How to Cook Turkey Legs on the Grill

by Jeffrey Brian Airman

Items you will need

  • 2 qt. filtered water
  • Stockpot
  • Stove
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Wooden spoon
  • 3 qt. ice
  • 6 qt. capacity food-safe plastic container with lid
  • 2 turkey legs
  • Paper towels
  • Hardwood chunks
  • Running water
  • Small aluminum pan
  • Gas or charcoal grill
  • 4 tbsp. dry seasoning rub
  • Grill tongs
  • 8 tbsp. barbecue sauce or seasoned basting liquid
  • Basting brush
  • Meat thermometer
  • Cutting board

Cook turkey legs to a juicy golden brown by adding flavor at every step. Turkey legs, or drumsticks, have large pieces of dark rich meat centered on a large bone and covered in skin. Introduce your favorite flavors with a salty-sweet brine, spiced dry rub, seasoned baste and your choice of hardwood smoke. Grilling the drumsticks slowly with indirect heat will cook the meat through without burning the surface.

Step 1

Bring filtered water to a rapid boil in a large stockpot on your stove before removing it from the heat.

Step 2

Stir the salt and brown sugar into the hot water with a wooden spoon and let the mixture cool for 1 hour.

Step 3

Pour the ice into a large food-safe plastic container and add the cooled brine and turkey legs.

Step 4

Seal the lid of the container tightly and keep it in the refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.

Step 5

Remove the drumsticks from the brine and pat them completely dry with paper towel.

Step 6

Soak your favorite hardwood chunks in water in a shallow aluminum pan for at least 1 hour. Soaked wood chunks will smolder longer and produce thicker smoke.

Step 7

Heat the grill so there is a cool section and a hot section. Separate the hot coals of charcoal grills so there is an empty space or leave one set of burners off on a gas grill.

Step 8

Pour off the excess water and place the aluminum pan holding the hardwood chunks directly over the heat source in the hottest part of the grill.

Step 9

Apply the dry seasoning rub to the entire surface of both turkey legs.

Step 10

Set the drumsticks on the cool side of the grill and close the lid. Closed-lid grilling traps heat and steam for faster cooking and a moister product.

Step 11

Turn the turkey legs with grill tongs every 10 minutes as you baste them with your favorite barbecue sauce or seasoned basting liquid.

Step 12

Check the internal temperature of the turkey by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.

Step 13

Remove the turkey legs to a cutting board for a 5-minute rest when they have reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.