Some of the fondest memories I have from my college days are those special weekends when my parents would come down to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo for a visit. Reunited with my family, we would head down to the Thursday afternoon farmers’ market in charming downtown SLO. Without fail, my father would immediately make a bee-line to his favorite booth – slow cooked turkey legs, lined up in rows on the BBQ for everyone to see as they passed by. I swear at times I would see grown men salivate, tugging on their wives’ sleeves as though they were kids, begging for them to stop and get one. I still have images of my father, standing curbside, anticipating that first bite. He would stand there with this huge, primal piece of BBQ’d flesh and bone in his hand, happy as a kid, and my mother and I would giggle and enjoy watching him devour the thing.
Growing up, people called my dad T-bone. This was his nickname and the name of his fishing boat, fitting for a butcher of 33 years. He even had painted on the side of his boat a T-bone steak caricature holding a fishing pole, anticipating his next big catch! When I was a kid, I saw this T-bone character as my superhero – strong, hard working, stopping at nothing that passes its way, the same way I also looked at my father.
So for this Father’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to my “daddio,” and to teach you all how to make delicious, slow-grilled turkey legs, featuring the Bull Large Easy Fill Smoker Box. This is the perfect gift for all the BBQ-loving fathers out there! It will take their BBQ experience to the next level not only in flavor, but in fun too! The choices are endless when selecting wood chips or pellets. Some of my favorites are hickory, apple, cherry, and whiskey wood chips. I did say fun, didn’t I?
This recipe is perfect for the grilling season and for Father’s Day. It is inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat and steaks, not to mention it is dark meat, which is a plus in my father’s eyes. Turkey can often disappoint due to its size and blandness, making it an intimidating dish for some. With the combination of grilling low and slow, and the savory, thick smoke from the smoker box and wood chips, these smoked turkey legs will become a show-stopper for your party!
Tips from the Chef when using the Bull Smoker Box:
- I recommend to soak the wood chips for at least 30 minutes prior to use. If not, you take the risk of the wood chips igniting and burning too fast. By soaking them, the wood chips will release a savory thick smoke and will last much longer. I use a plate to weigh down any of the pieces that are floating on the surface. Fill the smoker box as full as you can, making sure you can still place the lid on top.
- Once the soaked chips are ready, it is as easy as placing them into the smoker box and then in between the two burners on one side of the grill. After that, just turn the burners on. The nice v-shape at the bottom of the smoker box makes it an easy fit between the two burners. Watch this great video on how to use the Bull BBQ v-shaped smoker box to get you started. Note: this smoker box is half the size of the one we are using in today’s recipe, but essentially the exact same process, but with more wood chips. I am also adding a container of water to help keep the turkey legs moist and from drying out.
- Turn on both burners to high to get the wood chips going. This may take a good 10-15 minutes. Once they are going, turn one of them off and the other down to medium-high heat.
- For this recipe we should only be cooking the legs for about 1.5 to 2 hours, until clear juices flow from the turkey leg or until the digital thermometer reaches 165 degrees. If you are cooking a larger roast that needs longer to cook, you will need to add more soaked wood chips to the smoker box and repeat the steps above.
- Important: Keep the lid closed as much as possible! With the lid closed, no smoke can escape, therefore more flavor enhances the food. Every time you open the lid, all the smoke, not to mention heat, will escape and therefore the meat takes longer to cook. Opening the lid also jeopardizes losing the maximum smoke flavor into the food. I find using a remote roasting thermometer helps out tremendously, especially when cooking low and slow, with indirect heat. You will always have the current internal cooking temp of the meat in your hand without having to open the lid and letting all the smoke and air out. Using this type of thermometer is as I call it, fool proof.
- For this recipe I am following the KIS (keep it simple) rule and will use olive oil, salt and pepper. However, to enhance the flavor of the turkey legs, you could put them in a brining solution overnight before grilling or towards the end of grilling them, basting with a flavorful bbq or marinade of choice.
- 4 each turkey drumsticks
- 4 ounces olive oil
- Kosher Salt and pepper
- Coat each turkey leg with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Follow the tips from the chef along with the video to get your smoker box set up and ready to go.
- On the other side of the grill, place the turkey legs next to the smoker box to cook using indirect heat.
- Place the remote cooking thermometer into the thickest and largest part of the turkey leg, making sure not to hit the bone.
- Cooking time will depend on how hot your grill temperature is and the size of the turkey legs. The turkey legs I used in this recipe were smaller, so it took around 1.5 hours total cooking until clear juices ran out and the internal temperature of the turkey leg reached 165 degrees. If you desire more color on the legs, you can even turn on the heat (direct cooking) to get a little more color on the turkey skin if desired.
- Note that the legs will continue to carry over cook a bit after you take them off the grill.
- To plate, place the beautiful turkey legs on butcher paper on a sheet tray for that primal feel and it will surely get your guests hungry for more!
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
♥ Chef Amy