Smoked turkey legs are a classic barbecue staple, and it’s not hard to understand why. These juicy, flavorful drumsticks are the perfect addition to any outdoor gathering or backyard barbecue. This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves the taste of smoky, tender, and juicy meat.
Disney theme parks are famous for their delicious smoked turkey legs, but you can make your own version right at home! Whether you’re looking to recreate the taste of the famous Disney smoked turkey legs or just want to try something new, this recipe is a must-try.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make delicious and succulent turkey legs in the comfort of your own backyard.
To get started, you’ll need a pellet smoker and a meat thermometer. A pellet smoker will give you that classic smoky flavor, and a meat thermometer will help you to ensure that the turkey legs are cooked to perfection.
You’ll also need a few additional items such as brine solution ingredients, wood pellets or chips, and oil for brushing.
Now that you have all the necessary equipment, get ready to prepare the juiciest and most delicious smoked turkey legs you’ve ever had. This recipe is easy to follow, and the end result is sure to impress your family and friends.
Get your taste buds ready and prepare yourself for a smoky, juicy, and mouth-watering treat that you won’t forget!
How To Make Smoked Turkey Legs
Step 1: Prepare the Curing Liquid 24 Hours Before
Before you start smoking the turkey legs, you need to make the curing liquid. To make the curing liquid, you will need to mix together the following ingredients: salt, brown sugar, curing salt (also known as Prague powder or sodium nitrite), black peppercorns, and bay leaves.
To make sure everything is well combined, dissolve these ingredients in cool water. Once the ingredients are dissolved, you should have a wet brine solution.
Step 2: Brine The Turkey Legs
Now that you have the wet brine solution, it’s time to brine the turkey legs. Submerge the turkey legs in the solution and make sure they are completely covered.
Cover the bowl with tight plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This step is important as it will help flavor the meat and make it juicy and tender.
Step 3: Preheat The Smoker
Once the turkey legs have been brined for 24 hours, it’s time to get your smoker ready. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. You can use any type of wood pellets you prefer, but some of the best options include apple wood, maple, or cherry. These types of wood will give your smoked turkey legs a delicious and distinctive flavor. Wet wood chips can be used for additional smoke.
Step 4: Rinse & Dry Turkey Legs
After the turkey legs have been brined for 24 hours, remove them from the brine, rinse them, and pat them dry. This step is important because it will help the skin to crisp up when it is cooked.
Step 5: Smoke The Turkey Legs
Now that your smoker is preheated and the turkey legs are dry, it’s time to smoke them. Place the turkey legs on the smoker and cook them for about one hour or until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F. This temperature is the minimum safe temperature to ensure that any harmful bacteria have been destroyed.
Step 6: Serve & Enjoy
Once the turkey legs have been smoked and have reached the proper internal temperature, remove them from the smoker and let them cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, dig in and enjoy your delicious, smoked turkey legs!
Tips For Making The Best Smoked Turkey Legs
By following this smoked turkey legs recipe, you’ll be well on your way to eating delicious turkey legs from the comfort of your own home.
With just a few simple tips, you can enjoy juicy and flavorful turkey legs that taste like they were cooked in a professional kitchen.
Brining for Flavor
For the best flavor, it’s important to brine your turkey legs for up to 24 hours. If you’re short on time, you can brine them for at least 2 hours, but keep in mind that soaking in the brine for less time won’t provide as much flavor.
However, be sure not to brine the turkey legs for more than 24 hours or the meat will become too soft and could break down.
Crispy Skin 101
To get that perfect crispy skin, it’s important to properly pat the turkey legs dry after removing them from the brine. If the legs are left wet, they will have a mushy texture when they’re smoked. Once they’re dry, feel free to add your favorite spice rub for extra flavor.
Sizing Up Your Turkey Legs
This smoked turkey leg recipe is designed for medium-sized turkey legs, but if you’re using extra-large legs, keep in mind that they may require additional cooking time.
