These smoked turkey legs are brined overnight and smoked for 2-3 hours. You spritz them every 30 minutes with an easy garlic apple juice spritz that keeps the skin tender and leaves you with flavorful smoked turkey legs.
Smoked Turkey Legs
Say hello to a juicy, dark meat turkey recipe; smoked turkey legs. These smoked turkey legs are easy (and fun) to make. They make a great alternative to a whole smoked turkey if you are cooking for a smaller group. This recipe is also great for a BBQ recipe for turkey lovers all summer long.
Why you’ll love it!
Who doesn’t love dark turkey meat?
Using a turkey legs is sometimes easier than cooking with a whole turkey. Turkey legs fit into a large bucket, your refrigerator, and your smoker much easier than a whole bird.
This smoked turkey legs recipe offers delicious leftover smoked turkey.
It’s an easy recipe to make and involves the whole family.
What You Need for Smoked Turkey Legs
- Turkey legs– this recipe calls for 6 turkey legs (all about 1-lb. per leg). Be sure you find turkey legs that are untreated. Some turkeys come pre-brined and we don’t want that.
- Brine Ingredients- you are going to brine the turkey legs in this smoked turkey brine which consists of water, salt, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, and onions. If you want more information on the smoked turkey brine, check out this post.
- Apple juice- we use apple juice as the sprtiz for this recipe. It is sugary and compliments turkey meat.
How to Cook Smoked Turkey Legs
Brine the turkey LEgs
We highly suggest brining the turkey before you smoke it. Prepare the brining liquid and submerge the turkey breast in the brine after it has cooled off. You do not want to put your turkey in a warm brine.
Place the brining turkey legs in the refrigerator and brine the legs overnight.
Prepare the turkey after brining
Remove the turkey legs from the brine and carefully rinse the turkey under cold water. Pat the legs completely dry before
This is also the time to prepare the spritz. Add the olive oil to a sauce pan and heat over medium/high heat. Add the garlic to the olive oil and saute for a few minutes. Add the orange juice to the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Remove the spritz from the heat and pour the spritz through a fine sieve to remove the garlic. Add the apple juice to a spray bottle to spritz the turkey legs during the cook time.
If you don’t have a spritz bottle you can add the apple juice to a bowl, mix, and use a pastry brush to whip the mixture over the turkey.
Smoke the turkey legs
Place the turkey legs on the smoker and smoke the turkey legs for 2 – 3 hours, spritzing the turkey legs with the apple juice spritz every 30-45 minutes.
Let the turkey rest before eating
Remove the turkey legs from the smoker and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before eating.
Top Tips for a Juicy and Flavorful Smoked Turkey Leg Recipe
Turkey legs can sometimes be hard to find. You can usually find turkey legs (or drumsticks) at a specialty grocery store or at your local butcher.
Some smokers have set temperatures so anywhere between 230-250ºF will work for this recipe. The timing just may change depending on what temperature you can use.
We used Traeger Signature blend smoking pellets, but you can get creative and use different types of smoking pellets.
What is the Best Smoker?
Let’s talk about smokers. If you have a smoker that you love, you can skip this section. We have smoked many different types of meat on many different smokers. Automatic pellet grills or smokers, manual smokers, and even regular grills.
Our favorite smoker is the Traeger electric smoker because (like a slow cooker) there is minimal work required once you set the Traeger. This smoker uses pellets rather than wood chips and it automatically feeds the smoker to adjust the temperature
That’s right, nobody has to add wood chips or wood pellets themselves to keep the temperature up.
These turkey legs are smoked for 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165ºF.
This recipe leaves you with fall off the bone turkey. The meat is dark and juicy and is smoked long and slow.
Yes, you can rub these turkey legs with this turkey seasoning before smoking them. You will end up with turkey legs that have a crust rather than a classic leathery smoked turkey leg skin.
Yes, you can use giant turkey legs or drumsticks for this recipe. You may just need to smoke them longer than regular sized turkey legs.
Store your turkey leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Can I Freeze Smoked Turkey?
Yes, you can freeze leftover turkey for soups, salads, or any other recipes. Let the turkey legs cool completely and then place it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Turkey Gravy
- Sausage Stuffing
Smoked Turkey Legs
- Remove the packaging from the turkey legs and discard any extra turkey parts that came with the turkey legs. Set the turkey aside.
- First, prepare the turkey leg brine. Add 12 cups of cold water to a large 5 gallon bucket or pot.
- Remove 2 cups of water from the bucket and add it to a small saucepan. Add the salt to the water and whisk. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and allow the mixture to boil until the salt has dissolved completely.
- Add the salt water to the bucket and stir to combine. Add the thyme, rosemary, and half of the white onion to the bucket of water. Place the turkey legs in the bucket of water. Be sure the turkey legs are submerged in water. Refrigerate the turkey legs overnight to brine.
- The next morning, preheat the smoker to 240ºF and remove the turkey legs from the brine and rinse the turkey legs under cold water. Then, pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Next, prepare the apple cider spritz. Add olive oil to the small saucepan and over medium/high heat. When the olive oil is fragrant add the garlic. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Pour the apple juice into the saucepan and to a gentle simmer.
- Remove the apple juice from the heat and pour it through a fine sieve to remove the garlic from the apple juice.
- Let the apple juice cool and then transfer the apple juice into a clean spray bottle.
- Place the turkey legs on the smoker and smoke the turkey legs for 2 – 3 hours, spritzing the turkey legs with the apple juice spritz every 30-45 minutes.
- Remove the turkey legs from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Let the turkey legs rest for 10-15 minutes before eating.
Tips & Notes
- Turkey legs can be hard to find outside of the holiday season. You can usually find turkey legs at your local butcher or in the frozen section of specialty grocery stores.
- We used Traeger Signature blend smoking pellets.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.