Turkey legs are a delicious favorite that some people wait all year long for a chance to enjoy—but they are surprisingly easy to make at home! With a few simple steps and your favorite Z Grills model, you can jump right in and make amazing smoked turkey legs in no time. Let’s take a closer look at this delicious smoked turkey leg recipe that is perfect for beginners!
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How to Brine Turkey Legs
To make delicious turkey legs, brine is key. Brining the turkey legs can add more flavor and help you to receive that perfect finish that people love to enjoy at festivals and other major events.
Prepare the Brine Solution
Making brine is surprisingly easy as long as you have the right ingredients. With this brine, your turkey legs will have an incredible finish.
Ingredients for Brine:
- 5 quarts of water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Pink Salt Prague Powder (follow the directions on the package as needed)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
Place the Turkey Legs in the Brine
When the turkey brine is completely mixed, you will want to simmer it on low, then allow it to cool. Place the brine in a container that is large enough to hold your turkey legs. Place the turkey legs directly into the brine solution, allowing them to be completely submerged if possible. If the brine solution doesn’t cover the turkey legs, consider using a different container or making more brine.
Cover and Refrigerate
After the turkey legs are placed in the brine, cover them to keep air out of the container. Allow the turkey legs to sit in the brine for 12 to 18 hours to ensure that the turkey is properly saturated.
How Long Should You Smoke Turkey Legs?
The length that you will smoke your turkey legs will depend on the thickness of the meat and the amount of meat that you intend to cook at once. When there is more meat to cook, it will take longer. When there is less, it will take less time. For this recipe, we recommend that you smoke the turkey legs for a full 2 ½ hours at 250F.
Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe Instructions
Smoking the perfect turkey legs is a process that only takes a few short steps and a few short hours. Remember, you should always use your best judgment while cooking. Each time you make the smoked turkey legs, you will learn more about how different portions of meat will cook throughout the process.
Preheat Your Z Grills Pellet Grill to 250F
To begin, you will need to start by heating up your Z Grills Pellet Grill to 250F. This is the ideal temperature for smoking the turkey to perfection without drying it out. With these turkey legs, we recommend heating up your grill with cherry wood pellets, which add exceptional flavor to the turkey legs.
Rub the Turkey Legs
After removing the turkey legs from the brine, you will need to dry them. Using paper towels, take care to pat each turkey leg dry. Pull back the skin on each turkey leg to expose the meat, then apply the dry rub to each turkey leg. The dry rub can be any poultry seasoning or your preferred combination of spices. When the dry rub has been applied, pull the skin back over each leg and apply more rub to the skin.
Place the Turkey Legs Onto the Grill
Now that your turkey legs are all seasoned to taste, it is time to cook them. After your Z Grill has reached 250F, you can safely add your turkey legs for cooking. Open the lid to your grill and place the turkey legs inside on the shelf.
Your turkey legs will need to cook for approximately 2 ½ hours while they are on the grill, and they should remain undisturbed during this time. Your indication that the turkey legs are done cooking will be the internal temperature, which should reach 175F.
To check the internal temperature, you will need to take care of the meat thermometer. Be sure to look out for bones while checking the temperature of each leg. Avoid touching the bones at all costs. For the most accurate reading, check the temperature of the thickest part of the turkey leg.
Remove the Turkey Legs from Your Pellet Grill and Enjoy!
After the turkey legs have reached the ideal internal temperature of 175F, you can safely remove them from the grill. The turkey legs will be very hot and will need time to set. Allow the legs to set for 15 to 20 minutes before serving them up.
When the turkey legs are done, they will have a rich brown and slightly crisped appearance. However, the meat inside will be juicy and tender. The flavor should burst from the turkey legs with each bite.
For best results, we recommend using the Z Grills 7002F, which is designed to offer perfect and consistent cooking that locks in flavor and provides a nice and even finish. It’s perfect for making crispy and flavorful turkey legs!
What Should You Serve with Smoked Turkey Legs?
While turkey legs are the perfect main course, they are even more enjoyable when you include them as a part of a full meal. Turkey legs pair really well with smoked potato salad, completing that great barbecue feel. However, these turkey legs also mix well with grilled acorn squash (with salad) and grilled cauliflower wings too!
Best Wood Pellets for Smoked Turkey Legs
You can use any pellet you prefer, though if you’re serving a lot of mouths that may find a heavy smokey flavor a little intense (such as kids), choose a pellet with a light smokey flavor. To make sure your turkey legs light up everyone’s tastebuds, opt for Fruit Wood Pellets, Apple Wood Pellets, or Cherry Wood Pellets.
Do I Need a Pellet Grill to Smoke Turkey Legs?
No, but because turkey legs are on the smaller side, you’re going to have to be really attentive and ensure the temperature stays at just the right level if you aren’t using a pellet grill.
Invest in a pellet grill if you want the best results for the least effort. All Z Grills pellet grills in our range maintain the set temperature perfectly.
Z Grills is the ideal choice for your first wood pellet grill. We’re a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made.
Smoked Turkey Legs
- Z Grills 7002F2 Wood Pellet Grill
- Z Grills Cherry Wood Pellets
- 4 turkey legs
- Your favorite dry rub
For the brine
- 5 quarts of water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Pink Salt Prague Powder (take care to follow the instructions on the package)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Mix the ingredients, stirring to dissolve the salt, and simmer on low. Allow to cool before submerging the turkey legs.
- The turkey legs should be submerged in the brine for 12 to 18 hours before cooking.
- Remove the turkey legs from the brine. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Pull back the skin on each turkey leg, exposing the meat.
- Apply your favorite rub or seasoning combination to each turkey leg, then pull the skin back in place and apply rub again.
- Preheat your Z Grills to 250F.
- Once your Z Grills reaches 250F, add your turkey legs.
- Cook the turkey legs for approximately 2 ½ hours or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 175F. When checking the temperature, be sure to take the temperature in the thickest part of the meat and avoid touching the bone.
- Remove your turkey legs when they reach the appropriate temperature.
- Allow the turkey legs to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.