Smoked Turkey Legs + Video

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Smoked Turkey Legs are popular at theme parks and festivals. But once you see how easy it is to smoke a turkey leg at home, you’ll never want to pay those prices again! Use this smoked turkey leg recipe to make tender, juicy turkey drumsticks on any type of smoker.

titled: Smoked Turkey Legs


Smoked Turkey Legs

Whether you’re serving the whole leg or using it in your favorite soups or casseroles, smoked turkey drumsticks are easy to make in your smoker.

So, if you cannot get to the fair to buy your favorite turkey leg, you can easily make them at home.

I had no idea how versatile a smoker is until I started using one — and now I am hooked!

Recipe Video

To see us make this smoked turkey legs recipe from start to finish, watch the video in this post!

There are so many easy smoker recipes I can make year-round, that it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to cook.

This Juicy Smoked Meatloaf is better than any other meatloaf you may have eaten. It’s juicy on the inside with a crispy exterior and a sweet and smoky flavor.

Smoked chicken quarters are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside.

And making a smoked baked potato is one of the easiest smoker recipes around!

uncooked turkey legs on sheet pan with seasonings

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Turkey Legs

Unlike chicken, these consist of two parts: the thigh and the drumstick. The jumbo-size drumsticks come from very large turkeys.

Depending on the size, turkey legs can be very high in calories and fat. Removing the skin will help reduce the fat content.

I personally prefer to keep the skin on for smoked turkey leg. It gets deliciously crispy when cooked!

  • Dry Rub Seasonings

I use dry rub seasonings for smoked turkey leg drumsticks because I love the flavor. And, one of my favorite spices to use is New Mexico Chili Powder.

If you cannot find New Mexico chili powder in your area, you can use cayenne pepper or traditional chili powder instead.

Combined with a base of staples like onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, you get a savory flavor combination that’s perfect for this smoked turkey legs recipe!

If you’d like a dry rub that isn’t as spicy, you can try a mixture of brown sugar and smoked paprika.

Or, I’ve heard that Old Bay seasoning makes a delicious dry rub for poultry.

turkey legs coated with dry rub on sheet pan

Time and Temperature to Smoke a Turkey Leg

To make this smoked turkey leg recipe, you will need to preheat your smoker to 250°F.

Cook for about two to two and a half hours, depending on the size. It’s best to test doneness with a digital meat thermometer.

Insert it into the thickest part of the drumstick, avoiding the bone. Poultry is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temp of 165°F.

turkey legs on smoker grate

Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe FAQ

What flavor wood chips are best for smoked turkey legs?

If you enjoy a smokey flavor when you eat meat, you should try hickory or mesquite wood chips in your smoker.

But, if you want a more subtle taste, a fruitwood chip like apple or even cherry would be a delicious option for your smoked turkey leg.

Is it necessary to brine turkey before smoking it?

Many people do this to help keep the meat moist while it’s cooking. However, this really only applies when smoking a whole turkey — and even then, I find it to be optional.

Smoked turkey legs come out just as moist and flavorful without a brine, thanks to the low-and-slow cooking process.

Can I use this smoked turkey leg recipe for chicken drumsticks?

The process you use to smoke chicken and turkey is basically the same. But, you won’t want to cook your smaller chicken legs for the same amount of time you smoke a turkey leg.

Instead, you will need to preheat your smoker to 225°F rather than 250°F. Then, smoke your chicken drumsticks for about an hour.

Cook all poultry until a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of at least 163°F. But, for extra tender meat that falls easily off of the bone, smoke the meat until it reaches 180°F.

Be sure to allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes after removing it from the smoker. It helps the juices redistribute so they end up in your mouth and not on your plate!

smoking turkey legs

Serving Suggestions

Smoked turkey legs pair well with any summer salad recipe or vegetable side dish. And you can always serve them with mashed potatoes and green beans!

closeup: stacked turkey legs with bite taken out of top drumstick

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closeup: seasoned turkey leg with crispy skin

smoked turkey legs, close up

Smoked Turkey Legs + Video

Donna Elick
Smoked Turkey Legs are easier to make than you might think! Use this recipe for incredibly tender, juicy, fair-style turkey drumsticks!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 38 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 4



  • 4 turkey legs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico Chile powder


  • Preheat the smoker to 250°F. Place the turkey legs on a sheet tray, gently loosen the skin from the meat by running your fingers under the skin, set aside.
  • In a small bowl mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and chile powder. Rub the turkey legs all over with the mixture, getting under the skin. Place the skin back to its original shape.
  • Once the smoker is to temp, about 15 minutes, place the turkey legs directly on the grates. Smoke for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F. I like to smoke them until the internal temperature reaches 180°F as I tend to find the meat more tender. Let cool slightly and serve!



Serving: 1 | Calories: 1001cal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 133g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 481mg | Sodium: 1384mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 12mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): smoked turkey legs

Originally published September 2020, updated and republished October 2023

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This was totally worth the 2 hours. These were so easy to prep and throw in the smoker. I made them for about 12 people and they all loved them!

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