You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to eat turkey. Turkey Legs are a great choice for a family dinner. They have tender and moist meat, packed with flavour.
Note: For this recipe, you’ll need one special ingredient: a sodium nitrite-based curing salt called pink salt, Prague Powder, or Insta Cure No. 1.
Yield: Serves 6
6 Turkey legs (1 to 1 ½ pounds each)
4 Quarts (1 gallon) water
¾ Cup honey
¾ Cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
1 Tablespoon pink curing salt (Prague Powder or Insta Cure No.1)
The zest (remove it in strips with a vegetable peeler) and juice of 1 orange
4 Whole cloves
4 Allspice berries, lightly crushed with the side of a cleaver
2 Bay leaves
2 Cinnamon sticks (3 inches each)
1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- Make the brine: Combine 2 quarts of water, the honey, salt, curing salt, orange zest and juice, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and peppercorns in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 quarts water. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Rinse the turkey drumsticks in a colander under cold running water. Prick the skin on all sides with a for or needle.
- Add the turkey drumsticks to the brine, making sure they’re completely submerged. You can hold them down with a dinner plate or a resealable plastic bag filled with ice. Brine the drumsticks in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
- When you’re ready to smoke, drain the drumsticks and discard the brine. Pick off and discard any clinging spices. Blot the drumsticks dry with paper towels.
- Set up your Bradley Smoker and preheat to 250°F. (I like to smoke the turkey with cherry)
- Place the drumsticks on the wire grates in the smoker. Smoke the turkey legs until darkly browned and very tender (3 to 4 hours). You’re looking for an internal temperature of 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Do not be alarmed (on the contrary-be proud) if the meat under the skin is pinkish: That’s a chemical reaction to the cure and the smoke. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Recipe by: Steven Raichlen
Photo courtesy of Richard Dallett