OT: How to cook a Turkey leg?

So my dad killed 2 turkeys this week so we have 4 legs too cook and we are wondering what's the best way to cook a Turkey leg?

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We did this one time at home. My wife made a brine and soaked them, and then I put them in the grill on the warming rack with the pan of brine under them. I'm sure if you googled you could find the recipe we found. It might have been on AllRecipes.

Will a pickle brine work?

When in doubt. Nap it out

You can, you just don't want your solution to be too acidic.

The basic "brine" is just salt water. It helps keep the meat juicy during the cooking process. Check this out. Several recipes for different brines, Q&A, and tips.

Definitely smoked

We've never smoked a meat before. What do you need for that?

When in doubt. Nap it out

You start with fire...

Alright what else hommie

When in doubt. Nap it out

I cheat and use an electronic smoker but a smoking box with chips soaked in water on a grill usually does a pretty decent job.

Can I ask what kind of electric smoker? I swear by my Bradley.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

You nailed it, it was the first and only smoker I've bought. If it ever kicks the bucket I'll probably go get another Bradley

The goddam door fell off mine, and I rigged it to close just because the inside is so perfectly seasoned at this point and I don't want to start back at square one.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Shit, I only smoke a couple times a month so it's seasoned but still lightly used. Hoping to get more years from it

if you already have a gas grill I have a faux approach you can take. Place some wood chips (for turkey I would recommend either apple or hickory [my preference]), place them on some aluminum foil and make a pouch out of it so that there's about a 1" hole for an opening. Start the grill on the hottest setting and place the foil 1) in the back corner and 2) as close to the flame as possible. Once that starts smoking create a cool zone on the grill by turning the burner for the opposite side of the grill off, and place your turkey legs on that side. Keep your grill closed as much as possible (no peaking) unless you need to baste. The idea here is to leave the smoke swirling inside, so opening the grill necessarily will defeat the purpose. Cook time will vary but you should plan on at least 90 minutes. If you have a thermometer start checking after 90 minutes - you want the meat to be right at 165.

Beer, unmeltable chamber, heat, wood, meat

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!


When in doubt. Nap it out

Seriously, I got Costco's version of the Big Green Egg last year (floor model) at a fraction of the cost of a Big Green Egg. I love it! Might be a somewhat cost efficient way of easing into the smoking world.

Is it basketball season yet?

I would say a brine is extremely necessary (1 gallon water, I cup salt, 1 cup sugar - I use brown usually). This puts a ton of flavor and moisture into the leg. I have done a dry brine (just salt) on a whole turkey and it also turned out well (and helps the skin crisp up).

You can smoke them a variety of ways, depending on the type of outdoor cooker you have - propane, charcoal kettle, or if you do have access to a smoker. Let us know what you have and I am sure many of us can fill you in.

My only suggestion is that you definitely cook them low and slow and then finish them at a higher temp - like 400-450 - to crisp up the skin at the end.

I got a propane grill to work with😅

When in doubt. Nap it out

I have used the foil pouch method and the amazin' tube. Both work well, amazin' tube is worth the money IMO.


.and Whit puts on his batting gloves and steps up to the plate....

CBR dog is spot on - the foil pouch works well and the video has a great explanation. Once the leg hits 170 or so internal I would crisp up the skin w/ direct heat. Usually you try to hit 165 with a turkey, but I have heard taking it to an internal temp of 180 helps break down the fat/connective tissue.

Get a cheap oven thermometer and set it beside the legs while you are smoking them, and shoot for a grill temp of 225-250.

I didn't make it down far enough in the thread before I posted my response, but this is a solid method to take if you 1) dont have a smoker and 2) are not motivated to take it out for a pair of legs.

Inject with a solution of water, brown sugar, kosher salt, and your favorite non salt based BBQ rub. let sit open in fridge overnight. Smoke them on a smoker, indirect heat, low heat until internal temp is 160. Place in foil pan with butter and sprinkle more BBQ rub on top and a light coat of sauce- BBQ, Teriaki, etc- if you choose. Pull off smoker when IT is 165 degrees is the middle of the leg near the bone.

The best way to cook your turkey legs around here seems to be claiming that people who want a monthly TKPC payment option are financially irresponsible and make poor decisions.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller


Get your ass on the ground and we'll party

OK I have done this a number of ways. Said Propane grill, so:

