Let's face it – turkey drumsticks and wings are often tough as nails. While you can get plenty of good meat from a turkey leg if you cook it slowly and pull the meat off the bone, the wings are pretty worthless – unless you try this recipe out. The idea here is to smoke the hell out of turkey wings or legs and use them like a ham hock for flavoring beans, broth, stewed greens or soup. In that capacity, they perform exceptionally well and are worth your time.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5-8 hours
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon Insta Cure No. 1 (curing salt you can get online or at a butcher shop)
- 4-8 turkey legs or wings, separated into drumettes and tips
- Mix together the kosher salt, sugar, garlic powder, thyme, juniper and curing salt. Massage the mixture evenly into the turkey legs and wings, then put the meat in a container just large enough to hold them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
- Rinse off the cure. Pat dry and arrange on a cooling rack. Put the rack in a cool, breezy place (or in front of a fan) and let the legs and wings dry for an hour or two.
- Smoke the turkey legs and wings at 250 degrees F for at least 5 hours, until they are heavily smoky and well cooked. They may take up to 8 hours. You want them firm, smoky and a little dry. Let the turkey legs and wings cool, then seal them in butcher paper or a vacuum-sealed bag. They will keep in the fridge for 10 days or in the freezer for up to 1 year.