Instructables

Turkey on a Tripod

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Picture of Turkey on a Tripod
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Cook a Turkey Outdoors with Charcoal while it dangles from a tripod like a trapeze artist on a BARREL KNOT.

An aluminum foil reflector oven, coals and a tripod are all that are needed to cook a delicious, moist, Thanksgiving feast outdoors. (no dangerous oil flare-ups here!).  Also, included here are instructions for tying a Barrel Knot  to keep the turkey suspended off the ground.

This Instructable documents an outdoor cooking method used by our Boy Scout Troop at our annual Thanksgiving campout.  This ingenious method of cooking a turkey with coals was taught to us by a venerable  "Master" of Scoutmasters, Mr. Martin.  I am publishing the technique on his behalf so that others may give it a twirl.

This Instructable is entered into the Homemade Holidays Food Contest.  Please Vote.
 
 
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Step 1: Build the Outdoor Theater (oven)

Picture of Build the Outdoor Theater (oven)
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Materials:
- 44"x18" Wire mesh
- (4) metal tent stakes
- 18" wide roll of Aluminum Foil 
- (4) metal binder clips (office supplies)
- Metal tripod (the one shown is a camp cooking tripod that comes with a round metal grill that adjusts up and down.  The grill and 3 side chains have been removed.
- 3 feet of Sisal rope (be sure to use natural fiber rope.  Some plastic ropes may melt or not be safe to use with food.)
- (2) Plastic oven bags (these bags are designed for use in household ovens and will handle regular cooking temperatures)

and one more thing....I'm forgetting...uhmm...oh yes the star of the show!   

- (1) Turkey (thawed) 

Make the 4 Coal Towers ahead of time (they are reusable)

1.
Cut a piece of wire mesh about 11" by 18" for the Coal Towers

2. Roll the mesh into a 3 1/2" diameter x 18" tall cylinder

3. Secure the seam on the cylinder by "sewing" it together with a length of thin gauge wire or by cutting a few of the squares along the edge of the mesh and fold them back on themselves "hooking" the other edge of the seam. 





blackberryjj10 months ago
I am a boyscout and we are having a cooking compition this week ať a campout. Which mě luck and now i just need to find a good turkey recipie. thx
cmjake0072 years ago
the printing on plastic was so good, i decided to look at your others. is clear to me, your postings are well worth checking out. thanks again, terrific !!
fspatz3 years ago
Thanks! All the years, i always removed the plastic from the bird.
Now i know what i'm doing wrong!

Since I live where I can do stuff....(no close neighbors that complain)... Have access to sheet aluminum...

I can dig a hole, cut the sheets of aluminum to size, 4 sides and a bottom.
Removable for cleaning...

Ohhh, mommas gonna be mad when she gets home tonight.....

THANKS! This will be good for 'survival' cooking.
tiyospe3 years ago
absolutely fascinating... can wait to try it and then share it!! good work
manderw3 years ago
How well do you suppose this would work if you had to dig a hole in the snow? Would it just be too cold, or would the snow help insulate the whole thing?
hpstoutharrow (author)  manderw3 years ago
I suspect it would still work. Our Scout troop has made turkey when the temperature was in the 15-20 degree (F) range and the snow was flying. The coal towers will certainly melt any near by snow. (sometimes the foil on the outside of the towers has been known to melt through in a few places)..

In extreme cold we have placed an Alum. foil "tent" on the upper portion of the tripod legs to help reflect the heat to the top of the turkey. But we have never had to totally enclose it by adding a top to the oven "cube".
I tried this method, and the fishing club was impressed, I had to print out a copy of the PDF for the 'Ladies Aux.' who even made their own towers and tripod. To date, we've cooked not only a turkey, but have done 'Bass in a Bag', a pork roast with veggies, and a Ham with a pineapple glaze! Simple set up, easy clean up, and you can monitor the food at all times. The radiant heat technique works a treat, so in a way this does belong in the Technology area.

;^)
hpstoutharrow (author)  trike road poet3 years ago
Just finished another Thanksgiving turkey cooked in the backyard. A bit of panic this year. The last hour of cooking was under a piece of plywood propped on the tripod to protect the coals from an unexpected rain shower.

I like your experimentation with other recipes. Two weekend ago the scouts did the usual two turkeys and only ventured out to add a football ham (without a bag) A little crisp on the outside otherwise not bad.

Please post detail of your recipes. Did you tie up the bass and pork roast or just hang them in the bags?

