Barbecue,  Game Day,  Grilling,  Kids,  Sauce,  Smoker

Smoked Turkey Legs with Whiskey Glaze

I think, I really do think, that my kids are now starting to explore and try new foods. That is music to my ears, and as I take mental notes of what they are starting to try, whether that be a new sauce, vegetable, or heck, even a mixture of the two, I continue to think what I can continue to do to keep them interested in exploring more of my recipes. I have been roasting whole chickens lately, and believe that I have mastered my own recipe, and as I serve the crispy thing on the table, my kids immediately call it out, ‘I want the wings!’, or ‘I get the drumsticks!’. So as I caught on to the fact that they all love something on the bone, I decided to give them something new, and something they have never seen, outside of a Thanksgiving day turkey.

Turkey legs. I saw them at the local store, and they were on sale. One to a pack. At first sight, I was kind of laughing to myself and did not really care if anyone saw that, and I knew that my kids would get a kick out of them.

Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe

If you think about it, the turkey leg is a huge hit at most state fairs, or even better, Disney World. While growing up, I got excited when I saw these caveman style turkey legs at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. There was always something about getting one of these giant legs, walking around and nibbling on them for quite some time. But, there was nothing special about them. They were roasted, seasoned lightly, and that was about it. My take on these turkey legs just changed, and my kids, well, they loved them!

As I have been cooking with beer for the last couple of months, I decided to twist it up a little bit when I began thinking of what I was going to do with these turkey legs. Heck, why not use some booze, right? For some odd reason I have a bottle of Jack Daniels in my bar. I’m not a fan of Jack Daniels, nor do I ever drink the stuff, but I have it, and now I know why. It is because I was going to use this whiskey to really bring some life to the turkey leg. Enough said, let’s get started.

Ingredients for injection:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of whiskey
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for Smoked Turkey Legs:

  • 2 turkey legs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 cup of whiskey
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • Pecan wood chunks, soaked in water for 4 hours

Normally I would brine something like this, but as I was not going to do a whole turkey, I decided to use an injector. If you do not have an injector, get one. They are awesome.

Begin by melting the butter to a sauce pan, and add in the stock, salt, and whiskey.  Bring to a boil, then take off of the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Go heat your coals for your smoker.

Once the mixture has come to room temperature, take your injector and draw back the stock mixture and begin injecting it in various areas within the turkey leg. Be generous on both legs. Let these sit at room temperature while you get your smoker ready.

Once your coals are heated for the smoker, add the wood chunks. Place your turkey legs onto the smoker, cover, and let them get hit with the smoke for at least two hours, on low heat.

Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe

Transfer the turkey legs to a preheated, 325 degree oven. Place the turkey legs onto a roasting pan, and cook for one hour, turning after 30 minutes.

While the turkey legs are roasting in the oven, make the glazing sauce.

To a sauce pan, add in the honey, whiskey, ketchup, salt, pepper, ketchup, and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat, and set aside.

After the turkey has cooked in the oven, turn up the heat to 400 degrees. Begin brushing on the glaze, cooking for the first 10 minutes. After the first ten minutes, flip the legs over, and generously glaze once again, returning back to the oven for another ten minutes. On the final turn, glaze once again and cook for another ten minutes.

Remove the legs from the oven, and let them rest for a few minutes. If you want, brush any remaining glaze onto the legs just before serving.

To serve, just grab those legs, using the bone as your handle. Dig in, get messy, and take on the delicious whiskey flavor. You get tender, smokey meat, with a subtle hit of the whiskey glaze. My kids could not stop eating it, and I could not have been happier watching them eat their very first turkey leg.

Give it a shot. You will be happy that you did.


  • chip

    Soooooooooo Mr Dax. Let me get this straight – you have been cooking whole chickens lately, presumably in beer, and you have been happy that your kids are enjoying exploring new foods? Then you up the ante and break out the JD and smoke some turkey legs and they go nuts over them. Am I getting this right? Dax, the boys aren’t enjoying the food, they are becoming true Wisconsinites! haha, just found this blog while looking for a Raspberry sauce recipe and have been laughing for the past hour and half. You sir are hilarious! Great writing, great recipes, and get those boys to treatment!

  • Jeff

    Wow, this looks amazing. It’s 7:46am and I am ready for some Smoked Turkey Legs with Whiskey Glaze for breakfast. Last summer I got a smoker for my birthday and it has been the gift of joy.

    Thank you for sharing your delicious food with us.


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