Turkey Legs (with Q-View)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by luv2q, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. I went to the local grocery store with my wife on Friday afternoon to pick up some chicken breasts and ran across something that I hadn't seen in a long time - turkey legs! Every time I think of turkey legs, it brings back memories of Disney World's smoked turkey legs at Frontierland. Now, since I'm in possession of an MES, I had to take home a couple of packs to experiment with. Friday evening, I put the six legs in a brine and let them sit in the refrigerator until Saturday. I had wanted to use a cure or TQ, but after striking out at three different grocery stores, I realized that my only option would be to order some via the internet. I did order some TQ that evening on the internet, but I'll have to wait until my next smoking project to experiment with it.

    Here are the turkey legs sitting in the brine. It's a standard brine that I mixed up, but I added a little more brown sugar than I usually do this time around.


    Before removing the turkey legs from the brine, I thought about how I was going to smoke these big drumsticks, so I decided to do three batches with two legs per batch. My reasoning is that I'm still experimenting with the MES, so I wanted to try a bunch of different things to see what effects, whether positive or negative, these things would have on the finished meal. The other thing I wanted to try was to keep the water pan dry and to use crushed charcoal mixed in with my wood chips, all while kicking up the MES to 275-degrees, versus the 225-degrees that I would normally use for something like this. I decided to divide my three batches like this (The Triple "S"):

    1. Smoke

    2. Sweet

    3. Spicy

    With the smoke recipe, I added no rub and just smoked with a mix of apple and cherry chips. With the sweet recipe, I mixed up some EVOO, brown sugar and a few other spices and used that as a rub. With the spicy recipe, I mixed up a dry rub with paprika, cayenne and chipotle as the foundation, then added a few more spices.

    Here are the turkey legs with the sweet rub on them sitting in the MES.


    I smoked each batch individually and pulled out the first turkey leg at 165-degrees IT and the second one at 190-degrees IT. Since I like a crispy skin, each batch was finished in the oven for roughly 10 minutes at 400-degrees in the convection roast setting. The only change I made to this was on the sweet turkey legs, which I basted with a 50/50 mix of margarine and a hickory-molasses BBQ sauce, in order to add further to the sweetness.

    Here are the finished smoked turkey legs.


    Here are the finished sweet turkey legs.


    Here are the finished spicy turkey legs.


    After performing my taste test on them, I really couldn't tell the difference in tenderness between the ones I pulled out at 165-degrees IT and the ones I pulled out at 190-degrees IT. I don't know if this has to do with the fact that I finished them off in the oven or not, but they seemed to be equally tender.

    Also, it's my opinion that the addition of the crushed charcoal (Kingsford Competition Briquets - one briquet per wood chip load) added to the overall flavor. In fact, this is the only time I've used charcoal in the wood tray and I ended up with a dark film on the viewing glass, which tells me that something out of the ordinary was going on in the smoking process this time.

    After my taste test, my wife, kids, niece and nephew devoured the rest, so I think it's safe to say that the three recipes came out pretty darned good! [​IMG]

    Please enjoy the pics!
  2. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    They all look very tasty; nice experiment. Glad you all loved them!
  3. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Looks good! I love disney turkey legs.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great job!

    They look delicious!

    The other thing the charcoal does is keep a heat source for the chips when the heating element cycles off.
  5. Rivet, thank you! They definitely were tasty. I will be making these again in the future.
    teeznuts, me too! There's something about those Disney turkey legs that you have to have while you're there. Thank you for the compliment!
    SmokinAl, thank you! That's a very interesting point you brought up about the charcoal keeping the wood chips lit while the element cycles off. I think I'm going to incorporate the charcoal into each wood chip cycle, from now on.
  6. Awesome Luv2Q, one of the main reasons I picked up smoking meat is because of turkey legs. Love them at the fairs. My knows how much I love them so she bought me some from the store already smoked, but they were so salty and was barely able to eat them. Very disappointing. Then we went to the local county fair this year, and again I was disappointed by the turkey legs available. So I'm ready to smoke my own.

    Great post, I'll have to do one soon. thanks.
  7. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    They look good...
  8. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. Chubbabubba, thank you! I certainly hope they make you happy when you're done with them. Striking out a couple of times on your turkey leg craving sounds like a real disappointment! [​IMG]

    Roller, thank you!

    Pops, I hear you. Don't get me started on the health thing, either. Being a diabetic (under control) who also suffers from high blood pressure (also under control) and high cholesterol (still working on this one, but, MAN, DO I LOVE BACON! [​IMG]), it becomes very difficult to say no to the things that I just absolutely love to eat.
  10. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    it looks great like the ones at Disney world
  11. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    nice looking LEGS!!!
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've always been a leg man, and those are beautiful!!!!

    Nice Color!!!

  13. Well I have never been to Disney World or Disney Land, but I have been a season

    ticket holder for 6 Flags for the past 6 years. I always make sure I get one of their

    Smoked Turkey Legs. They are great!! I don't know where they get those huge legs

    but I would like to find them. Around here best I can do is the ones from Wal-Mart.

    Your Turkey legs look delicious. I believe I would eat any of them.

    I am kinda partial to the Smoked and the Spicey.

    But they all look excellent. Great Job and nice experiment.

    Happy Smokin'

  14. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    They looks great nice job.. Have fun and Happy smoking
  15. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Hey Luv2q do you still have the recipe for the brine you used?
  16. africanmeat, thank you!

    BlueBombersfan, thank you!

    Bear, I love legs, too! (and breast and...[​IMG])

    Thank you!

    ptcruiserguy, thank you and they absolutely were!

    tyotrain, thank you!

    teeznuts, I don't have a set brine recipe, but I do have a foundation that I typically work with and go on from there. I like to experiment with these projects to see how the changes I make in the recipes affect the overall flavor of the end product. In this particular case I remember doing this:

    1 gallon of water

    1 cup of Kosher salt

    Upped my usual 1/2 cup of Turbinado sugar to 1 cup (wanted a "sweeter" infusion in the turkey meat)

    2 TSP Garlic powder

    2 TSP Onion powder

    After this, I eyeball into the brine whatever spices I feel I should add that I might have in the cupboard (pepper, celery, etc.).

    I hope this helps!
  17. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

      They all look good to me

    I will take one of each.......................please [​IMG]
  18. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Sounds good. I have a similar one I found online last year. The only real difference is it also calls for some pepper and paprika. I ususally use it for turkey legs but tomorrow I'm trying a whole turkey.

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