How To Smoke Turkey Legs On A Charcoal Grill

How To Smoke Turkey Legs On A Charcoal Grill

How To Smoke Turkey Legs On A Charcoal 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. So let’s start and see what will be the ingredients for Grilled Turkey, what are the steps to grill a turkey and what are the important tips and tricks.

How To Smoke Turkey Legs

The first step to smoke a turkey leg is its preparation. After it is prepared following steps are done to smoke turkey legs.

Brining The Turkey Legs For Smoking

For brining, add a cup of warm water in a zip lock bag and then add kosher salt ( half cup), dark brown sugar (half cup), dried pepper flakes (1 tablespoon), dried sage (1 tablespoon), fresh thyme (1 bunch), Garlic cloves (2 pieces).

Mix all of these ingredients and add turkey legs in the bag. Leave it for brining overnight in the refrigerator. Next morning, take the brined turkey out of the refrigerator and wash the turkey with tap water. Discard the mix, which was used to brine the turkey.

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. Also, 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. 

Preparation Of Charcoal Grill For Smoking Turkey Legs

For preparation of charcoal grill, take a pack full of charcoals and heat them over fire for some time, until they turn ashy on the outside. Place them under one side of the grill and place a pan filled with water over the grill. Place the turkey on the other side of the grill, with a dripping pan placed underneath the grills. How To Smoke Turkey Legs On A Charcoal Grill?

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 Used To Smoke Turkey Legs

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. How To Smoke Turkey Legs On A Charcoal Grill?

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 Of Turkey Legs

  • 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.


Turkey legs require a lot of tips to get smoked in the best way. Maintenance of right temperature is a key factor for smoking the turkey legs. Keep an eye on the charcoal grill, while smoking turkey legs and keep changing the sides so that legs get evenly cooked without any side getting burnt.

There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.