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May 24, 2007 08:46 AM

Smoked Turkey Legs - Help ? [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

I recently purchased some Smoked Turkey Legs at a Walmart Grocery Store..I thought they were already cooked and just needed to be heated, Wrong !! I want to make them on my grill and it says on the package that I should boil them first. It just doesn't sound like the right thing to do before grilling them. I am not into losing all that smokey salty flavor, any suggestions ??

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  1. I've never tried cooking smoked turkey legs on the grill. My understanding is that they are often used as a replacement for ham hocks, and that's the only way I've ever used them- in simmered greens and in soups. The smoky saltiness gave great flavor to the pot likker and broth, respectively.

    1. Never seen the pre-smoked turkey legs at WalMart but I have smoked my own numerous times. I am going to guess that these are kinda safe to grill, but to be sure try and get more info. Are these in the "meat counter" packaging? If so they have gotten the wrong label info printed on them. If they are in some kind of "factory package" with printed ingredients such is the "boil" a suggestion or something else (like to "reheat this whole pouch may be boiled")? Are there ingredients listed suggesting these were chemically cured, like sausage?

      When I home smoke turkey legs I start with raw and basically give em the same kind of treatment I'd give pork. For leftovers I can reheat in foil on the grill or in an appropriate oven.

      Boiling and then grilling sounds like a major mistake.

      More info might help...

      1 Reply
      1. re: renov8r

        I bought pre packed smoked turkey legs from my local grocery store. Not sure how to cook them in the oven so they are fall off the bone delicious. I assume they are going to be very salty. Should I rinse first? Should I season them with any kind of rub or just leave them alone? What temperature and how long would you cook them?

        I was thinking of maybe rubbing them with a mix of brown sugar and cayenne to kind fo tone down the saltiness. then put then in a roasting pan with a little water in the bottom to steam them to keep drying out. I was thinking low and slow- 250 for 2 hrs?

      2. I use smoked turkey parts all the time...they are smoked but not cooked so you'd have to do that prior to putting them on the grill. You can add them to a baking dish with a little water and bake them (I cook them @ 350F. degrees) for 1 1/2 hours or so...You can also put them in a pressure cooker for about 15-20 minutes, crock pot them if you have one that can fit the legs for about six hours (8 hours would work also) or braise on the stovetop until nearly fork tender.

        After this step, they'll be good to go on the grill. If you cook them in any liquid, save it to season beans, greens or to make a point in throwing away that smoky goodness...

        EDIT: I didnt realize this post was so old but since I posted it already, perhaps the advice will benefit someone else.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cherylptw

          Yes, thank you! I have a couple of packages of raw, unseasoned turkey legs. I will preccok them in the pressure cooker maybe with a little liquid smoke and other seasonings, then smoke them outdoors in my smoker. Maybe I'll hit them with a little bbq glaze finish in the oven at the end depending on how they look. Thanks for the answer to my "parboil" question I searched for.; Google brought me here. :-)

          1. re: jilkat25

            jilkat25....if you have a smoker why aren't you just going to smoke the legs on low temperature....250-degrees for at least 3 hours and they will be cooked and falling off the bone.

            1. re: Deborah

              Oops! So sorry I am just now looking back at the site-been very busy. Well, I did end up just putting them in the smoker. I marinated them overnight in a brine with salt, cider vinegar, fresh orange juice, sugar in the raw, a few drops of mesquite smoke distillate, some other flavorings (ginger, onion powder...), all of which were fairly bland to my taste, but I didn't want to hear my husband gripe about the turkey being salty. I only made eight (one package) and froze the other eight so as to be able to correct any shortcomings I tasted in this first batch. I put some basic ancho chili, cayenne, sugar, salt dry rub on them, then smoked them, as I recall, for about three hours at 220. I dolled up some bottled BBQ sauce, dunked 'em in it, and tightened them up with this "glaze" on them in the oven at about 300 for maybe 20 minutes. I checked them to be sure they were fully cooked, covered them in foil, and left them resting on the stove while I got the rest of dinner ready. I actually didn't taste them myself that night, but my family said they were really good, and the daughter who had requested them thought they were "awesome." They only saved one for me which I ate for lunch the next day. It was pretty good, actually better than I expected it to be-I'm not a big fan of smoked turkey legs (a little too "paleolithic" for me). I still think even 5 or 10 mins in the pressure cooker would have plumped them up before smoking. Next time I might also add some hickory wood chips to the smoker to increase the BBQ flavor without having to extend the cooking time (and drying them out.) I started with mesquite and apple-wood chips in the first hour, then switched to straight apple-wood for the remaining time. In my experience, mesquite tends to become bitter after a couple of hours, so I use it rather timidly on anything other than chicken pieces, ribs, fish, or other quick-smoking items. I decided turkey legs would get done at the outside of my time-frame, but now I think they probably needed a little more smoke. Next time I'll add the hickory and also set up an auxiliary smoke maze in the upper part of the smoker and close the (top) damper almost all the way to give them some serious smoke. Oh, the other thing I did was "pin" the skins up over the meat with toothpicks. The skins on the raw legs had shrunk back after being brined, and since I wasn't wrapping them in foil before putting them in the smoker, I worried the drumsticks would dry out. I know they would have tasted smokier if I had left the meat uncovered (with the skins drawn back), but the surface of the meat might have also become too desiccated (and, therefore, even harder to gnaw off those bones), even at 220. I don't know...Maybe I was completely over-thinking this meal...I had never smoked turkey legs before and I just didn't want to mess them up where they'd be impossible to eat (and end up having to cook something else that night.) Thanks for the advice!

        2. So I bought a package of smoked turkey legs today and dug up this thread. I wish the OP had reported back with his results. I'm wondering if these smoked turkey legs are like the kind you get at fairs and amusement parks - as in they are fully cooked and just need reheating - or more like a ham hock in that they need to be simmered in a large volume of water. Does anyone have experience with these things?

          1 Reply
          1. re: joonjoon

            The smoked turkey legs are uncooked and should be cooked in a large pot of water. They are best used for cooking greens and pinto beans. I cut up onions season the smoked turkey with a little garlic powder and pepper, add a little bit of oil and a little bit of vinegar and about 6 to 8 cups of water and I cook it for about an hour and a half to two hours by bringing it to a boil first and then covering the pan and simmer. Once done I remove the meat and then cook the greens or beans in the juice that the meat cooked in and I don't add any more water just a little bit more seasonings and onions. I add the meat back to the greens/ beans around the last 20 minutes of cook time. I hope this helps, I am just now seeing this post.