Smoked Turkey Legs with Gravy are one of the best ways to enjoy turkey this holiday season. 

This turkey recipe will give you some of the juiciest, flavor packed turkey you’v ever had. They’re brined overnight giving the meat a ton of flavor with fresh herbs. 

Be sure to give this easy recipe a try for your thanksgiving dinner. You can also check out my deep fried cajun recipe with Alabama white sauce if you’re looking to spice things up!

Ingredients you will need

Meat: Turkey legs

Brine: Water, kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion, lemon, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, black peppercorn, smoked paprika 

Gravy: Condensed chicken or turkey stock, butter, garlic, shallot, thyme, flour, salt and black pepper 

Seasoning: Your favorite BBQ rub or poultry dry rub

How to make Smoked Turkey Legs with Gravy

Brine the turkey legs

Combine all of the brine ingredients together in the recipe card into a large pot.

turkey brine ingredients
Photos from this recipe are from Brittany Scott (Instagram: @the_salted_bite)

Place the pot over high high and bring the pot to a boil, then remove from heat and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes. 

cooled down turkey brine

Place the turkey legs in a food safe container then add a dozen ice cubes and pour the brine overtop of the turkey legs. Put the container in the fridge for 12-18 hours to let it brine. If you have a syringe, you can inject the meat with the brine to speed up the process.

Note: you can also use this brine recipe for a turkey breast, turkey wings or a whole bird.

turkey brine

Smoking the turkey legs

Preheat the smoker to 250° F using apple wood for a sweet smoky flavor. Pecan, maple and cherry are other great smoke flavor options for turkey. I sued a pellet smoker for this recipe because they tend to result in super juicy poultry every time. A charcoal grill will put off more smoke flavor, just be sure to keep a close eye on the grill for a consistent temperature. 

Remove the turkey legs from the brine then rinse them off under fresh water. This will help reduce the saltiness from the brine.

Pat them dry with a paper towel then Insert the MEATER Plus meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey leg to monitor the internal temperature during the cook. I am targeting to pull the rules leg off once the internal temperature reaches 170° F. Turkey legs consist of dark meat which means they tend to take a little longer than the lighter meat.

Drizzle olive oil on each leg and season the outside of each turkey leg with your favorite BBQ rub. I would recommend using a rub that is lighter in salt.

seasoned smoked turkey leg

Place the turkey legs on the preheated smoker for 40 minutes. Make sure the turkey legs are indirect of the heat to ensure that you will have tender juicy turkey.

turkey legs on the smoker

Serving the turkey legs

Since there will not be any turkey drippings to make a turkey gravy, I used my own easy homemade gravy recipe. In a small saucepan over medium heat,  melt 4 tbsp of unsalted butter then add in diced shallot, minced garlic and thyme then let it cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in 4 tbsp of flour, then slowly pour in 2 cups of condensed chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and remove once thickened. 

Once the turkey legs reach an internal temperature of 150° F, increase the cooking temperature to a medium-high heat of 350° F. Cook them over the higher temperature for an additional 15 minutes to help crisp up the turkey skin. 

Remove the turkey legs once the internal temperature reaches 170° F. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving them up with homemade gravy.

smoked turkey legs with gravy

Smoked turkey legs are delicious the next day, but they’re also a great way to meal prep for the week. Just smoke the turkey legs then store them in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Need a side dish to serve with the smoked turkey legs?

Be sure to check out some of my favorite side dishes below. 

Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts – Bacon makes everything better, and that includes brussels sprouts! These delicious vegetables are served with crispy bacon, gooey dates topped with a balsamic glaze reduction for the best bite around. 

Smoked Mac & Cheese – Mac & cheese is one of the most icon side dishes around. My smoked version of this recipe will quickly become the only way you’ll ever want to eat it again. 

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Smoked turkey legs with gravy

Smoked Turkey Legs with Gravy

Smoked Turkey Legs with Gravy is one of the best way to enjoy turkey. Juicy, smoked turkey dipped in a flavor packed gravy for the perfect bite!  

  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 turkey legs 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 turkey legs
  • 3 tbsp of BBQ rub
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

For the brine

  • 8 cups water 
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 quartered onion
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns 
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 rosemary sprig 
  • 1 thyme sprig

For the gravy

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 cups condensed chicken or turkey stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together for the brine in a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then remove from heat and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Place the turkey legs in a food safe container then add a dozen ice cubes and pour the brine overtop of the turkey legs. Place the container in the fridge for 12-18 hours to let it brine. If you have a syringe, you can inject the meat with the brine to speed up the process.
  3. Preheat the smoker to 250° F using apple wood pellets for a sweet smoky flavor. 
  4. Remove the turkey legs from the brine then rinse them off with fresh water. 
  5. Pat them dry with a paper towel then season each turkey leg with your favorite BBQ rub.
  6. Insert the MEATER Plus into the deepest part of the turkey leg to monitor the internal temperature during the cook.  Place the turkey legs on the smoker for 40 minutes.
  7. Make the homemade gravy:  melt 4 tbsp of unsalted butter then add in diced shallot, minced garlic and thyme then let it cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in 4 tbsp of flour, then slowly pour in 2 cups of condensed chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and remove once thickened.
  8. Increase the cooking temperature to 350°F for an additional 15 minutes to help crisp up the turkey skin. 
  9. Remove from the smoker once the internal temperature reaches 170°F.
  10. Serve with homemade gravy and enjoy!
  • Author: Nick Nesgoda
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes

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