Smoked Turkey Legs: A Delicious Guide to Smoking Turkey Legs at Home

Even if it’s not the holidays, you can still make this simple recipe for tender, juicy, and flavorful smoked turkey legs. Easily pair this dish with any side or simply enjoy it as it is. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to taste the best turkey drumsticks.

I can still remember how my first trip to Disneyland became so magical. Aside from all the fireworks, music, fanfare, and characters, the food really made my trip memorable.

Nope, the juicy smoked turkey leg that can cost a few bucks is more important than the sweets at all.

My son actually loved it so much that he wanted to go back to just buy more.

Unfortunately, it’s a long way from our house, so I had to find another way to sate his appetite. Luckily, his mom is a total foodie that can create a dish that’s close to his favorites.

I’ll walk you through the process today so you can prepare a delectable, enchanted dinner wherever you are.

While most people think that bird meat is often white, turkey legs are actually dark meat!

This is because they are often used which means leaner and more developed muscles. For those of us who adore turkey, this means that the meat is easier to season, more juicy, and more tender than other parts of the bird.

Making the perfect smoked turkey legs takes just two steps; seasoning and smoking. Both parts are important and require simple and flavor-packed ingredients.

Since I’ll also be seasoning it, I personally wouldn’t want to end up with overly salty turkey legs. Instead, I’d stick to the light seasoning.

Craving those juicy, flavorful smoked turkey legs you find at fairs and festivals? Look no further! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to smoke turkey legs like a pro right in your own backyard.

Get ready to impress your friends and family with this crowd-pleasing dish!

How Long to Smoke Turkey Legs at 300 Degrees?

The magic number for smoking turkey legs at 300 degrees is around 15 minutes per pound. However, this is just an estimate, as the actual cooking time can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The size of the turkey legs: Larger legs will take longer to cook than smaller ones.
  • The smoker you’re using: Different smokers cook at different rates.
  • The internal temperature of the turkey legs: The best way to ensure your turkey legs are cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the leg.

Here’s a quick guide to smoking turkey legs at 300 degrees:

  • For smaller legs (1-1.5 pounds): Smoke for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  • For larger legs (1.5-2 pounds): Smoke for 20-25 minutes per pound.

Remember to check the internal temperature of the turkey legs regularly to ensure they are cooked through

Tips for Smoking Turkey Legs:

  • Brine the turkey legs: Brining helps to keep the turkey legs moist and flavorful. You can find a simple brine recipe online or in most cookbooks.
  • Season the turkey legs: Season the turkey legs with your favorite rub or marinade. This will add even more flavor to the finished product.
  • Use a smoker box: A smoker box is a small metal container that you can fill with wood chips. This will help to add a smoky flavor to the turkey legs.
  • Monitor the temperature: It’s important to keep a close eye on the temperature of your smoker. The ideal temperature for smoking turkey legs is between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Let the turkey legs rest: Once the turkey legs are cooked through, let them rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and juicy turkey leg.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the turkey legs with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Pair the turkey legs with a side of mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or mac and cheese.
  • Enjoy the turkey legs as a main course or as part of a buffet.

Smoking turkey legs is a fun and easy way to prepare a delicious and impressive meal. By following the tips above, you can easily smoke turkey legs like a pro right in your own backyard. So fire up your smoker and get ready to enjoy this classic dish!

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Q: What kind of wood should I use to smoke turkey legs?

  • A: Hickory, apple, and pecan wood are all good choices for smoking turkey legs.

  • Q: Can I smoke turkey legs without a smoker?

  • A: Yes, you can smoke turkey legs on a grill using the indirect heat method.

  • Q: How do I know when the turkey legs are done?

  • A: The turkey legs are done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the leg.

  • Q: Can I smoke turkey legs ahead of time?

  • A: Yes, you can smoke turkey legs ahead of time and reheat them later. To reheat, wrap the turkey legs in foil and heat them in a 300-degree oven until warmed through.


This is a general guide for smoking turkey legs. The actual cooking time may vary depending on the factors mentioned above. It is always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey legs are cooked through.

What smoker to use?

There are a lot of smoking methods you can use to prepare for this type of meat. I tried different smokers for this recipe so you don’t have to.

