how long to cook a trash can turkey

Cooking a trash can turkey is a fun and unique way to make a delicious meal for your family and guests. This method of cooking does require some preparation and planning, but the end result is worth it. Depending on the size of the turkey, it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to cook in a trash can. To ensure that your turkey is cooked properly, be sure to use a thermometer to check for doneness. With the right preparation and proper cooking time, you can create an amazing meal with this special cooking method.To cook a Trash Can Turkey, you will need the following items:
1. A metal trash can with a lid
2. Charcoal briquettes
3. An aluminum baking pan
4. Aluminum foil
5. Heavy duty oven mitts or gloves
6. A whole turkey (thawed and cleaned)
7. Salt and pepper, or other seasonings of your choice
8. An oven thermometer

Gathering the Supplies

Trash can turkey is an easy and delicious way to cook a large bird. Before you start, you need to gather the necessary supplies: an outdoor-safe trash can, a lid for the trash can, a wire rack that fits inside the trash can, a turkey that fits inside the trash can (about 12-15 pounds is ideal), cooking spray, aluminum foil, and your favorite poultry seasonings.

Preparing the Turkey

Start by prepping your turkey. Rinse it off with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub it down with your favorite poultry seasoning, using about 1/4 cup of seasoning for a 12-15 pound bird. Spray the inside of the trash can and wire rack with cooking spray to keep the turkey from sticking.

Cooking the Turkey

Place your prepared turkey on top of the wire rack inside the trash can. Place aluminum foil over top of the turkey and lid so that no heat escapes from your cooker. Place your cooker in an open area away from any combustible materials and light your charcoal fire. Once you have a good hot fire going, add about 15-20 charcoal briquettes to each side of your cooker. Cook until internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serving Your Trash Can Turkey

Once your turkey has reached its desired temperature, remove it from the cooker and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve hot with all of your favorite sides!


Safety is of utmost importance when prepping and cooking a Trash Can Turkey. Make sure you are using an appropriate-sized can for the size of your turkey, and always wear protective gloves when handling the hot can. When removing the lid, open it away from you to avoid any sudden spurts of steam or heat. Additionally, ensure that you are using a heat-resistant surface to place your can on when it is in use. Lastly, always use extreme caution when handling hot liquids or steam.

Preparing the Ingredients

When preparing a Trash Can Turkey, it is important to consider the ingredients that will be used in the cooking process. Start by gathering your ingredients such as poultry brine mix, butter, olive oil, onions, garlic, herbs and spices. Be sure to measure out the right amount of each ingredient and prepare them accordingly before beginning to cook. Ensure that all surfaces are clean before beginning to prepare your ingredients.

Cooking Time

Before beginning to cook your Trash Can Turkey it is important to calculate how long it will take so that you can plan ahead accordingly. Generally speaking, a large turkey will take around four hours to cook in a trash can depending on its size and weight. Additionally, you should consider whether you want your turkey cooked on high or low heat as well as how often you will need to turn the turkey during cooking.

Clean Up

Once your Trash Can Turkey has finished cooking it is important to clean up properly afterwards. Make sure that all surfaces are wiped down with warm soapy water and any utensils used during cooking are cleaned thoroughly. Additionally, if there are any ingredients left over they should be disposed of properly so as not to attract pests or other unwanted guests into your home.

How Long to Cook a Trash Can Turkey

Cooking a turkey in a trash can is an innovative and fun way to cook your Thanksgiving meal. It is also relatively easy and can be done in less than two hours. The most important thing when cooking a turkey in a trash can is to ensure that the bird is cooked thoroughly, so it is important to know how long to cook it.

The size of the turkey will determine the exact cooking time, but in general, you should plan on cooking it for about 1-2 hours. If you are using an 18-20 pound bird, you may need to increase the cooking time to 2-3 hours. As with any type of cooking, it’s best to check the internal temperature of the bird with a meat thermometer – make sure it reads at least 165°F before taking it off the heat.

When prepping your turkey for cooking in a trash can, make sure to season it well and remove any giblets or neck pieces that may have been included with your bird. You’ll also want to rub some oil over the skin of your turkey before placing it into the trash can – this will help keep the skin from sticking and help crisp up during the cooking process.

Before beginning your cook, make sure that you have all of your supplies ready – including an oven thermometer (to ensure that your fire has reached an appropriate temperature before beginning), wood chips or charcoal briquettes (for smoke flavoring), and a large enough garbage bag (to fit around your turkey). Once you’ve got everything ready, place your seasoned turkey into the garbage bag, then place inside of your trash can and secure tightly with a lid or foil.

After lighting up your fire (making sure that flames don’t come up higher than the top of the trash can) allow it to burn down until you reach 350°F on an oven thermometer placed inside of your fire pit. Then put on several more briquettes or wood chips onto get extra smokey flavor into your cooked bird. Place two bricks atop either end of the lid for extra weight and heat retention, then let cook for 1-2 hours (or longer if using larger turkeys).

When done correctly, you should have perfectly cooked turkey coming out of that trash can! Enjoy!

Temperature and Time Required for Cooking a Trash Can Turkey

Cooking a turkey in a trash can is an easy and delicious way to serve a holiday meal. The process begins by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is preheated, place the fully thawed turkey inside the trash can, making sure it is evenly balanced. Secure the lid of the trash can with metal clamps and place it on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet with the trash can in the preheated oven and cook for approximately three hours or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is achieved.

