Everyone deserves that indulgent experience when you feel like a king perched high upon his bejeweled throne, voraciously gnawing on a gigantic leg of turkey. Sure, you can go to Disneyland and buy one OR you could turn on your Traeger and smoke some legs yourself. We figured since we're already indulging, might as well go all the way and wrap some bacon around those legs. (We couldn't help ourselves!) With each succulent bite you take you'll feel just like ole King Henry VIII. Just don't get too carried away ordering around the servants.
Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Turkey Legs
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus brine overnight
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Recommended Pellets: Alder, Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Pecan
1 gallon water
1/2 gallon ice-filled 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
8 turkey legs
8-16 slices of bacon
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 and sugar granules. Take off the heat and add in 1/2 gallon of water and ice.
Make sure the brine is at least to room temperature, if not colder. (You may need to refrigerate the brine for an hour or so.) 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 stubborn, 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.
For the addition of the bacon, you can either partially cook the bacon (15 minutes on the Traeger at 350 degrees F) and wrap a piece around each leg and finishing cooking them for the last 10 to 15 minutes of smoking or wrap the bacon around the legs for the last 30 to 40 minutes of smoking. The total smoking time for the legs will be 3 to 4 hours - 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.
What's the best part about these legs? They're practically fool-proof! The brine almost ensures that you'll get a moist bird. And whatever the brine doesn't cure, wrapping it up with a bacon bow certainly will!
Tear into a leg or two and feel like a king!