Pellet Smoked Turkey Legs (Disney Style-ish)

Pellet Smoked Turkey Legs

Everyone loves smoked Disney turkey legs and we searched the inter webs for the best Disney style recipe. We found most recipes to vary from each other and it started to seem like nobody really knows the recipe, just like KFC’s secret herbs and spices. So we’re not going to claim this recipe to be the actual Disney formula, but it is a mashup of a few good ones with our own spin on the spices and steps. This recipe is easy but it does take some time from start to finish. You will need to make a brine and soak the turkey legs overnight in that mixture. This adds a great level of flavor to the meat and helps to keep the meat moist. After the brine, you should dry out the turkey legs in the refrigerator overnight to give the skin a less chewy texture. This last step is optional but plan for 1 to 2 days of prep work before the actual cook.


  • 4 turkey legs


  • 1 gallon water
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns

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Boil 1 gallon of water along with all of the listed brine ingredients. Allow the brine to boil for a few minutes then turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the burner and allow the liquid to cool for 1 hour. You can add ice in a large zip seal bag to speed up the cooling process but do not add ice directly to the brine because this will dilute the solution. When the liquid reaches a medium warm temperature, add it to an 8 quart container and place it in the refrigerator for several hours.

When the brine reaches refrigerator temperature (around 32F) then add the turkey legs to the brine. Place the brine back in the refrigerator overnight or at least 12 hours.

After the brine phase, wash off the turkey legs then place them on a sheet pan with a cooling rack. Pat the turkey down with paper towels to absorb as much liquid as possible. It is important to dry off the skin as much as possible to prevent rubbery skin texture. If you have time, place the turkey legs back in the refrigerator overnight and this will circulate air around them which dries off the skin.

When you are ready to cook, preheat your smoker to 230 using apple wood pellets. Spray the turkey legs with duck fat to act as a binder and skin browner. Apply smoked paprika, onion powder, black pepper, and kosher salt on all sides.

Place the turkey legs on an upper rack in your smoker and let them cook for an hour. After an hour, flip them over and then spray them down with duck fat. Check the temperatures and move around any legs from hot areas to cool areas if needed. Repeat these steps until you get close to 165 F, then increase the heat to 300F. Higher heat will help tighten up the skin. Continue cooking until the turkey legs reach around 175F. This should take around 3 hours.

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