Smoked Turkey Legs [Electric Smoker]

By Ben Isham-Smith

Published:

The best smoked turkey legs for your electric smoker. Prepared in a simple wet brine and dry rub before cooked low and slow over applewood, these barbecue turkey drumsticks are guaranteed to impress.

smoked turkey legs electric smoker

Smoked turkey legs are a statement meat fit for any feast – not just your holiday dinner! Cooked low and slow over wood smoke in your electric smoker, these beasts are juicy and smoky, with a little dash of sweet for good measure.

Prepared in a simple wet brine the night before and seasoned with our easy BBQ dry rub, there’s flavor locked into every bite of these turkey drumsticks.

From nailing your meat preparation to finding the right smoking wood, find out how to smoke turkey legs in your electric smoker today.

Turkey Legs Explained

smoked turkey legs electric smoker

Turkey legs (or drumsticks) are skin-on and bone-in meat that’s typically enjoyed by hand. Rich in dark meat and fat, smoked turkey legs are packed full of juicy flavor and satisfying to eat right off the bone.

Turkey drumsticks are comprised of the cut running from the upper thigh to the knee of the animal. Despite their large size, leg joints are often cheaper than other turkey meats.

Times & Temperatures

We’ll be smoking these turkey legs at 275°F (135°C) until the thickest part of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) as per USDA guidance. Factors like smoker brand and meat size can impact cook time, but on average this should take about 2 hours. However, I recommend checking them at 90 minutes with a digital thermometer to see how they’re progressing.

Smoking Woods

The best smoke flavor for turkey tends to be from mild fruitwoods, like apple, pecan, or maple. These mellow smoking woods infuse the meat with added flavor without overpowering it, while still letting the natural smokey aromas shine through.

For this electric smoker recipe, we’ll be going with applewood. It’s milder than other fruitwoods, and is a good place to start if this is your first time smoking turkey legs.

If you want to be more adventurous and create something closer to the Disneyland classic, try cherrywood. It has a richer flavor profile and imparts a light red color that makes it look similar to the ham-like drumsticks served at the theme park.

Quick Tips

  1. Thaw your turkey legs fully before brining. The best way to thaw turkey legs is to leave them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to apply your wet brine. If you need a last-minute solution, place the turkey in cold water and leave to defrost for 30 minutes per pound of meat.
  2. Don’t forget to rinse each drumstick after removing it from the wet brine solution. This will stop it from being too salty and help the skin develop. After rinsing the turkey legs, pat the skins dry with paper towels.
smoked turkey legs electric smoker
smoked turkey legs electric smoker

Smoked Turkey Legs (Electric Smoker)

5 from 2 votes
The best smoked turkey legs for your electric smoker. Prepared in a simple wet brine and dry rub before cooked low and slow over applewood, these barbecue turkey drumsticks are guaranteed to impress.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Brine8 hours
Total Time10 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 turkey legs

Brine

  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves

Dry Rub

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder

Instructions

  • In the brining bucket, combine the brine ingredients. Stir until salt and sugar start to dissolve.
  • Submerge turkey legs in brine solution and place lid firmly on the bucket. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  • Fire up electric smoker to 275°F (135°C)
  • Remove turkey from brine. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Apply dry rub to turkey legs, covering all over
  • Place turkey legs on smoker grates, leaving room between each leg. Close lid and smoke until meat internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), about 2 hours.
  • Remove turkey legs from electric smoker. Tent in foil and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.


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