1. Since they are wild turkey, some people say to soak in milk first to get the gaminess out, I will leave that up to you. Mix brine as stated above (1 gallon water, 1 cup salt (kosher is cheap), 1 cup brown sugar). Soak legs for min 6- max 24 hrs, submerged.
2. Set one big handful of wood chips in water to start soaking them. While soaking chips, rinse brine from legs. Make sure to work your fingers between the skin the meat to separate them and rinse down between there as well.
3. Pat down legs with paper towels, they don't have to be dry, just get loose water off.
4. Rub legs with whatever spice blend you like. I have used a variation of this and it works:
◾3 tbsp onion powder
◾2 tbsp paprika
◾1 tbsp garlic powder
◾1 tsp ground pepper (I like white pepper over black)
◾1 tsp ground cumin
◾1/2 tsp rubbed sage
5. Get your propane grill up to 225 F.
6. Take chips out of water and put them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Gently wrap up the chips to form a pouch. Poke a few holes in the top of the pouch.
7. Turn off however many burners you need to only have a fire on one half the grill. Put the chip pouch on the fire side where it will get hot (some people will put it down on the burners, depends on your grill), put the turkey legs on the opposite side where there is no direct flame. Best if you can put legs on top warming rack and a drip pan under.
8. Flip and rotate them every 1 hr. Leave them on the grill until they are 165 F near the bone in the thickest parts. Remove from grill and LET THEM REST for 5-10 minutes to allow for reabsorption of steam/juice before digging in.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Hell that sounds pretty good. Thank you I think this is the method that I'm gonna try

When in doubt. Nap it out

While I use an egg to smoke, I believe this is closest to what I would do. I have cooked wild turkey a few times, and brining really helps. I would add a bunch of bay leaves to the brine, and a little seasoned salt to go with the salt- definitely overnight. I like a crispier skin, so after I pat the legs dry and then let them sit out for about an hour, uncovered, turning once, to dry, and then rub with a bit of butter and season before smoking. I like to use a mix of pecan and cherry wood chips for turkey. Pecan is great with poultry and really adds color. I would definitely do legs this way.

For a whole bird. Deep frying in peanut oil works really well, but you want to let it dry for a while after brining and before frying. If doing the whole bird on a grill, I like doing beer butt chicken with a can of fosters and a herb butter rub and about 225 for most of a day.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I use an Egg as well, but this is how I mimicked my egg strategy once on a friend's propane grill. If you want crisper skin, after brining the legs, rub the skin with baking soda and let sit for another 12-24 hours. This will start up the Maillard reaction that will brown up the skin. In chicken you will also want to poke some holes through the skin near the fat deposits or the liquids will sit behind the skin and keep it moist and soggy. Turkey legs are pretty lean so I never worry about poking the holes.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Seems like everyone is in agreement on brine and smoke, so I'm not going to waste time reinventing the wheel. But I would add, when it comes to turkey I swear by buttermilk brine. Dissolve your salt into half as much warm water as you need, then when it's cooled, add an equal amount of fresh buttermilk. Preferably full fat.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

I've never smoked anything in my life (culinaryily speaking anyway)... but this sounds like an idea I can get behind.

Leonard. Duh.


I'm going to go a different direction since it's wild turkey. Braise the legs in a slow cooker with spices until they are shredded/fall off the bone tender, then make carnitas with it. If you do smoke it make sure you bribe it a long time and that you baste or spice it! Age of the turkey will matter as well...

“In order to conquer an animal, I have to think like an animal, and whenever possible, look like one.”
— Carl Spackler

Yeah I've never had good wild turkey legs smoked. Slow cooker makes decent meat and really good stock.

(add if applicable) /s

I second this. Or "third it" I guess. I take the thighs and drumsticks and cook as low as possible for as long as it takes to fall off the bone. Remove all the non edible stuff then I shred it and make pulled "pork" barbecue from it. It's definitely not as moist as pork but it's damn good.

If you like the county fair/disney/themepark style - the ones that have a pinkish hue and taste a bit like ham this is the recipe. They are cured. I have tried this a few times and its really good. The meat is extremely flavorful just like the pros do it. The key is the prague powder also known as curing salt.

2 large turkey drumsticks
3 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Prague Powder #1
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup distilled water

1) Cure. Dissolve the salt, Prague powder #1, and the sugar in the water and then pour it in a 1 gallon zipper bag. Add the meat and refrigerate in the cure for about 24 hours, and not much longer or it can get too salty. You can then take them out of the cure and hold them in the fridge uncooked for a day or two until you're ready to cook, but I wouldn't push beyond that.
2) Rinse. Remove the meat, rinse it so the exterior will not be too salty, and pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
3) Fire up. Set up the grill for 2-zone smoking or fire up your smoker. Shoot for 325°F on the indirect side.
4) Cook. Smoke the turkey leg on the indirect side of the grill for about 1 hour until the thick part of the meat reaches at least 160°F.
5) Serve and enjoy! Serve the smoked turkey leg immediately.

Last year during the football season I grilled Turkey every week, Only did full legs once or twice. Smoking was a solid way to go.

Another option (other than the brine) for smoked legs would be to marinade in an Alabama white, and baste every half hour or so with the extra marinade.

I tried smoking after a yogurt marinade too, and it ended up tasting pretty decent, but I liked the white sauce better.