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Garbage Can Turkey

26 Oct

Our family has a very unique way of cooking turkeys. We cook ours outdoors, in a garbage can. Yes, you read that right. A garbage can! My brother heard about this a number of years ago and we tried it (successfully), and have done it a number of times since then. We had a belated Thanksgiving celebration this past weekend and since what we do is such a fun and unique way of cooking a turkey, I thought I’d share the steps with you here.

What you’ll need:

  • A soft patch of ground that you can drive a stake of wood into – grass or sand works great
  • A wooden stake
  • Sledgehammer, or another method of hammering the stake into the ground
  • One roll of tin foil
  • A turkey of your choosing
  • Butter
  • Your choice of spices and seasonings
  • String
  • One METAL garbage can, cleaned
  • Shovel and metal tongs
  • Two bags of charcoal
  • Lighter
  • X-acto knife or scissors
  • Silicone oven mitts or holders
  • A large tray

First, drive a stake into the ground. Make sure you’ve cut it so that the length is just right. You need to make sure that when the turkey is put onto the stake that there will be room above the turkey, so it won’t touch the top of the garbage can.

stake

Because it takes coals a long time to get hot, now would be a good time to get those started. If your garbage can came with a metal lid, this is a great place to light those up.

 

coals

Wrap tons of tin foil around the stake, especially on the top, so that there’s a little ball up there. Cover the ground around the stake with tin foil as well so that the drippings don’t end up on the grass/sand/whatever.

ready

Now get your turkey ready. Make sure it’s completely thawed, if you bought a frozen one. Rub it with butter and season to your liking. Grab an extra chunk of butter and put it on top of the ball. Gently place the turkey on the stake. Attach the turkey to the stake with string so that it stays on and doesn’t move easily.

turkey

By now your coals should hopefully be white hot. Carefully place the garbage can over the turkey, making sure the turkey doesn’t touch the top or walls of the can. Using the tongs, carefully place coals all around the bottom of the garbage can, making sure that the entire area is covered. Use the shovel to place at least one or two layers of hot coals on top of the garbage can. Place more (unlit) coals on the top and around the bottom of the can.

cooking

Now it’s time to wait. General rule of thumb is to let it cook for about 2 hours. We like to grab a few beers or ciders and sit in front of a chiminea fire right nearby and enjoy being outside in the fresh air. Don’t forget to add more coals every now and then. After about an hour, you’ll start to hear it sizzling away inside. Don’t let temptation get the best of you – don’t open everything up until at least 2 hours have passed.

Once you’ve decided that enough is enough, shovel away all the hot coals and ash – a good place for them is back into the lid. Make sure you don’t catch anything nearby on fire!

removal

Now carefully lift off the garbage can, making sure to wear protective gloves or mitts so you don’t burn your hands. Marvel at the gorgeous looking turkey you’ve just cooked!

finished

Carefully use the X-acto knife or scissors to cut the string away a bit, so you can remove the turkey from the stake. Silicone oven mitts or holders are great for this so you don’t get your mitts or gloves dirty. Have a friend or family member stand close by with a tray, ready to hold the turkey when it’s off the stake.

Take the turkey back inside and use a thermometer to check the temperature. If it still needs to cook a bit more, put it in the oven at your normal cooking temperature until the bird is well and truly ready.

delicious

We’ve found that cooking turkeys this way is so much more fun, and leaves more time for everyone to socialize, rather than having a few people stuck in the kitchen for hours and hours, slaving over the turkey. The meat is moist and juicy and oh so tasty, and very memorable to cook!

Serve with all your favourite turkey fixings and enjoy!

Help send me to BlogHer Food!

3 May

Today I heard about this fabulous sounding conference hosted by BlogHer that’s geared specifically to food bloggers. It’s being held in Seattle from June 8-9. It would be an incredible conference to attend. I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to food blogging, and I’d love to soak up any kind of advice and expertise that I can get from people who’ve been at it for longer than I have. On a side note, it’s almost my one year anniversary of running this site! Exciting!!

As much as I would love to attend this incredible conference, I don’t have the money. I’m currently unemployed and am on a very strict budget, so I don’t exactly have a spare few hundred dollars laying about. I don’t know how one goes about getting sponsorship, but I’m going to look into it. If there’s any way that I can get a person(s) or a company to pay my registration fee in exchange for something reasonable (or for free!), then I hope I can find it. I wouldn’t even need a hotel room, since I have free accommodation in the Greater Seattle area, thanks to my many awesome family members and friends who live there.

So, if you’re interested in helping to fund this conference experience and by extension helping me to improve this website, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment, or just send me an email at: feastandfare[at]gmail[dot]com. I only wish I’d heard about this sooner, so I would have had more time to potentially make this happen, but I’ve still got a month. Anything can happen in a month!

The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten

21 Mar

I recently applied for a fantastic job as a food blogger in Richmond for a year. It’s my dream job, and I’m excitedly waiting to (hopefully) hear that I’m a finalist! One of the questions that I had to answer for my application was “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” What a great question, and a fabulous conversation starter!

I’ve eaten a few strange things in my life so far, and no doubt will have opportunity for more. Four years ago I went to South Africa for a few weeks. We had North American food maybe once or twice, but mainly we were fed typical South African fare. Our dinners were always the most interesting. We would often ask them not to tell us what we were eating until after the meal was over, because we knew we might be a little bit uneasy about eating some things.

I was surprised to find that I enjoyed almost everything, even after finding out what it was. There was almost always a meat of some sort, and I know for sure that we ate wildebeest (it tasted similar to regular beef). One night we had ostrich, which was a bit more obvious, because the portions of meat were SO huge that we were definitely NOT eating chicken. 😉

By far the weirdest (and most delicious) delicacy I tried was crocodile. At the end of our stay in the country, we spent a day and a half on safari at a game lodge. We were there for just one night, and after our safari drive for the evening was over, there was a HUGE buffet meal for all the lodge’s guests with an insane amount and variety of food. One of the dishes was crocodile, which was served on a skewer. I was definitely interested, but also a little bit leery. One of my friends brought up a good point that this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so I should try the crocodile since I had the opportunity. I did, and was pleasantly surprised! It was perfectly cooked, had great flavour, and it had the appearance and texture of a cross between chicken and fish. Not bad!

Since then I’ve become a LOT more adventurous when it comes to food, and have a much more open mind. I’m willing to give anything a try – you never know what could happen! Crocodile isn’t something I’ve had since then, but should the opportunity ever present itself again, I know it’s something I won’t mind eating!

I’d love to know – what’s the weirdest thing YOU’VE ever eaten?!