If you’re spending any time outside this Thanksgiving – hiking, camping, paddling…  there’s no need to pass on traditional holiday fare.   Heck, even if you’re not in the woods, this recipe yields a really tasty result, including the satisfaction of cooking over a fire!


20171119_151005Let me just confess up front – a standard dutch oven is nowhere near big enough to roast a whole turkey.  Yes, there are 20″ ovens out there, and if you can find one, great!  For most of us, though, you’ll be limited by size.  Section your turkey into parts, or only use your favorite pieces to begin with.  So long as you can fit your bird in the oven with about an inch of space between the meat and the walls, you’ll be fine. In my test case, demonstrated in the attached video, I just used a turkey breast, but I could have added at least a couple drumsticks, no problem. (A whole chicken would work VERY well, but that’s not very Thanksgiving-ish.)


  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onions (2-3, sliced)
  • Apples (1-2, sliced)
  • Celery, to taste
  • Rosemary,  fresh sprigs
  • Thyme, fresh sprigs
  • Sage, fresh leaves (note, these three herbs can be commonly found packaged together as a poultry herb pack)
  • Chicken broth, 2 cups


  • Get some charcoal or a big fire going, then start prepping your oven.
  • Line the bottom with layered onions, apples, and celery.   Then lay in rosemary,  thyme, and sage.
  • Rub your turkey parts with a thin layer of oil and apply salt and pepper.
  • Lay your turkey on top of the veggies and pour in chicken broth around it.
  • Make a layer of coals about the size of the oven bottom, and level it as best you can.
  • Set the oven on the coals, then pour a layer of coals on the oven lid.
  • From this point on, just check status every half hour – the skin should brown fairly quickly, and the broth should simmer.  Add or remove coals if things are not progressing (either things are charring or not simmering).
  • After about 2 hours, your turkey should be done.   Internal temperature should register 160 degrees.   Take the oven off the heat and let the meat rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

That’s it, enjoy! All the joy of a roast turkey, without the kitchen!  Happy Thanksgiving!



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