Photo: Alma E. Hernandez /For The Express-News
A finished batch of Fiesta style turkey legs after about four hours on the smoker.
A finished batch of Fiesta style turkey legs after about four hours…
Makes 4 servings
1½ gallons water
1 cup barbecue rub (your favorite commercial variety)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup curing salt (see Note)
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
4 jumbo turkey legs (about 1½ pounds each)
5 pounds ice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Instructions: In a large bucket or stockpot, add water, barbecue rub, sugar, curing salt, allspice, bay leaves and liquid smoke. Stir rapidly for at least 2 minutes to mix ingredients. Add turkey legs to the brine mixture, top with ice and cover the bucket. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours.
After 12 hours, take out the turkey legs and let them drain. Discard the brine. You can rinse the leg off under cold water to take off some of the salt, but it’s not necessary. Dry the legs thoroughly with paper towels.
Set up your outdoor smoker to a regular temperature of 250 degrees with your preferred wood. Hickory works well.
Lay the turkey legs directly on the grill grates. Smoke for 4-5 hours, lightly spraying with apple cider vinegar every 30 minutes after first 2 hours of cooking, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
The turkey legs should be deeply browned. Don’t be alarmed if the meat under the skin is pinkish; that’s a chemical reaction to the curing salt in the brine and the smoke.
Note: Curing salt (often labeled Prague Powder #1) is toxic in large doses and is often sold dyed pink so as not to confuse it with traditional table salt. It’s a combination of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite. It should not be confused with Himalayan pink salt.
Per leg: 798 calories, 28 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 881 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar, 85 g protein
Adapted from a recipe at traegergrills.com