Brined Turkey Thighs: A Recipe for Juicy and Flavorful Turkey (with Mustard Barbecue Sauce)

These delicious, caveman-sized Brined and Roasted Turkey Legs made with simple ingredients are a great alternative if you’re hosting a more intimate Thanksgiving feast this year and don’t want to bake an entire turkey.

Roasted turkey legs are not only delicious, but they also have a little kick from a homemade chili spice rub on the outside and are incredibly juicy and tender on the inside.

A sugar and salt brine is the secret to the most tender turkey legs. After brining, rub the spice mixture all over the turkey leg and bake it until it’s cooked through.

If you’d like, you can also use this easy turkey leg brine recipe for drumsticks, wings, or even turkey thighs and a breast.

Craving a delicious and juicy turkey meal without the hassle of cooking a whole bird? Look no further than these brined turkey thighs from Blue Flame Kitchen. This recipe is perfect for a family dinner, offering a flavorful and moist turkey experience that’s sure to impress.

Why Brine Turkey Thighs?

Brining is a technique that involves soaking meat in a salt-water solution before cooking. This process helps to:

  • Tenderize the meat: The salt breaks down the muscle fibers, making the turkey thighs more tender and juicy.
  • Add flavor: The brine infuses the turkey with additional flavor, enhancing its natural taste.
  • Retain moisture: The salt helps the turkey retain moisture during cooking, resulting in a more succulent and flavorful final product.

Blue Flame Kitchen’s Brined Turkey Thighs Recipe


  • For the brine:
    • 4 cups water
    • 1/4 cup kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 12 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3 bay leaves
  • For the turkey thighs:
    • 6 bone-in turkey thighs with skin (about 4 lb/2 kg)
    • 1 tsp sage, crumbled
    • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
    • Mustard Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)


  1. Prepare the brine: Combine water, salt, sugar, thyme, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. Brine the turkey thighs: Pour the cooled brine into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate until cold. Place the turkey thighs in a large zip-lock bag and submerge them in the brine. Seal the bag and place it in a large food-safe container. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor and tenderness.
  3. Remove the turkey thighs from the brine: Discard the brine, thyme, and bay leaves. Rinse the turkey thighs under cold running water and pat them dry.
  4. Season the turkey thighs: Combine sage, dry mustard, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the turkey thighs.
  5. Grill the turkey thighs: Preheat your grill to medium heat. Grill the turkey thighs for 15-20 minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thighs registers 180-185°F.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Serve the brined turkey thighs hot with your favorite sides and a generous drizzle of Mustard Barbecue Sauce.


  • Don’t skip the brining step: Brining is essential for achieving juicy and flavorful turkey thighs.
  • Use a meat thermometer: This is the best way to ensure that the turkey thighs are cooked through to a safe internal temperature.
  • Let the turkey thighs rest: After grilling, let the turkey thighs rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in an even more tender and flavorful result.

Mustard Barbecue Sauce Recipe


  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Discard the bay leaf.
  4. Serve the Mustard Barbecue Sauce alongside the brined turkey thighs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I brine turkey thighs?

For maximum flavor and tenderness, brine the turkey thighs for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Can I use boneless turkey thighs for this recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless turkey thighs, but the cooking time may be slightly shorter. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked through.

What sides go well with brined turkey thighs?

Mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, stuffing, and gravy are all excellent choices to accompany brined turkey thighs.

Can I make the Mustard Barbecue Sauce ahead of time?

Yes, the Mustard Barbecue Sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Additional Resources:

Enjoy this recipe for brined turkey thighs and experience the difference that brining can make!

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  • Before seasoning the dried turkey legs, brush them with a little olive oil for crispy skin.
  • Add a small pinch of onion powder, garlic powder, or black pepper to the spice mixture for a more savory taste.

STEP 3 | Preheat the oven and prepare the pan

Once the turkey legs have finished their swim in the brine, it’s time to cook! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, lightly coat a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan with cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.

How to brine Turkey Legs

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