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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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 9

    1. Post
      Author
  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
      Author
  2. What do you think about brining the legs overnight, take them out in the morning and letting them air dry in the fridge until ready to cook? Hoping to get the skin really dry before smoking…. and that killer hogs The AP rub is the real deal!

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Hey mate, awesome recipe and can’t wait to get it on the bbq this afternoon, I’ve just discovered my internal thermometer is broken so I was wondering if you could give me a rough guess at a cooking time?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Post
      Author

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