More people should try smoked barbeque turkey and especially smoked barbeque turkey legs. Have you ever had those legs that they sell on vendor carts at Disney World? They're pretty good and one of my favorite treats at Disney. I liked them so much that I told my wife that we have to duplicate those legs at home. We made a few attempts but we didn't get it right until we discovered the secret. The secret is brining. You have to marinate the legs in brine before you put them on the smoker. Achieving juicy turkey legs is almost foolproof if you take the step of brining. It's also an opportunity to add additional flavors by adding fruit juices, spices, and sweeteners like honey.
The other trick of great barbeque turkey legs is crisp skin. To get crisp skin you must have dry skin (the moisture of the brine will make the skin mushy). The turkey legs must air dry uncovered for at least two hours to evaporate water just below the surface of the skin. Just make sure that you do this in the refrigerator.
Use apple or cherry wood for your smoke. The smoke is milder and imparts a slight sweetness to the turkey legs.
As a precaution remember to wash and disinfect anything that comes in contact with raw poultry. Salmonella poisoning is no joke so be careful.
Follow these steps to cook perfect smoked barbeque turkey legs:
1. Prepare your brine marinade and immerse the legs in the brine. Use one of the brining recipes for poultry and it let stay in the brine for no more than 4 hours.
2. Take the legs out of the brine, wash off and pat dry. Let the legs air dry under refrigeration for at least 2 hours. Rub the legs down with olive oil and season. You can season with simple salt and pepper or you can use a rub. There are several poultry rubs that make a tasty turkey legs.
3. Prepare your smoker with lump charcoal and stabilize the temperature in the range between 230 to 250 degrees. It takes about 35 minutes per pound of turkey legs to cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
4. As stated previously, apple or cherry wood are good smoking choices for turkey. You can also use hickory or oak for a heavier smoke flavor. I would avoid mesquite; it has a very strong flavor leaves a slightly bitter taste.
5. You are going to need a good instant read meat thermometer to determine doneness of your turkey legs. Be sure to check several locations and avoid touching bone.
6. When done let the legs rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy those smoked barbeque turkey legs!
If you would like to read more detail on how to cook great smoked barbeque turkey and other tips, techniques, and recommendations on barbeque cooking check out my website at the Backyard-Smoker-Barbeque-Chef.com Home Page.