Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Smoked Turkey Legs

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Smoked Turkey Legs are a delicious and flavorful treat that evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminding us of state fairs and outdoor barbecues. These succulent, smoky delights are not only mouthwatering but also relatively easy to prepare at home. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of making tender and juicy smoked turkey legs that will have your family and friends coming back for more.


  • 4 turkey legs
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite poultry rub or seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Wood chips (such as apple, hickory, or cherry) for smoking

Step 1: Prepare the Turkey Legs

  • Start by rinsing the turkey legs under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This helps remove any excess moisture and allows the seasonings to adhere better. Place the turkey legs in a large mixing bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Use your hands to coat the legs evenly with oil.

Step 2: Season the Turkey Legs

  • In a small bowl, combine the poultry rub or seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper. Mix the ingredients well to create a flavorful dry rub. Sprinkle the dry rub over the turkey legs, making sure to cover all sides. Massage the rub into the meat, ensuring it sticks to the surface. Let the seasoned turkey legs rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate.

Step 3: Prepare the Smoker

  • While the turkey legs are resting, prepare your smoker. If you are using a charcoal smoker, light the charcoal and wait for it to become covered in white ash before adding wood chips. If you have an electric or gas smoker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preheating and adding wood chips.

Step 4: Smoked Turkey Legs

  • Once your smoker is ready, place the seasoned turkey legs directly on the smoker grates. Ensure that there is enough space between the legs for the smoke to circulate evenly. Close the lid and let the magic happen. Maintain a consistent temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C) and monitor the internal temperature of the turkey legs with a meat thermometer. They are fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), which usually takes about 2 to 3 hours.

Step 5: Rest and Serve

  • When the turkey legs are done, carefully remove them from the smoker and let them rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and the flavors to settle. Serve the smoked turkey legs as they are, or you can brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce for an extra layer of flavor.

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Conclusion: Smoking turkey legs at home is an enjoyable culinary adventure that rewards you with tender, juicy, and smoky goodness. By following this step-by-step guide, you can recreate the state fair experience right in your own backyard. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or simply looking for a satisfying meal, these smoked turkey legs are sure to impress your family and friends. So, fire up your smoker, gather your ingredients, and get ready to indulge in a delicious treat that will have everyone asking for seconds!

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