Giant Texas Turkey Legs: The Easy Way
Giant Texas turkey legs—a favorite treat for visitors to theme parks, county fairs, and festivals across the USA. For some, it’s the highlight of their visit!
Some backyard barbecuers want to replicate these smoked turkey legs at home. The problem is it takes a mighty big male turkey to give you a couple of giant turkey legs and it’s something you won’t find at your local supermarket. Even if you resort to using regular turkey legs, it’s a hassle to brine them in the refrigerator. Finally, you smoke them and they don’t taste anywhere near as good as the ones made by The Mouse or even by the guy at the county fair. And they certainly don’t look as impressive, either.
But there is a source for these big honkers, so read on!
Here are some photos I took on November 1, 2020 when I smoked these turkey legs on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.
Video: Giant Texas Turkey Legs: The Easy Way
This video summarizes the detailed information found in this article.
Mail-Order Pre-Smoked Giant Turkey Legs
Farm Pac Kitchens in Yoakum, Texas, is the supplier of pre-smoked giant Texas turkey legs to major theme parks and festivals including the annual Texas Renaissance Festival. These gigantic legs weigh 1.75 – 2 pounds each and are hickory smoked—you just have to heat them and eat them. The minimum order is 12 legs, packaged 4 to a bag, and shipped frozen by FedEx in an insulated box.
At the time of writing this article, 12 legs costs $102.50 plus $40 shipping. That’s almost $12 per leg. Not cheap, but worth it for a special occasion or as a one-time experience.
These pre-smoked legs are the real deal, the same ones you get at your favorite theme park or festival, and you’d be hard-pressed to duplicate the unique flavor of these monster legs. Who knew these things contained vanilla and extracts of coffee and maple?
To me, doing a “heat and eat” on these turkey legs is no different than ordering Southside Market Texas Sausages and heating them on the WSM and applying some extra smoke flavor. It’s a quick, easy cook that gives you a great result, and you experience the taste of a world-famous product from a quality vendor in your own backyard.
Fire-Up The WSM
Fire-up the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker using the Standard Method. Completely fill a Weber chimney starter with Kingsford Charcoal Briquets and light. When the coals are hot, spread them evenly in the charcoal chamber, then spread another 1/2 chimney of unlit charcoal over the lit and let it get good and hot. Place the water pan in the middle cooking section but leave it empty, and assemble the cooker. Open the top vent and the three bottom vents fully and leave them that way throughout the process. Allow the cooker to run at 275-300°F or higher.
It’s A Quick Cook
Make sure the turkey legs are fully thawed. These legs are so thick that the degree to which they are thawed can be deceptive; they can be thawed on the outside but still frozen deep inside. Although I didn’t do this myself, it might make sense to let the legs sit at room temperature for an hour before going into the cooker, just to take the chill off the meat. But don’t worry if they’re a little frozen on the inside, you’ll just need to increase the cooking time a bit.
Remove the turkey legs from the Cryovac packaging and pat them dry with paper towels. They come with the skin already pulled back to expose the meaty part of the leg.
Farm Pac Kitchens says that for best results you should heat these turkey legs to 160°F before serving. At 350°F that takes about 1 hour; depending on how hot your WSM runs, you should plan on 1 to 1-1/2 hours to warm these legs to 160°F. Check the internal meat temp in several legs and in several locations using an instant-read thermometer.
After you place the turkey legs in the WSM, drop a fist-sized chunk of your favorite smoke wood on top of the hot coals. I used one chunk of cherry smoke wood. This is an optional step, of course, as these legs have already been hickory smoked.
It’s not necessary to turn or baste the turkey legs during cooking.
As you can see in this photo, I was able to fit four turkey legs on the top cooking grate of the 18.5″ WSM, but it’s a tight fit. One of the legs extended over the edge of the water pan, allowing juices to drip down into the charcoal bowl where they hit one of the open vent dampers. I ended up with a pool of turkey juices on the automobile oil drip pan I place under my cooker for just such purposes.
You could certainly place another four turkey legs on the bottom cooking grate. If doing so, try to keep them within the circumference of the water pan so they don’t get scorched by the heat coming up around the edge of the pan. Try to place smaller legs on the bottom grate, larger ones on the top grate.
It’s obvious that 12 giant Texas turkey legs is a lot of turkey legs and unless you’re cooking them for a special occasion you’re going to cook just a few at a time. Since they come four to a package, you can cook four and leave the other two packages of four legs in the freezer for future use. If you want to cook only two legs, you can partially thaw a package, remove two legs, and return the other two legs to the freezer.
Impressive Turkey Legs, Real Deal Taste
These giant Texas turkey legs are moist and flavorful, with the authentic taste you expect from a theme park or festival turkey leg.
Here’s a look at the inside meat. It’s deep pink—it looks like ham and kind of tastes like it, too.
I brushed this one with some barbecue sauce as an experiment but it masked the authentic flavor that you know and love in a giant Texas turkey leg. Skip the sauce!
They’re big, they’re bold, they’re expensive, they’re delicious, they’re the real deal. Giant Texas turkey legs from Farm Pac Kitchens—a theme park party in your mouth!
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