use in a fire place)
  • 1 - Small ash shovel


  1. Prepare the turkey - clean and season
  2. Lay aluminum foil down on the ground (I make mine about twice the size of the can). It works better if you have a layer of sand on the ground (under the aluminum foil) so the rim of the trash can can make an impression in the sand for a better seal.
  3. Set the dutch oven upside down on the aluminum foil (without a lid) - this is a spacer to keep the turkey away from the ground. You can also use 4 tent stakes and a round wire rack.
  4. Set the turkey stand on the dutch oven (or center of the wire rack).
  5. Place the turkey on the stand.
  6. Turn the trash can upside down over the turkey (try to center the turkey inside the can).
  7. Put as much charcoal as you can on TOP of the trash can.
  8. Put the remainder of the 30 pounds around the trash can.
  9. Let cook for 1:15 - 1:30 (either will work, I usually go for the extra 15 minutes)
  10. Use the ash shovel to remove the coals off the top of the can and push them back from the bottom of the can.
  11. Use the gloves to pick up the trash can.
  12. Use the trash can lid as the serving plate - simply push the turkey over on to it.

You're done!!!

Now, let me add that it works real well to also put a small aluminum foil boat between the dutch oven and the side of the trash can filled with a full bottle of Liquid Smoke - it increases the humidity in side the can and it adds smoked flavor to the turkey.

Another Note: We use 30 pounds of Match Light charcoal - we put the unlit charcoal on the can and light it up (30 pounds of Match Light makes an impressive fire!). If you don't have a good seal on the can this can let a little of the starter fumes inside the can. I couldn't smell or taste it, but one of the guys said that he could smell it.

Have Fun!



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Bird Prep

Setting Up the Can

Light'er Up!!!

Remove Charcoal

Remove the can

The Results

Leftovers - YEAH RIGHT!