I want to start by saying I love smoked turkey legs. Wandering around the county fair or an amusement park with a turkey leg in your hand taking in the sights.... well, let's just say this is bringing back some memories for me.
Step 1: Ingredients
Turkey legs, of course. Most of the legs used by amusement park vendors are the huge ones from male tom turkeys. Of course, legs from turkey hens are just as tasty, albeit smaller.
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. pink salt (curing)
1/2 gallon water
-A word on pink salt, curing salts-
Curing salts should never be used to season food in the cooking process or at the table. Curing salts were created centuries ago, before refrigeration, as a method of preserving meats such as bacon, hams, and corned beef. They all contain salt and nitrite, and some contain both nitrite and nitrate. Both these preservatives are very effective against the botulism bug. Most curing salts are colored pink with a small amount of red dye so you don't confuse them with table salt. The small quantities used in curing meats is harmless, but in large quantities can be lethal. Pink salts are not the same as pink Himalayan rock salt, which is pure salt with trace elements that give it the pink color!
Step 2: Brining the Legs
The secret to recreating that perfect smoked treat is brining your turkey legs. Because turkey is so low in fat. brining the turkey legs will make sure you have a tender, moist dish that you are proud to serve to your guests.
Dissolve the salt, pink salt, and the sugar in the water and then pour it in a 1 gallon zipper bag.
Add the meat and refrigerate in the cure for about 12-24 hours. Any longer and it can get too salty. You can then take them out of the cure and hold them in the fridge uncooked for a day or two until you're ready to cook.
-I allowed mine to stay in the solution for about 16 hours.-
Step 3: Smoke Them
Remove your turkey legs from the brine mixture. Rinse as much of the brine off as you can then pat dry.
Place turkey legs into smoker when it reaches 225-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
I smoked them with soaked pecan tree branches for 2 hours to get a nice even smoke coating. I removed them from the smoker and placed them in the oven to bring them up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
-My smoker was being a bit temperamental, hence the reason I finished them in the oven-
Remove them from the oven and allow to rest.
Step 4: Enjoy Them With?
Well, they are done, and juicy, and delicious! They were a big hit and they tasted exactly like the ones from the county fair. So sit back and enjoy the bounty of your labor and enjoy them with your favorite barbecue sides. You know, baked beans, corn on the cob and of course an ice cold beer!
Thanks for reading!