It is important to check the internal temperature of the turkey regularly throughout cooking time to ensure that it reaches an adequate temperature before serving. If needed, adjust cooking time as needed to ensure that your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. Once cooked, allow your turkey to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving so that all of its juices are reabsorbed into its meat.

Cooking your holiday meal in a trash can may seem like an unconventional approach, but it yields succulent results with minimal effort required from you! With proper preparation and precision cooking, you can create a delicious holiday meal everyone will love!

Gather Supplies

Before you begin cooking, gather all the supplies you need. You’ll need a large trash can, preferably a metal one with a tight-fitting lid. You’ll also need charcoal or briquettes, a chimney starter, aluminum foil, and a pair of thick work gloves to handle the hot charcoal. Make sure you have enough charcoal and briquettes to fill your trash can at least halfway.

Prepare the Trash Can

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, prepare your trash can for cooking. Start by lining the inside with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make sure to cover the sides and bottom completely. This will help keep your food from burning and keep it from sticking to the sides of the can. Once the foil is in place, add the charcoal or briquettes to the bottom of the can.

Light The Charcoal

Once you have your trash can lined with foil and filled with charcoal, it’s time to light it up! Put on your work gloves before handling any hot surfaces or coals. Using a chimney starter, light up some newspaper underneath the coals until they are glowing red and covered in gray ash. Once they are lit, carefully pour them into your lined trash can.

Add The Turkey

Once your coals are lit and ready to go, add your turkey to the top of them. Place it as close as possible to the center of the trash can so it cooks evenly on all sides. Securely put on the lid of the trash can and let it cook for about four hours or until an internal thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve And Enjoy!

Once your turkey is cooked through, carefully remove it from the trash can using tongs or a pair of heat-resistant gloves. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving it up and serving! Enjoy this unique way of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey!

Preparing the Grill or Fire Pit for Cooking the Trash Can Turkey

Cooking a trash can turkey requires a few special preparations. First, you will need to build a large fire pit or grill. Make sure the fire pit is large enough to fit your turkey, as it must be completely covered with hot coals. If you are using a grill, make sure it has enough space to accommodate your turkey and is equipped with adjustable grates so that you can raise and lower it as needed. Once your fire pit or grill is in place, you will need to fill it with hot coals, which should be one-third of the way up the sides of the grill or fire pit. Once you have added all of the hot coals, spread them evenly across the bottom and sides of the grill or fire pit. This will ensure that your turkey cooks evenly and prevents burning. Finally, add some wood chips for flavor before adding your turkey.

Once your fire pit or grill is ready for cooking, you can begin preparing your trash can turkey. Begin by seasoning your bird with salt and pepper before placing it in the trash can. Then cover the lid tightly and place it on top of the hot coals in the center of your fire pit or grill. Cover all edges of the trash can with aluminum foil to prevent heat from escaping and ensure even cooking throughout. Finally, adjust the grates on your grill (if necessary) so that they are at least one inch off of the ground, allowing air to circulate evenly around your turkey as it cooks.

Now you are ready to cook! Allow at least one hour per pound for cooking time on medium heat (about 350°F). A good rule of thumb is to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 165°F (74°C). Once done, let rest for 15 minutes before serving so that juices redistribute throughout meat before carving. Enjoy!

What Happens if You Don’t Cook the Trash Can Turkey Long Enough?

Cooking a turkey can be a daunting task, especially if you’re trying to cook it in a trash can. If the turkey isn’t cooked long enough, the result could be unsafe to eat. Not only will an undercooked turkey be tough and chewy, but it may also still contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick.

When cooking a turkey in a trash can, it’s important to ensure that the temperature of the meat reaches at least 165°F. This is the temperature needed to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. It’s also important to make sure that all areas of the turkey are cooked evenly and thoroughly, so that no part of the bird remains undercooked.

If you suspect your trash can turkey was not cooked long enough, it’s best to discard it rather than risk consuming food that could make you ill. The time and effort taken to prepare a proper meal is not worth risking your health over.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when preparing food and take extra care when cooking a turkey in a trash can. To ensure safe consumption, always use an accurate thermometer when checking whether or not your turkey is done cooking, as this is the only surefire way to determine if it has reached a safe internal temperature before consuming.

Following these steps will help ensure your trash can turkey turns out delicious every time!


Cooking a trash can turkey is an enjoyable experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family. With the right preparation and cooking time, you can ensure that your turkey is cooked to perfection. The key is to make sure that you have enough time for the turkey to cook evenly throughout. Depending on the size of your turkey, it can take anywhere from two and a half hours to four hours. It’s important to check the temperature of the turkey with a thermometer after two hours of cooking, and then every 30 minutes thereafter until it reaches 165F in the thickest part of the thigh. Once it reaches that temperature, your trash can turkey is ready to enjoy!

No matter how long it takes, cooking a trash can turkey is an enjoyable experience that will be remembered by everyone in attendance. The unique flavor of a trash can-cooked bird has no rival, and with proper preparation and care, you’ll be able to make sure this delicious meal is enjoyed by all who partake in its enjoyment!

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