Sooo…. I finally got my smoker! Before moving to Sydney I had a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, which I unfortunately had to leave behind. For the last 6 months I’ve been doing market research trying to find a better smoker, but eventually I am back with my trusty “R2D2”, as my two little “Star Wars” fans named it.
Today I am going to talk about one of those recipes demonstrating how the basic techniques make an amazing outcome. Turkey legs are among the cheapest cuts of meat you can get, but, cooked right, will become a real treat!
Turkey meat is known to be quite lean, so without additional moisture it’ll dry out pretty quick and will resemble a jerky rather than anything else. So we are going to brine the legs for about 12 hours, in order to make sure there’s enough moisture in the meat it won’t dry out during the smoking process.
- 4 turkey drumsticks, bone in, skin on
- 2 tbsp barbecue dry rub (mine, from here, or any commercial brand you like)
- 6 tbsp coarse (or kosher) salt
- 10 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp whole allspice berries
- 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, whole
- 1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
- 3 quarts (~ 3 liters) water
First we make a brine. To make the allspice and the cumin seeds more fragrant I strongly recommend to toast them couple of minutes in a dry frying pan. Then mix 1 quart (liter) of water in a medium saucepan with sugar, allspice, peppercorns, cumin seeds and salt and heat until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the remaining water and refrigerate until very cold.
Take a 1 gallon size ziplock bag (or simply a dish big enough), place the turkey legs in it and carefully pour the brine over, then throw in the lemon slices. Press the air out, zip the bag shut and brine overnight in a refrigerator.
Next day, when ready to cook, set up your cooker for a low & slow smoking on 225F (108C). When smoking poultry I prefer using fruit woods, like apple, peach etc, mixing it with cherry wood for the lovely mahogany color.
So, cooker is ready, in go the turkey legs. Close the lid and leave them for at least 3 hours – internal temperature should reach 80C minimum. Once ready, remove from the smoker, cover loosely with foil and let rest 15-20 minutes before cutting.