Best Beers To Serve With Smoked Turkey Legs
When it comes to pairing beer with food, there’s nothing quite like the combination of smoked turkey legs and a good brew. Whether you prefer something smooth and malty, or bold and roasty, there’s a beer out there that will take your meal to the next level.
With its smooth, malty flavor and light hoppy finish, amber ale is the perfect complement to the bold flavors of smoked turkey legs.
The caramel notes in the beer pair well with the sweetness of the brine, while the hop bitterness helps to balance out the richness of the meat.
If you’re looking for a beer that can hold its own against the bold flavors of smoked turkey legs, a rich and nutty brown ale is the way to go.
The nutty and caramel flavors in the beer complement the spices in the rub, while the smooth, full-bodied finish helps to cleanse the palate between bites.
This robust and roasty beer is a natural pairing for smoked turkey legs, thanks to its deep, chocolatey flavors and subtle hints of coffee and caramel.
The smoky flavors in the beer match up perfectly with the smoky goodness of the legs, while the full-bodied finish helps to round out the flavors and leave you feeling satisfied. So if you’re looking to go big, reach for a rich and robust porter!
Other Turkey Recipes
- Smoked Turkey Recipe
- Smoked Turkey Sausage Recipe
- Smoked Bone in Turkey Breast Recipe
- Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast Recipe
- Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey Recipe
Smoked Turkey Legs
- Turkey legs, skin on
- 4 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 1 tsp curing salt
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- ice cubes (optional)
- Make the curing liquid the day before by mixing salt, brown sugar, and curing salt (Prague powder, or sodium nitrite) in cool water until dissolved then stir in black peppercorns and bay leaves.
- Submerge the turkey legs in the wet brine solution and cover the bowl with tight plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F with any wood pellets you like (apple wood, maple, or cherry are best)
- Remove the turkey legs from the brine, rinse, and pat dry.
- Place the turkey legs on the smoker and cook for one hour or until they reach an internal temperature of 175°F
- Remove the turkey legs and let them cool before digging in!
Smoker Turkey Legs FAQs
How do you know when the turkey legs are done in the smoker?
The easiest way to tell if your smoked turkey legs are done to perfection is by using a meat thermometer. Instead of slicing open the turkey or trying to guess if it’s ready, simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg. If the internal temperature reaches 175°F, then you’re good to go!
How do you make juicy and tender turkey legs?
To keep your turkey legs juicy and tender, remember to brine them for at least 24 hours and take them out of the smoker once they’ve reached 175°F.
If you notice them drying out mid-cook you can brush them with oil. These simple tips will help keep the meat juicy and tender from the inside out.
Can I smoke turkey legs without a smoker?
If you don’t have a smoker, don’t worry! You can still smoke your turkey legs. One option is to add a bit of liquid smoke to the brine solution, then cook the legs in your oven, gas, or charcoal grill. You can also invest in a smoker tube to put in your gas grill to deliver authentic smoky flavor.
How do homemade turkey legs compare to Disney’s?
You might wonder if the effort and cost of making your own smoked turkey legs will pay off. The great news is, homemade smoked turkey legs can taste even better than Disney’s.
With the right recipe, you can create a delicious, juicy, and tender turkey leg that is customized to your taste preferences. Brine for 24 hours, follow the steps and you’re sure to be impressed with the results.
How do I reheat smoked turkey legs?
Got turkey legs leftovers? No problem! Store ’em in the fridge, wrapped in foil, but be quick to eat them within 3 days to keep the flavor intact.
When reheating, go low & slow, either in the oven (225°F) or on the grill. This will keep the legs juicy & tender, just like when they were first smoked.
Is it necessary to brine the turkey legs before smoking?
Brining turkey legs before smoking is not necessary, but it helps to keep the meat juicy and tender. The salt and other seasonings in the brine solution penetrate the meat and add flavor, resulting in a juicy and tender finished product.
Can I add seasonings to the brine solution?
Yes, you can add seasonings to the brine solution for added flavor. Some popular seasonings include garlic powder, onion, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns.