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.
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.
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.
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 >>
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!