Ever been to a carnival? Imagine you have cotton candy in one hand and a massive turkey leg in the other? That turkey leg is delicious, smoky, sweet and tangy. If you are like me then you are double fisting two turkey legs instead… So why not make this BBQ Turkey Leg for Thanksgiving? Well, I am here to help. Try out my new BBQ Turkey Legs recipe below. Make sure to read my tips before cooking:


Post Sponsored by Cowboy Charcoal, Western BBQ Wood, and PitBarrel


bbq turkey legs resting




While the BBQ Turkey Legs take only 2.5-3 hours to cook, the biggest part of the process is the brining. I recommend at least 4 hours of brining the meat, but if you can do 12 hours or more then that is best. Overall, brining will flavor the meat throughout while helping it cook evenly. Don’t miss this step or you will be missing out on flavor!




Keeping your grill at a constant 250-275F is my recommendation. You can definitely smoke it at 225F, but I like a little more caramelization on the meat. I also highly recommend using the PitBarrel smoker for this cook. Not only does is enhance the smoky flavor of the BBQ Turkey Legs, but it is able to keep a steady and consistent temperature for cooking the turkey legs. Definitely a must have grill for the holidays.




The secret is the BBQ sauce and high quality charcoal/wood chips. I like the tanginess of the Cowboy Range Style BBQ sauce on these BBQ Turkey Legs. However, try any type of sauce that you prefer! Another key is having high quality lump charcoal and wood chips. I added some pecan wood chips to help keep the flavor sweet. Lump charcoal, like Cowboy, will make sure you have consistent heat without overpowering smokiness.



RELATED ARTICLE: Honey BBQ Spatchcock Turkey!



turkey legs cooking in the smoker



lets eat turkey legs

BBQ Turkey Legs

Smoked up some delicious and sweet BBQ Turkey legs with this recipe! Try it for Thanksgiving!
Author:Derek Wolf
4.38 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Brining Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 4 people


Turkey Ingredients

  • 4 Whole Turkey Legs
  • 3 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 3 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 3 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Cayenne Powder
  • 1 cup Range Style BBQ Sauce
  • Olive Oil

Brine Ingredients

  • 1 gallon Water
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tbsp Peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Paprika


  • In a large pot, combine all brine ingredients and let boil. Once boiling, cool down to room temperature. Rinse turkey legs and submerge in the cooled down brine. Add ice if needed. Let turkey brine from 4-24 hours.
  • When the legs are ready, pull out of brine and discard brine. Rinse and pat turkey legs dry. Lather with olive oil and season with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, cayenne powder and cumin.
  • In your smoker (I prefer my Pitbarrel), create fire using Cowboy Charcoal and Western Wood Chips. Bring up to a steady 250F. Add turkey legs to smoker and let cook for 2.5-3 hours or until internal temperature is 175F. When close to finished, pull turkey legs off and lather with Range Style BBQ Sauce. Place back on smoker for 10 minutes to carmelize.
  • Pull turkey legs off smoker, let rest for 10 minutes and enjoy!



Serving: 1Turkey Leg | Calories: 1303kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 137g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 481mg | Sodium: 29604mg | Potassium: 2462mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 970IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 314mg | Iron: 16mg



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Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

4.38 from 8 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These turkey legs were absolutely perfect. Thought we were at the fairgrounds again. Love the brine. Made a huge difference in the flavor. Thank you for the share. Keep up the great work.

  2. 5 stars
    I decided to make these on thanksgiving and I have never bbq’d turkey legs before and I do not have a smoker, just a weber grill, so I was a little hesitant I wouldn’t be able to control the temp. But I went for it and I am glad I did. This is now the best turkey leg recipe in the our solar system. I left the turkey legs in the brine for about 20 hours almost a full day, and just the smell of the brine got my mouth watering. I got the fire goin and was able to control the temp from 250 – 275 which I was good with, I left the intake vents on the bottom fully open and just used the vents on the top to control the temp, and for me it worked great. Once the legs hit 165 I slathered on the bbq sauce (I used a different kind then what was listed) then returned them back to grill for another 15 min to carnalize, and when the time came to take them off they looked just like the pic, I looked around to see if anyone else could believe what I was seeing but Nailed it!!! Needed to let these rest for a few min while everything else was getting plated and then it was time for the big reveal to the table, and pulling the foil off with the flourish of a magician, everyone’s audible gasps were both confirmation that 1..they looked amazing…and 2. We all couldn’t believe they looked and smelled amazing. Time for the 1st bit and I felt a tear escape from my eye. I t was small and I don’t think anyone else noticed but I felt it. Absolutely delicious. Every bite down to the bone was full of flavor from that brine and the spices. The meat was juicy, the spice hit perfectly! The roaring applause and “Bravo’s” was thanks enough on this Thanksgiving 🙂 Do not deny yourself the best Turkey Leg you will ever have.