You'll feel like the king of the court, wielding your giant smoked turkey leg like a scepter.
Visit any of the Disney parks and you will see folks stumbling around delirious with huge smiles and monster turkey legs (actually they are drumsticks, since technically legs include the thigh). These pterodactyl-sized drums have spawned fan pages, scores of videos on YouTube, and rumors (no they are not emu legs). They have become so popular that they were featured on page one of the New York Times once. They are not hard to make at home once you crack the secret recipe.
Rather than using ordinary grocery store female turkeys that are usually about 20 pounds, Disney's supplier, Uncle John's Pride, uses Tom turkeys, male birds that can grow up to 50 pounds, with legs that run about 1 1/2 pounds. Tom drumsticks this large are hard to find but your butcher may be able to order them for you. If not, my recipe works fine with hens' legs, typically 10 to 12 ounces, they will just be smaller and cook faster. Not many stores carry solo turkey legs, but if you ask your butcher, he or she can order them, usually in just a few days. If you can't get them, the recipe works just fine on chicken legs.
Disney legs are injected with a curing brine with a special curing salt that gives it a pink color, and then it is smoked. No wonder most folks say it tastes like ham. That's how they make wet cured ham. And that's how they sell drinks! Even if you have an injector, I recommend this method of soaking in the curing brine since a single needle injector tends to create pockets of brine in small cuts like this. Here's how to do smoke turkey legs, Disney style.
Smoked Disney-style Turkey Legs Recipe
Curing is what makes these turkey legs pink. Curing meats is fun and the results are often better than storebought. But curing is very different from any other recipe because you are using a preservative, sodium nitrite. You must read and thoroughly understand my article on the Science Of Curing Meats before attempting to cure these turkey legs, and before you ask any questions. One word of caution: the calculator there is designed for single pieces of meat so if you want to scale up or down, just multiply the ingredients and the time remains the same. For reference, Disney's supplier, Uncle John's Pride, uses Tom turkeys, male birds that can grow up to 50 pounds, with legs that run about 1 1/2 pounds. Most legs I have seen in stores are closer to 1 pound each. Keep in mind, this recipe brines/cures in a zipper bag so you can get away with a small quantity. You just need to move the legs around in the bag periodically to make sure the cure is in contact with all parts of the meat.
Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree.
Makes. 2 drumsticks of which Mickey would be proud. For more drums, increase the quantity of the brine, but not the time.
Takes. 10 minutes of preparation, 24 hours to cure, 90 minutes to cook.
2 large turkey drumsticks, about 1 pound each
3 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Prague Powder #1
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup distilled water
1) Cure. Dissolve the salt, Prague powder #1, and the sugar in the water and then pour it in a 1 gallon zipper bag. Add the meat and refrigerate in the cure for about 24 hours, and not much longer or it can get too salty. While they are curing, move them them around a bit a few times to make sure all parts are covered with the liquid. You can then take them out of the cure and hold them in the fridge uncooked for a day or two until you're ready to cook, but I wouldn't push beyond that.
2) Rinse. Remove the meat, rinse it so the exterior will not be too salty, and pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
3) Fire up. Set up the grill for 2-zone smoking or fire up your smoker. Shoot for 325°F on the indirect side.
4) Cook. Smoke the turkey leg on the indirect side of the grill for about 1 hour until the thick part of the meat reaches at least 160°F.
5) Serve. Serve the smoked turkey leg immediately.
0 servings per container
|Calories per serving||680|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 30 g||47 %|
|Saturated Fat 8 g||42 %|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 365 mg||122 %|
|Sodium 1,342 mg||56 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 13 g||4 %|
|Dietary Fiber -||-|
|Total Sugars 13 g|
|Includes 13 g Added Sugars|
|Protein 89 g||178 %|
|Vitamin D 2 µg||15 %|
|Calcium 55 mg||6 %|
|Iron 5 mg||29 %|
|Potassium 944 mg||20 %|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
"Enough is as good as a feast."Mary Poppins