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 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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.