posted November 06, 2019
Smoked Turkey Legs (Disney Copycat)
These Smoked Turkey Legs are an awesome Disney copycat that taste just like the ones in the theme park. They are large and in charge, coming ‘atcha with tons of smoky flavor. So go ahead and skip the theme park, and make your very own smoked turkey legs at home!
Disney Smoked Turkey Legs
That’s right folks, today we’re making a Disney smoked turkey legs copycat. You know when you’re walking through the park and you pass that cart just overflowing with all the good turkey smells? Now you can have them at home!
Now, before we continue, these turkey legs are not the same as if you were to throw a turkey leg on the smoker. No no, first they are cured with a curing salt (specifically sodium nitrite). This is what gives them that signature pink color that looks almost like a ham.
In fact, some people say these turkey legs taste like ham. This is most likely due to that gorgeous, even saltiness throughout the leg.
And for those of you who have never been to Disneyland or who have never tasted the glory that is a Disney turkey leg, jump on this recipe ASAP. It’s sure to be one of the best hunks of meat you ever treat yourself to.
Where to Buy Turkey Legs
Okay, you’re ready to begin the great turkey smoke, but where do you find those ginormous turkey legs? The legs at Disneyland are male tom turkey legs. These guys are anywhere from 1 ½ -2 pounds a piece! They can easily feed two people, and they’re a great option when you’re in the park and need a major protein refuel.
But if you head to your local grocer, you’ll find that most turkey legs at the grocery store are hen legs. These are smaller than those sold in Disneyland and are approximately 3/4 -1 pound a piece. For today’s recipe, we’re going with these hen legs. Even though they aren’t as big as the tom turkey legs, they’ll still taste just as delicious, and they are more readily available. I personally like cooking hen legs; they don’t take as long, and they’re a more logical serving size per person.
If you’re really gung-ho about smoking the big tom legs, you can occasionally you can get your butcher to get tom turkey legs. This takes a bit of extra time and preparation, but if you can get your hand on some of these, I say go for it! This same recipe will work for these giant turkey legs, just keep in mind you’ll have to increase the cooking time to get them up to a safe consumable temperature.
Smoked Turkey Leg Brine
The magic step to making these turkey legs comes from the brine. This magically wet curing liquid does 3 things to the turkey legs:
- It helps tenderize the meat.
- The brine gives the turkey that gorgeous signature pink color.
- It gives the an even saltiness throughout – talk about major flavor baby!
This brine combined with the smoke make for a flavor explosion, with tender, fall-off-the-bone meat.
Smoked Turkey Leg Seasoning
These turkey legs are seasoned throughout, but it is a super simple salt flavor. If you want to amp up the overall flavor of the turkey leg, you can rub it down with a seasoning blend. I highly recommend using my homemade Smoked Turkey Rub. It is an awesome combination of sweet, savory, and herby. If you’re worried about things getting too salty with the brine AND the rub, you can reduce the salt in the rub by half.
How to Smoke Turkey Legs
Smoking these turkey legs involves a 2-step process (3 if you count devouring these bad boys!):
- Brine. First up, you want to prepare the brine, and place the turkey legs in it to cure for 24 hours in the fridge. I like to cure my turkey legs in a gallon zip top bag to make sure they’re fully submerged.
- Smoke. After your turkey legs have been curing for an entire day, remove them from the brine, rinse them with cool water, and pat dry. With your smoker preheated to 225 degrees F, you’re ready to place your turkey legs directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke for approximately 1.5 hours. Pull the legs off the smoker when the internal temperature has reached 175 degrees F. Keep a reliable meat thermometer handy to keep track of the temperature as you’re smoking.
Give the turkey legs a moment to rest and come down in temperature before eating. Oh, and don’t even think about pulling out any silverware. These turkey legs should be attacked hands and teeth only. I like to wrap mine in my Hey Grill Hey branded butcher paper for looks AND to have the paper as a nice handle to keep your hands clean.
How Long to Smoke Turkey Legs
It takes approximately an hour and a half to smoke turkey legs. Most poultry needs to be cooked to a final internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Turkey legs are dark meat, so they’re fattier. You want these to fall off the bone without resistance. Smoking them to 175 degrees F will get you that super tender fall-off-the-bone bite.
More Smoked Turkey Recipes
Winner winner…uh…turkey dinner? Honestly, you’ll feel like a winner when you cook up these other smoked turkey recipes. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving, Sunday dinners, or anytime you have a hankering for some good tasting turkey.
Smoked Turkey Leg Recipe
Follow the recipe below and let’s make something delicious! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind the scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!
Smoked Turkey Legs
- 4 pounds turkey legs ((4 turkey legs))
- 4 cups cool water
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon Prague powder #1 (curing salt)
- Make the curing liquid by dissolving the salt, brown sugar, and curing salt (Prague powder) in cool water. Stir in the black peppercorns and the bay laves.
- Place the turkey legs in a gallon zip top bag, and pour the curing liquid over the legs. Put the bag on a place and cure for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Remove the turkey legs from the refrigerator and take the legs out of the brine. Give them a quick rinse under cool water and pat them dry.
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F. Place your turkey legs directly on the smoker. Close the lid and smoke the turkey legs for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the legs reaches 175 degrees F.
- Remove the turkey legs from the smoker, and dig in!
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