smoked turkey legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

It’s hard to beat a good slow smoked turkey legs. You typically find these at fairs and festivals, and the turkey leg vendors always have a big line.

Anytime I can eat something with a handle I’m all about it, so I want to share with you my easy recipe for smoking big ole’ turkey legs!

I bought these legs frozen at my local grocery store, but around Thanksgiving you can find them in the fresh poultry section.  I let them hang out in the refrigerator for a day to thaw, and then it was time to get them in a brine.

I mixed 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup of sugar, ¼ cup of my Killer Hogs AP Rub, and a few bay leaves.  It’s a simple brine but it adds a lot of flavor to the legs and makes them juicy. The turkey legs need to soak in the brine overnight or at least 6 hours. The next morning I removed each leg from the brine solution and let them drain on a wire rack over a sheet pan.  It’s important to get all the moisture off the legs, so you can use a paper towel to blot off any excess to speed up the process.

smoked turkey legs

To season the legs I sprayed each one with a little olive oil cooking spray.  This layer of fat helps the seasoning stick to the skin.  Season each leg with Killer Hogs AP Rub and a layer of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub.  You could substitute any seasoning here; make this recipe your own.

To smoke the legs I fired up my Memphis Wood Fired pellet grill set to 275⁰ running pecan pellets for smoke.  Any smoker will work for turkey legs just run it in the 275-300⁰ to get the skin bite through.

smoked turkey legs

Place each turkey leg on the cooking grate and smoke until the internal temperature hits in the 155-160⁰ range.  It’ll take about 1 ½ hours to get to this point, then apple a light glaze.  For this I went with my Killer Hogs Vinegar Sauce.  I wanted something on the thin side and not too sweet.  The acidity balances out the flavor and it has just a touch of heat to go with the flavors in the rub.

smoked turkey legs

Keep smoking the legs until the internal temperature reaches 175⁰ at least in each leg.  Dark meat is forgiving, so if you over shoot the temp a little it’s not the end of the world.  You will need a good thermometer for checking internal temperature; if you don’t have a Thermapen, I highly suggest picking one up. I use it more than I do any of my smokers. Check out the Thermoworks Thermapen here >>

smoked turkey legs

Once the legs hit target temp, remove each one from the smoker and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.  I couldn’t wait to grab one of these legs and take a monster bite!

The legs turned out just right; the outer skin was a little sweet with a spicy note, and on the inside, it was tender and juicy.  Pecan smoke created a nice smoke ring in these legs, and it’s mild enough not to over-power the meat.  You’ll have to give this recipe a try the next time you fire up those pits!

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Smoked Turkey Legs
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Smoked Turkey Legs


  • 8 Turkey Legs
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub
  • 1 cup Killer Hogs Vinegar Sauce


  1. In a large bowl combine water, 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup AP rub, and bay leaves. Place the turkey legs into the brine solution and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
  2. Remove the legs from the brine and drain over a cooling rack. Pat the excess moisture off with paper towels to speed the process.
  3. Prepare smoker for indirect cooking at 275⁰ using pecan wood for smoke.
  4. Spray the outside of each leg with olive oil cooking spray and season with the remaining AP rub and a light coating of The BBQ Rub on all sides.
  5. Place the legs on the smoker and cook until internal temperature reaches 155-160⁰.
  6. Glaze each turkey leg with the vinegar sauce and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 175⁰ then remove from the smoker and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Malcom Reed
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Smoked Turkey Legs

Comments 4

    1. Post
  1. I notice that some recipes say 165 is the target temp for turkey legs , is your recommended temp of 175 is so there is a better bite through for the skin ?
    P.S. Keep the recipes coming ! I have not tried one of yours yet that I dont get complimented on ! I always let everyone know where I got them from and that I always use Killer Hogs products !

    1. Post

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