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Smoked Turkey Leg

Today, I’m diving headfirst into the smoky realm of BBQ goodness. Grab your aprons, folks, because we’re about to embark on a mouthwatering journey to create the most delectable Smoked Turkey Leg you’ve ever sunk your teeth into.

smoked turkey leg

How to Make Smoked Turkey Leg

Alright, let’s get this turkey trot started! Making a succulent smoked turkey leg isn’t rocket science, but it does require a little TLC. Here’s the lowdown, step by step:

  1. Brine Time: Begin by brining your turkey leg overnight. It’s like a spa day for your bird, ensuring it stays moist and flavorful during the smoke bath. I’m talkin’ water, salt, sugar, and spices—a flavor infusion like no other!
  2. Rub-a-Dub-Dub: The rub is where the magic happens. Create a mouthwatering mix of spices that tickle your taste buds. Think paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne for that extra kick. Rub it all over your turkey leg like you’re giving it a spa massage.
  3. Fire Up the Smoker: While your leg is soaking up that rub, fire up your smoker. And now for the woodsy wisdom: hickory and applewood are your best bets for a flavor explosion!
  4. Low and Slow: Pop that seasoned turkey leg in the smoker and let it bathe in that fragrant smoke at around 225°F for a few hours. Slow and steady wins the race, folks!
  5. Crispy Dreams: To achieve that irresistible crispy skin, crank up the heat for the final stretch. You want that skin to sing with smoky delight.
  6. Check the Temp: Grab a meat thermometer and make sure your turkey leg hits an internal temperature of 165°F. Safety first, my friends!
  7. Rest and Revel: Give your masterpiece a little rest – you’ve earned it, and so has your turkey leg! Let it chill for about 15 minutes before you dig in.

The Perfect Rub

Now, let’s talk about that rub. I’ve tried a ton of ’em, but the one that never fails to impress is my grandma’s secret blend. She used to say, “A great rub should have layers of flavor, just like life.” So, take that to heart and don’t skimp on the spices. Get adventurous, try different combos, and remember, the secret ingredient is always love.

smoked turkey leg recipe

Best Wood to Use

Here’s the deal, folks – the type of wood you use in your smoker can make or break your BBQ game. Hickory and applewood are solid choices for turkey legs, infusing them with that sweet, smoky flavor we all crave. Hickory’s bold and assertive, while applewood’s a bit more delicate. But hey, feel free to experiment and find your own woodsy paradise!

How to Crispy Turkey Skin

Ah, crispy turkey skin, the Holy Grail of BBQ. You want that skin to be like a symphony of crunchiness with every bite. Here’s my secret: after slow-smoking, crank up the heat in your smoker or pop that turkey leg on a hot grill for a few minutes. It’ll give you that mouthwatering, crispy goodness you’ve been dreaming of!

What to Serve on the Side

Now that we’ve got those turkey legs smokin’, let’s talk sides. I’m all about the full experience, folks.

1. Smokey Mac ‘n’ Cheese Creamy mac ‘n’ cheese with a hint of smokiness to complement the star of the show. It’s like a culinary duet made in heaven.

2. Cornbread Delight Moist, crumbly cornbread – it’s the perfect partner in this turkey tango. The sweet and savory notes? Pure harmony.

3. Coleslaw Crunch A little bit of coleslaw crunch provides a refreshing contrast to the rich, smoky turkey. It’s all about balance, my friends.

4. Sweet Potato Fries Crispy, sweet potato fries – they add that extra oomph to the plate. Plus, they’re a personal favorite of mine.

smoked turkey legs

So there you have it, a smokin’ hot guide to making the most delectable smoked turkey legs in town. I hope you’re ready to embark on this flavorful journey. Remember, it’s not just about the food – it’s about the experience, the memories, and the sheer joy of indulging in something truly special.

And that’s a wrap, folks! Thanks for hanging out with me today. Now go fire up that smoker, whip up those sides, and savor every bite. Until next time, happy smokin’ and stay deliciously curious!

Smoked Turkey Leg

Get ready to savor the deliciousness of our smoked turkey leg recipe. Juicy, tender, and packed with flavor, it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Brining 1 day
Servings 2


  • 2 turkey legs about 1 pound each
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups hickory wood chips or applewood if you prefer
  • BBQ sauce for serving optional



  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 4 cups of water, kosher salt, brown sugar, black peppercorns, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Place the turkey legs in the brine mixture, making sure they are fully submerged. If needed, use a heavy plate to weigh them down.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal it in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours, but no more than 24 hours). This brine will keep your turkey legs juicy and flavorful.

Preparing the Rub and Smoker

  1. Remove the turkey legs from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Mix paprika and cayenne pepper in a small bowl to create your rub. Rub this mixture evenly all over the turkey legs. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Let the seasoned turkey legs sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare your smoker. Meanwhile, soak the wood chips in water for at 30 minutes.
  4. Fire up your smoker to a temperature of approximately 225°F (110°C). Add the soaked wood chips to the smoker's wood chip tray.


  1. Place the turkey legs on the smoker grates, ensuring there's enough space between them for the smoke to circulate.
  2. Close the smoker and maintain a temperature of around 225°F (110°C). Smoke the turkey legs for 2-3 hours, adding more wood chips as needed to keep the smoke flowing.

Crispy Skin (Optional)

  1. If you want that crispy skin, here's how to achieve it: Preheat your grill or oven to high heat (around 400°F/200°C).
  2. Transfer the smoked turkey legs to the grill or oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the skin becomes crispy. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

Checking the Temperature and Resting

  1. Regardless of whether you crisped up the skin, the internal temperature of the turkey legs should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure they're fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to check.
  2. Once they reach the desired temperature, remove the turkey legs from the smoker or grill/oven and let them rest for about 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, keeping the meat moist.

Serve and Enjoy!

  1. Serve your smoked turkey legs with your favorite BBQ sauce on the side if you like, though they're pretty fantastic on their own.
  2. Dig in and savor the smoky, juicy goodness you've created!
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