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SMOKED WILD TURKEY LEGS

Updated: Mar 22

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Smoked Wild Turkey Legs are a delicious treat if they are prepared properly. The problem that most people run into when trying to cook them, is that they simply throw them in the smoker and think that they will end up with the same juicy fork-tender turkey legs that they grab from a Carni at their local fair. But if you want to yield deliciously smoky and tender turkey legs from your smoker, a little work needs to be done ahead of time.


Smoked Wild Turkey Legs Recipe
Smoked Wild Turkey Leg with Alabama White Sauce


COOKS TIPS:

  • Braise First: The easiest and my favorite technique to get your legs tender is to first slow cook them them in a flavorful stock. This allows for smoke to penetrate the turkey legs just a little bit better. You can then smoke them right away after this, but there's room for improvement. If you have an hour or two to spare, dry them off after braising and then place them in your refrigerator uncovered to let them dry and become somewhat tacky. This will allow for more smoke adhesion to the legs. And if you have the opportunity to braise them a day ahead of time, letting them soak in the cooking liquid overnight before smoking will give you an even juicer turkey leg.

  • Can You Braise Second? You have the option of smoking the turkey legs before you braise them. While this works fine and you'll still end up with tender meat, I feel like you're sacrificing in the flavor department. A lot of the smoke that has clung to the outer portion of the meat will wash away in the braise and "muddy" the flavors up a bit. Either technique is fine and ultimately comes down to personal preference.

  • Smoking Times and Temperatures: I like to smoke the turkey legs between 200 and 215 degrees F. for about 1.5 hours. If you have the option of cold smoking, this is a great option as well. If cold smoking, extending the smoke to around 2 to 2.5 hours is ideal. Then increase the temperature to around 200 degrees and smoke until you get some good color. This can take around 1 hour. You can smoke the legs for longer than suggested, but just keep in mind that you risk drying the meat out. And if you do increase the smoking times, I highly recommend basting the legs during the smoking process.

  • Glazing the Turkey Legs: If you're using sauce, you can apply it at the beginning of the smoke, or wait until the last 30 minutes of the smoke. I like to glaze mine with sorghum that's been thinned out with a little apple cider vinegar. I'll then will dip them in my sauce of choice which is usually my Alabama white sauce recipe.




 

Serves: 2 to 4 people

Cooking Time: Listed Below

Difficulty: Easy


INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 turkey legs or wings

  • turkey or chicken stock (enough to cover meat)

  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • salt as needed (to season the stock)

  • BBQ sauce of choice (here's my Alabama white sauce recipe)


DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the turkey to a large pot or slow cooker. Season the stock with salt to your liking. Add the turkey and bring to a simmer. Cook them until they are fork tender (this can take between 1 to 3 hours). Remove them from the pot and set them aside to chill or dry them off and place in the refrigerator for an hour or so as stated above in the notes section. If using a slow cooker, cook on high covered with the lid until fork tender. This can take between 6 and 8 hours (I've seen them take longer, so be prepared).

  2. Heat your smoker between 200 and 215 degrees F. Glaze the turkey with your favorite bbq sauce now or wait until the last 30 minutes of smoking. Smoke the turkey legs for about 1.5 hours. If you're worried about drying the legs meat out, baste them with some of the cooking liquid around every 20 minutes.

 

Looking for other Wild Turkey recipes? These are a few of my favorites:


Lastly, if you make this Smoked Wild Turkey Legs Recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram! I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.




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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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