Here are some of my preferred techniques for this recipe:

My Choice: Pellet Smoker


  • Unique Flavor: Smoking your turkey legs slowly will give them a deeper, more flavorful smoke.
  • Temperature control: By automatically supplying woodchips to the heating element, the smoker controls the interior temperature. This process also infuses the flavor of the wood chips into the turkey meat. (In my opinion, apple-flavored wood pairs well with turkey meat, but you can experiment.) ).
  • Indirect Heat: Since the heat source is separated from the meat in this recipe, indirect heat is used.


  • Large unit: requires a bit too much room for a single cooking technique
  • Meat Placement: Put the meats on a rack away from the source of heat. This makes sure that your meat will cook evenly. No flipping necessary.
  • Installing the water pan: To keep the smoking chamber from drying out, place a pan filled with half a cup of water inside.
  • Closing the lid will help to retain the heat and the tasty smoke.

Verdict: By far, this is the easiest way to smoke. No need for the dirty work, just check the meat from time to time! .

I, myself, use a Traeger Pellet Smoker because it’s one of the most versatile cookers in the market.


  • Compact unit – Its small size makes it truly convenient.
  • No electricity – You can enjoy your smoked turkey legs outside without having to plug it in to use electricity.
  • Low Cost: This product is incredibly affordable and incredibly simple to clean!


  • Direct heat: The meat and the heat source are in the same chamber. this may result in roasting as opposed to smoking, burning the leg on one side.

A simple compact charcoal grill can also be used for smoking.

This is the perfect smoker for you if you don’t have much space in your backyard. I’d be careful about using this tho; it’s also super easy to stain your shirt with soot.

This method uses hot charcoal which cooks the meat with low but direct heat. Flavored wood can also be used for this method to infuse your preferred smoky flavor.

  • Warm up the charcoals by positioning them on the grill’s farthest side.
  • Catch: To catch any juices that drip off the grill, place a tin catch directly beneath it.
  • Positioning: Arrange the turkey legs on the side of the grill that is the furthest away from the fire and the water pan that is next to it.
  • To begin smoking, close the lid and trap the heat.

Verdict: I like using this method though because it’s the most convenient. All I have to do is take my favorite wood flavor and use it along with charcoal.


  • No direct heat: This smoker will only use wood chips and a few heating rods rather than an open fire.
  • Its own thermometer: To determine the temperature inside the smoker, there is a built-in thermometer.


  • Extended smoking period: Due to the low maximum temperature, it cooks more slowly and for a longer period of time.
  • Electric consumption: If you use this kind of smoker, your electric bill may go up depending on your unit.
  • Tastes different: Especially if the dish is brand-new, you might detect some plastic flavor from the manufacturing process if you don’t preheat the smoker.

Food is heated by convection instead of fire, which changes the flavor of the food.

The parts are generally similar to a bullet smoker with the wood tray substituting the fire chamber.

  • Warm up the smoker by first pre-smoking it with your preferred wood chips.
  • Attach the water pan: After it reaches the appropriate temperature, put the pan in the lowest area of the appliance.
  • Positioning: Insert the turkey leg into the racks and shut the door or lid.

Verdict: Electric grills tend to cook at a lower temperature which means they would cook longer.

The beauty in cooking turkey meat is that you can play around with the temp and time. Here’s a quick guide on how long you should smoke your turkey legs. 250 F – This cooks the turkey legs a bit slower at 30 minutes per pound. Luckily one leg shouldn’t weigh more than a pound. I love low and slow-cooking because the end product is often really tender. 275 F: At this temperature, the legs cook more quickly, taking 20 to 25 minutes per pound. 300 F – Turkey, in general, should just take about 15 minutes per pound at this temperature. The quickest temperature to cook turkey meat is 325 F, which takes only 11 to 13 minutes per pound. When you use the temperatures above, consider that those are estimates for a single piece of turkey leg.

Barbecuing and smoking involve different methods of cooking meat: smoking involves using slow, indirect heat to ensure that all sides are cooked through, while roasting uses direct heat to cook the meat more quickly.

Make any normal day into a magical holiday with wonderful sides. Here are my top picks for the perfect pairings for this dish.

  • potatoes, of course! However, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes on the side completes the dish perfectly.
  • The smoky flavors of this dish are complemented by the mild flavors of rice pilaf.
  • A basic casserole of scalloped corn works well as a side dish for turkey legs. The sweetness of the casserole adds a unique flavor to the entire meal.
  • A side dish of this Homemade Gravy or Homemade Cranberry Sauce should do the trick to truly make the occasion feel festive.

Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe

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