Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

Amusement parks and fairs have given smoked turkey legs a cult-like following, with some people offering money online for a recipe that mimics the legs sold at Disneyland. The secret is to soak the legs in brine for 24 hours, then smoke them low and slow. The flavor is ham-like, and very addictive.

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 gallons cold water
  • 1 cup (1 6.5 ounce container) Traeger BBQ Rub
  • 1/2 cup curing salt (such as Morton’s Tenderquick®)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 allspice berries, crushed (optional)
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Preparation

In a large stockpot, combine one gallon of water, the rub, curing salt, brown sugar, allspice (if using), peppercorns, bay leaves, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the salt granules. Cool to room temperature. Add the remaining cold water and chill in the refrigerator. Add the turkey legs, making sure they’re completely submerged in the brine.

After 24 hours, drain the turkey legs and discard the brine. Rinse the brine off the legs with cold water, then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Brush off any clinging solid spices.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 250 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lay the turkey legs directly on the grill grate. Smoke for 4 to 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read meat thermometer. (Make sure the probe doesn’t touch bone or you’ll get a false reading.) The turkey legs should be deeply browned. Do not be alarmed if the meat under the skin is pinkish: That’s a chemical reaction to the cure and the smoke. Serve immediately.

Note: If you can’t find these Flintstone-esque legs, you can substitute smaller ones. Reduce the cooking time accordingly.