Rotisserie Turkey Legs, Brined and Honey Garlic Basted
State fair turkey legs have always been a weakness of mine; they make me want to go to the state fair just so I can get one. I love eating food off the bone. There is something primal about eating food that comes with a built-in handle.
|Me, Ben, and a turkey leg
at Walt Disney World
*There’s something so Henry VIII about gnawing a turkey leg. I want to start giving orders to my royal subjects, and waving the drumstick like a baton while I do it. Luckily, thanksgiving dinner has passed without my shouting “off with their head!” at the dinner table. So far, at least.
I wanted to duplicate those state fair turkey legs on the rotisserie. When Shady Brook Farms invited me to participate in their Take On Turkey Challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I played with this recipe for a while*, and I think I’ve nailed it. This recipe gives me a crispy, smoky turkey leg, tender to the bone, with a sweet, garlicky, herby glaze. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.
*Much to my surprise, my family was OK with eating a lot of turkey legs. And I mean, a LOT of turkey legs. Thanks, guys!
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; the kettle is here and the rotisserie attachment is here)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill)
- Aluminum foil (to wrap the bone end of the drumsticks)
- Herb brush (3-4 sprigs of herbs, like thyme, rosemary, marjoram and/or oregano tied together, or substitute a regular basting brush)
- 6 Turkey Drumsticks
- 3 quarts water
- 1/2 cup table salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (Optional – I forgot this in the video!)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Brine the drumsticks: Put the brine ingredients in a container large enough to hold the drumsticks, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the drumsticks, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.
2. Prepare the honey baste and herb brush: Put all the baste ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute in the microwave, or until you can smell the garlic and the butter is melted. Make the herb brush by tying together the sprigs of herbs at the base of the stem to make a brush.
3. Skewer the drumsticks: Skewer the drumsticks on the spit and spit forks. Run the spit through the narrowest part of the meat, in the middle of the bone, and secure the knob of the drumstick on the spit fork. Add a second drumstick with the bone end pointing in the other direction to the same fork, the same way, with the spit through the narrow part of the meat, fork through the thick part of the drumstick. Repeat, putting two drumsticks on each spit fork. (See pictures below). Wrap the bone end of each drumstick with a small square of aluminum foil to keep it from burning. Let the skewer sit at room temperature while you prepare the grill.
4. Prepare the grill: Prepare the grill for cooking on indirect high heat (see details here). For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles.
*I highly recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters. It holds 5 quarts of charcoal, which exactly the right size for cooking this recipe.
5. Cook the turkey: Put the spit on the grill, start the rotisserie, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Using the herb brush, baste the drumsticks heavily. Cook, covered, for another five minutes. Baste the drumsticks again, and cook for a final five minutes. Remove the spit from the grill, remove the drumsticks from the spit, and let the drumsticks rest for ten minutes before serving.
*I have four forks for my spit, so theoretically I can cook up to eight legs at a time. That would be a tight fit on my kettle grill, but I think it would fit. On my monster gas grill? No problem.
*Add a hunk of smoking wood to the coals! I forgot to do that for the video, but a fist-sized chunk of hickory, oak, cherry or apple wood gives an extra layer of smoky goodness to the legs.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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