How to Cook a Campfire Turkey

How to Cook a Campfire TurkeyThanksgiving ought to be a popular time to go camping in those parts of the United States where the autumn colors are in full bloom, such as Kentucky, West Virginia or Tennessee. However, not a lot of people are willing to forgo the traditional turkey feast to spend a four-day weekend in the forest. Well, now you can have your turkey and eat it too. Here is an old campfire cooking technique that will allow you to roast a turkey, and it involves even less fuss than doing it in your oven at home.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Camp spade
  • Turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Dutch oven or cheesecloth and aluminum foil
  • Iron rake (optional)
Step 1
Start your campfire and use enough fuel so you will have plenty of hot coals. Wood fires are the norm, but charcoal briquettes could be used as a substitute. With a shovel or camp spade, dig a two-foot deep hole next to the fire. Make the hole wide enough to place your turkey inside with at least two inches of space on all sides.
Step 2
Clean the outside of your turkey and rub the skin with olive oil, salt and a seasoning mixture of rosemary, thyme and parsley. Stuff the turkey's cavity with your favorite stuffing recipe, peeled cloves of garlic or whatever else you prefer. Alternatively, you could choose to not stuff it at all.
Step 3
Put your turkey into a dutch oven if you have one big enough to accommodate it. The turkey cannot be touching the sidewalls of the oven, and if you have a big turkey, it is unlikely your oven will be large enough. If not using an oven, wrap the turkey in cheese cloth and then wrap the entire turkey in three to four layers of aluminum foil.
Step 4
Rake out half the coals from the campfire and into the pit. The bottom should be completely covered in coals, so consider one to two inches of coals a minimum. Also, make sure the stuff you rake in is mostly coals and not mostly ash. If there is no rake, use your shovel or camp spade. Place your turkey on top of those coals. Then rake the remainder of the coals into the pit and throw dirt on top until the pit is covered.
Step 5
Leave the turkey to roast in the pit. A bird eight to 12 lbs. will need about three hours, and add another half-hour for every four lbs. above that.
Step 6
Dig the turkey out, remove it from the foil/dutch oven and start carving.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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