Turkey for a Celebration!

by jerseygirl on October 29, 2008 · 49 comments

The Philadelphia Phillies have done it! They have won the world series! There was a lot of celebration going on here. My kids were still up at 10:30 on a school night. You could hear the clanging of pots and pans,cars driving around the neighborhood beeping and little voices screaming on their porches. You would have thought it was New Years Eve.

This past week was the perfect time to make giant smoked turkey legs. It was a great food to have for game time. We made enough of these bad boys to have for several games. After I had one at the PA Renaissance Faire, we had to make them.


I retrieved this recipe off smoker cooking. There is some work involved as the legs are soaked in brine then slow cooked on a smoker. But the work is well worth it. Thanks to my wonderful husband for doing most of the work. (I did the photography and the bossing around.) You can also use a regular grill with wood chips in a smoke box. Here are some tips to make them taste really good.

Make sure the full legs are covered with the brine. It looks a little like witches brew, right?


Make sure the legs are patted dry after coming out of the brine.


Use a mild wood such as cherry or apple.


Rub the legs with the rub and let them rest before cooking.


Walk around while eating them. You can pretend you’re walking around a fair or ballpark. Better yet, you could dress up as Fred Flinstone and eat one while trick or treating. Congratulations Phillies!


Super Smoked Turkey Legs

8 turkey drumsticks
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs black pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp cumin

Rinse and drain the turkey legs. Add the remaining ingredients to a large pan and bring to a boil. Take off heat, cover, and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour the brine into your brining container and place it in the fridge to cool. The brine needs to be between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to safely and effectively brine the drumsticks.

Drop the legs into the brine, and soak them for four to six hours. Remove them, rinse well, and drain. Dry them off with paper towels to ready them for the wet rub.
Here’s the wet rub recipe.

Turkey Leg Rub
3 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp sage
3 Tbs vegetable oil

Rub this mixture onto the turkey legs, and allow them to rest in it for an hour or so. Put them into the smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, using a light flavored wood. Apple, pear, or cherry are good choices for a mellow smokey flavor.

Figure on four to six hours in the smoker. You want these to be fall-apart tender. The more connective tissue that melts, the more luscious these become. Remove them when done and let them rest and cool for half an hour.

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