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Bass On A Rope

One 5 pound bass cleaned and head removed
Put sisal rope in cavity running from tail to front of fish
Sprinkle lemon juice on fish’s interior
Put in some pats of butter (near the tail)
Spiral rope up fish’s body to close the fish around the rope.
(Fish should now be hanging head down)
Add 3 tablespoons of water and 3 of lemon juice to bag to add the steam
Slip bag over fish and tie bag around the rope just above tail with string.
Hang from tripod and bake about twenty minutes Any longer and the rope may slide through the fish! (Tender)

Pork Roast (About 3-4 pounds)

Use pork rub to season port roast surface, and tie the roast up like the turkey
Use a 50/50 mix of Worchester sauce and liquid smoke to and brush over pork
Bag the roast, adding a bit of water (3 tablespoons full) tie it to rope
Hang from tripod and give it about 40 minutes (check through the bag with a meat thermometer)

Ham

Prep ham as you like, glaze, cloves, whatever you like
Add water, 3-4 tablespoons to the bag and a tblsp of lemon juice
Tie ham just like the turkey, and bag, tie it tight with cotton string
Bake ham just as you would in a 375 degree oven, and watch it self bast as it cooks! (use a meat thermometer and look for 125-130 degrees internal to know its ready.)

Cooking in a bag with a bit of water inside keeps the meat from drying out and it gives you something to make a great gravy with as well!
EmmettO4 years ago
Nice ible! One question though, Why is it categorized under Technology, Apple?
hpstoutharrow (author)  EmmettO4 years ago
Good Question....Not where I placed it.
Actually I noticed a lot of tripod related ibles in the Apple category. I think there was a database modification that probably messed things up.
kawfeegod4 years ago
I have seen this done.  It's pretty cool, I am building one a bit larger for my boy scout troop (hungry boys)  A top would help keep the heat in, thus using less charcoal.  It would also let you do things like bake bread, cookies, pies, etc.  Another nice addition would be a digital thermometer with a probe.
Dr.Bill4 years ago
I've never seen this before. I like it a lot. Here in town where I live its hard to find a place to keep a BBQ. So we don't. Cannot cook a hamburger let alone a TURKEY. Easier to carry on the bus to Ala Moana Beach Park too!
Thank you for solving my problem.
Stonehopper4 years ago
 I have seen this done putting the coal towers in a garbage can and suspending the turkey inside. The open can lets plenty of fresh air to dispell any outgassing from the can. This also had been from a BoyScout troop.
You know, I wonder how this rig would work for baking bread, cooking corn on the cob, or making a stew in a bag, (with a pin hole to vent off steam pressure.  The set up has some serious potential, easy to set up and the parts are small enough to carry in a car or truck for a camp cook set up as well as a back pack rig.  this might be a system for any camper.  Idea like this are seriously welcome, and the potential is there for multiple applications. 
Use one tower and hook the aluminum 'walls' to two stakes to form a 'V', the open part towards a lean-to and you could throw a lot of radiant heat into the lean-to and have a right nice camp! 

This instructable is first class, thanks for posting it, it has given me several new ideas to play with now!
hpstoutharrow (author)  trike road poet4 years ago
 Personally haven't tried cooking anything other than a Turkey but I believe it would work well for anything you would normally cook in a oven.  

Adding to your comment about portability....One thing I did not mention here is that if you size each coal tower with a slightly different diameter than the next you can get them to slide one inside each other so that like a telescope, you only end up having to find package space for one cylinder.
hitman_kiwi4 years ago
 Very nice Instructable. Just watched a little program on the dangers of Deep frying turkeys. This looks a whole lot safer and a lot more unique, to bad I'm going to have to wait till next year to try this one, Out of curiosity anyone know why Canada's Thanksgiving is different from the United States?
Harvest happens at a different time.
Wow, i thought i was some big complicated thing....Thanks for clearing that up :P
looks great... and different.... I can't help but wonder how it would affect if if you made some sort of lid. I should think it would speed it up a bit. hmm...
I have so got to try this!  My fishing clug has a shore side icefishing 'picnic' we do in December, and I can see what I'm going to do!  This is awesome, direct radiant heat cooking and a broil in the bag to keep all the juices locked in.  This is a clean easy way to cook and the clean up afterwards ought to be easy!!! 
lemonie4 years ago
I like the design & build, unusual, but effective.

L
I've never seen this done before. Perhaps the most unique cooking method ever!
l8nite4 years ago
Thats a very interesting cooking technique, nicely done "ible" as well. My newest sonNlaw wants to do something different this year with the turkey so Im sending him a link to this.