Struttin' Smoked Turkey Legs

They sell smoked turkey legs at the Kansas State Fair every September. They're not too bad, but they're not as good as the ones you can make with this recipe. These are brined, seasoned with a dry rub, then smoked on a charcoal grill.

I've always loved smoked turkey drumsticks. Whenever I smoke a turkey, I find a way to squeeze at least a half dozen turkey legs in the smoker with tom turkey. I brine the legs right along with the turkey, too.

I use this recipe when I'm just smoking the legs. The brine cures the legs, which causes the dark meat to be pink after it's been cooked.

Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe

  • 6 big turkey drumsticks
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/4 cup Morton® Tender Quick®
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Bring the water to a boil, then add the other brine ingredients. (don't add the drumsticks yet) Stir the brine until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved and remove it from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight. The brine needs to be below 40°F for brining.

Using a fork, jab holes through the skin on the drumsticks so the brine can penetrate easier. Drop the turkey legs in the brine and soak them for 24 hours. Replace the brine with fresh water and soak the legs for another 24 hours. Change out the water one time after 12 hours. The fresh water pulls out the excess salt.

Dry the legs off, then season them with a mixture of:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Set up your charcoal grill for charcoal grill barbecuing. Mix a bit of apple wood or hickory in the charcoal to give 'em smokey flavor. When the smoked turkey legs reach an internal temperature of 180°F, they're done. Cooking them past that point will make them more tender and succulent.