Smoked Turkey Legs

For Thanksgiving this year, we’ve decided to smoke some turkey legs instead of cooking a full-on turkey. Smoking the meat makes it super flavorful and tender, plus you don’t have to sit around basting it. If you don’t have a backyard smoker, you can use a smoker box in your oven with great results.

Prep Time 20 M
Cook Time 6 H
Recipe Yield A boatload of delicious smoked turkey legs



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    1. About 5 – 6 hours before you plan to smoke the turkey, make the brine. Combine the water, salt, sugar, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the turkey legs. Refrigerate for 4 – 6 hours.
    2. When the turkey is fully brined, remove from the liquid and rinse under cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat, taking care not to tear the skin. Rub the turkey with the butter both under the skin and on the outside, followed by the vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper, then with the dry rub, under the skin and on the outside.
    3. Preheat smoker to 225F using your favorite combination of charcoal and wood, following your smoker’s instructions. (We used applewood and hickory.) If you are not using a smoker, set up a regular grill for indirect heat using a wood chip smoker box, or use your oven and a wood chip smoker box.
    4. Place the turkey legs into the smoker. Smoke the turkey for 4 – 6 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165F. (Ours took about 4.5 hours.) Allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.


    • See our Meat Rub and Mop Recipe:


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