How to Make Turkey Legs on the Grill

How to Make Turkey Legs on the Grill

How to Make Turkey Legs on the Grill? Turkey legs are one of the most delicious grilled items. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a grilled turkey. Grilled turkey adds a next level charm to every dinner table. Grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill is quite bit of a task. It is time taking, it is tricky but it yields the best dining addition.

Imagine it’s the Thanksgiving dinner tonight, and you have to grill a turkey but you don’t know how to properly grill the turkey. This article is here to help you grilling the turkey before your guests arrive. We have all the details gathered here for you in this article, which are going to help you a lot.

Turkey Meat on The Grill

Turkey meat is just meat from domesticated turkeys. There are many types of turkeys such as wild turkeys but unless you go hunting them in the wild, most often you will find only the meat of farm raised turkeys. There is a difference in taste between wild turkey and farmed turkey. It is a popular form of poultry. It has a cultural significance as well because on the occasion of thanksgiving it is a custom to cook a turkey. It is also cooked on other occasions such as Christmas. Its meat tends to be dryer than other forms of poultry such as chicken or duck. 

Why Turkey Legs on the Grill

Turkey leg is delicious, smoky, sweet, and tangy. Turkey legs tend to be less dry than the other parts of the turkey such as turkey breast. If you want to grill a turkey you would be removing a lot of water from the meat, but you want it to taste juicy and flavorful instead of being dry. So the best choice for grilling a piece of turkey is going to be turkey legs. 

How to Fire Up a Grill

Pile up the coals in a pyramid or a mound because it increases the coal-to-coal contact and help the fire spread easier. Then you can add some lighter fluid on the pile of coals and fire it up immediately. Make sure to do it immediately and be careful to not spill it in unwanted places. You should never pour lighter fluid on flaming or hot coals. Coals will be ready when they are covered in grey ash. This whole process of lighting up the grill can take up to 15 minutes.

How To Brine Turkey Legs

You need to have a certain list of ingredients for brining the turkey legs those are:

  1. 1 gallon water
  2. 1 cup kosher salt
  3. ½ cup Brown sugar
  4. 2 tablespoon Garlic powder
  5. 2 tablespoon onion powder
  6. 2 tablespoon peppercorns
  7. 1 tablespoon paprika 

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and boil them. Once they reach the boiling point then turn off the heat and bring the temperature down. Submerge the turkey legs in brining solution for 4 hours. This will make the turkey legs flavorful from the inside an it will be way more delicious when you bite into it. You can add other herbs such as Bay leaves, sage, and thyme to add more flavors. Once the time for brining is up you can take out the turkey legs from the pot and discard the brining solution. 

How To Grill Turkey Legs

Once the turkey legs are done brining you can put them on the grill. Let the turkey legs cook on the grill till the internal temperature of the legs reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius. You should be applying BBQ sauce or any other sauce of your liking onto the turkey legs as they are cooking. Otherwise, the turkey legs will start to burn from the outside before it has a chance to properly cook from the inside. You want a nice crispy skin on the outside of turkey legs instead of a deep thick char. Another important thing you should note before checking the internal temperature of a turkey leg on the grill is to probe the thermometer gently and make sure it doesn’t touch the bone inside the leg of a turkey. Otherwise, you will get a false reading on the thermometer

How to Serve Grilled Turkey Legs

Turkey legs are delicious on their own, but you need some side dishes to go along with the turkey legs to have a full course meal. You can have some mashed potatoes and mac and cheese cooked while the turkey legs are brining. You can also have some Oven baked potato wedges, Mexican street corn salad, Fresh tomato salad, Microwaved corn on the cob and sweet potato fries.

Length Of Time Required To Smoke Turkey Legs

Smoking a turkey is a long procedure, which requires a lot of time. Try starting the recipe in the morning so that it will be ready until the guests arrive for dinner.

Smoking turkey legs take almost 3 to 4 hours. And the temperature at which the grill is preheated is 225-250°F. The legs must meet an internal temperature of 170°F on the grill, this is the right internal temperature for smoking meat of turkey legs.

Kinds Of Woods

Following woods can be used in addition with charcoals to smoke turkey legs:

  • Apple wood
  • Cherry wood
  • Hickory

Apple wood is the best choice for grilling poultry. It gives a nice taste to the grilled turkey legs.

Measuring The Doneness Of Turkey Legs

Use a digital thermometer. Insert it inside the thickest part of the meat. The temperature readings should be 160 to 175°F. This temperature assures that they turkey legs are perfectly smoked.

Let the Turkey legs rest for 10-15 minutes and then serve them. If the dinner gets late and skin gets soggy, don’t worry just put the turkey legs in the oven for 5 minutes, the skin will be back crispy and crunchy.

Tips And Tricks For Good Smoking

  • Brining the turkey leg makes it extra juicy and flavourful. The meat turns tender and full of aromas.
  • If you don’t brine your turkey legs, you can baste the turkey legs with chicken stock while they are getting smoked.
  • If the skin of turkey legs get dark, cover them with aluminium foil. This way they will get smoked and not burnt.
  • Let the turkey legs rest for 10-15 minutes before transferring to serving plate.
  • You can add herbal garnishments for extra boost of flavours.


The grilled turkey legs take time but if you have followed all the instructions correctly then it will be worth every minute. This could be your best recipe for thanksgiving this year, so try it out.

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