The first time I picked up a smoked turkey leg was at a Renaissance Faire outside of Baltimore, Maryland. The turkey had these great ham-like texture and flavor that I could not get enough of. And I thought it was cool to walk around with a huge turkey leg like a good heathen might do. At every Renaissance Faire I’ve ever been to, the smoked turkey leg booth is always the first place I stop.
Making smoked turkey legs at home is easy. I found fresh legs in the poultry section of our grocery store, but you might have to look into the frozen section if you can’t find them fresh. I found super duper big turkey legs, and I found more manageable ones (which is what I went with). Either will do just fine, just keep in mind that the really big ones take more space on your smoker.
I made my smoked turkey legs with the skin on. I think it keeps the legs a bit more moist during the smoking process. The skin does not get super crispy (you’re not smoking them at a high temperature) so feel to remove it before or even after cooking if you wish.
Any leftover turkey leg meat I had went into a delicious smoked turkey noodle soup. Yum!
Smoked Turkey Legs
- 1 1/2 gallons water divided
- 4 cups ice
- 1 cup your favorite rub I used Albukirky Seasoning's Red Chile Rub
- 1/2 cup pink curing salt
- 1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 6 turkey legs skin removed, if desired
- Place 1 gallon of water into a large stockpot over high heat. Add the rub, curing salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the remaining water and the ice. Add the turkey legs. If the legs are not submerged cover them with a heavy plate or pot lid to keep them under the water. Transfer to the fridge overnight.
- Remove the pot from the fridge and drain. Rinse the turkey legs with cold water, removing any pieces of peppercorns or other spices that may be stuck. Pat dry.
- Fire up your smoker for 250 F. I used hickory but you can use whatever your favorite wood is.
- Add legs to the smoker and smoke for 4-5 hours or until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in the thickest parts of the legs.
- Remove and serve.
Nutritional values are approximate.