With Thanksgiving only weeks away, I couldn’t be more excited to share one of my very favorite holiday recipes & perfect alternative to the classic stuffed, dry roasted, flavorless, cardboard-tasting, over-baked bird in the oven.
As I mentally prepare for a feast & lay this turkey to flame, I prefer to imagine myself as a Knight of the Round Table, spinning yarns of battle, rejoicing in fellowship of my kinsmen, singing songs of the land, dancing about with fair maidens galore, consuming goblets of brewski, & recklessly devouring one handful after another of these gargantuan, bad2bone, mouth-watering grilled turkey legs!
OK. OK. I think you get the idea. Before my imagination runs upon a wild tangent of which I shall not recover… allow me to indulge for a moment upon this slice of Thanksgiving Heaven.
First & foremost, this fool-proof recipe is both mouth-wateringly delicious (needless to say, as it would not be posted to this blog otherwise) & a huge time-saver when comparing against the traditional roast bird, which consumes upto 24 hours in brine & minimum 8-10 hours in prep / cooking (1. 34hrs to cook a bird is a shit-ton of time. 2. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 3. If you do got time for that… consider getting a job or volunteering for the needy, then making this recipe (ie. Win/Win)). Following brine, these legs will be from grill grates to guests plates in LESS THAN 2HOURS – Providing ample opportunity for maximum time allocation to partaking in song, dance, & beverage consumption amongst kinsman!
That said, this recipe starts with a traditional brine, soaking the turkey in a solution of salt, water & sugar. After brining, the savory dry rub is liberally applied & the turkey is brought to fire where it is seared over intense direct heat of the grill’s hottest grates. Then, the bird legs are set to rest upon alder planks, over indirect heat, where in the final minutes of grilling a honey glaze is applied, caramelizing over the crisp exterior skin, encasing the tender dark meat just below the surface. This sweet honey glaze brings full-circle the natural juicy, salty & smoky flavors of the turkey, with the bold, coarse & spicy seasonings of the dry rub. Absolutely. Incredible.
Indulgence upon delectable nature of this recipe, complete.
Now, do the right thing. Grab those bird legs & get to your grill – It’s time to deliver a holiday meal your loved ones won’t soon forget! Until then, may this Thanksgiving find you rich in blessings & gratitude, poor in misfortune, & surrounded by family, friends & those you love the most! To you & yours, Cheers!
Honey and Spice Grilled Turkey Legs
- 4 turkey legs
- 2-4 alder wood planks soaked in water approximately 20-30minutes
- Simple Brine
- 1/4 cup table salt
- 1/4 sugar
- 3 cups warm water
- Turkey Dry Rub
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for basting
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoons ground allspice
- 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Honey Glaze
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup lite brown sugar
- To create the brine, dissolve the salt and sugar into the water. Mix thoroughly and then let the brine cool to room temperature.
- Immerse the turkey legs in brine, cover container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
- Remove the turkey legs from the brine, thoroughly rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Discard brine.
- Place the legs back in the refrigerator for one hour, uncovered, to additionally dry and tighten the skin.
- Pulse the olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, allspice, cumin, salt and pepper in a food processor to create the rub. Set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and honey. Set aside.
- Preheat the grill to medium, 300-400 degrees, using indirect cooking (one side of the grill off).
- Liberally massage the dry rub into the turkey and allow 20 minutes for the turkey to rest at room temperature before taking to the grill.
- Over direct heat, sear the turkey legs for 3-4 minutes per quarter turn.
- Lay the alder wood planks over indirect heat, then place turkey legs over the planks and baste intermittently with oil.
- Grill turkey over planks for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees.
- In last 15 minutes of grilling brush the brown sugar-honey mixture over the legs.
- Remove from the grill and place under a tin foil tent for five minutes. The internal temperature of the legs will rise to a serving temperature of 180 degrees.
- Lightly brush with additional honey, season to taste, plate, and serve immediately.