Can You Cook Thanksgiving Dinner in a Car’s Engine Bay?

It’s crunch time! Thanksgiving is here and you still need to get the turkey in the oven, but what if your power is out and you’re in need of an alternative method to cook it? In that case, you can either cook it on a grill in the backyard, or you can head into your garage and use your trusty car as a heat source. But can you really cook a Thanksgiving meal in a car’s engine bay?

Engine bay cooking is not an exact science

If you do choose to cook a turkey and sides on your car’s engine, then you’re in luck, because it’s a tried-and-true method. Sure, it might sound weird and dirty, but the trick is to use a lot of foil, and if time permits, you can always clean the engine bay first. But just remember that engine-bay cooking is not an exact science, so your mileage may vary.

Turkey on an engine bay | Adventura Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM

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How do you cook a turkey in an engine bay?

By now, you’re probably wondering how you’re ever going to fit a 20-pound turkey into the engine bay of your Toyota Corolla. Don’t worry, it’s possible, but you’ll have a lot of prep work ahead of you.

  • Step 1: De-bone the entire turkey so that it will fit snugly in your car’s engine bay. It is recommended that you roll and tie-up the turkey with string to keep all of the pieces together.
  • Step 2: Wrap the turkey in aluminum foil. Remember to use a lot of foil to ensure that the food is completely covered and protected from the dirt in the engine bay.
  • Step 3: Make sure the car is completely warmed up and turn the car off before putting the turkey into the engine bay. For best results, put the turkey on the exhaust manifold for the quickest cooking time as that’s the hottest part of the engine. If you want to drive around while the food is cooking, you can secure the food to the engine by using a metal wire.
  • Note: For other side dishes that don’t require as much heat or time, wrap those in a lot of foil as well and put them in different parts of the engine bay. Just make sure not to put anything that has a lot of liquid in the engine bay as the juices can leak and cause a mess or even a fire.
  • Step 4: Drive around or have the car sit in an open parking lot for around three hours, or until the turkey is up to the proper temperature.
  • Step 5: Take the turkey out of your engine bay, let it rest as you normally would, then carve it and enjoy!

If you need a visual representation of the steps listed above, then check out the video below that was posted by Good Mythical Morning, where they cook a turkey using the process we just described:

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Why would anyone want to cook a turkey in an engine bay?

Cooking food in an engine bay is nothing. In fact, truckers used to do as an easier means of heating up their food while on the road since the engine bay is a good source of heat when you’re on the go. And throughout the years, cooking in the engine bay has become popular enough that there is even a cookbook with recipes and cooking times — mostly measured by miles driven – that you can buy if you really want to get down and dirty.

However, it’s not for everyone, so we caution anyone that’s going to actually try this at home to make sure that you take our directions with a grain of salt and ensure that it’s something you want to safely try. After all, if Gordon Ramsey can do it, we guess you can too.