What Are the Best Tips for Grilling Turkey Legs?

Alex Tree

Some of the best tips for grilling turkeys are to allow adequate time to prepare, boil the legs first, and always check the internal temperature. Turkey legs can be time consuming to prepare because they are a dense meat that cooks best on a low temperature. Boiling the legs first may significantly cut down on grilling time, however. In addition, when cooking any meat, but especially when cooking dense meat, it is generally recommended to check the internal temperature of the meat during the cooking process to make sure it reaches the proper temperature before it is safe to consume.

A turkey.
A turkey.

The preparation for grilling turkey legs can take anywhere from 25 minutes to 24 hours, so it is best to plan ahead. If the cook plans to marinate the legs, the legs should be placed in the refrigerator overnight with the mixture. Sometimes the container does not allow for the entire turkey leg to be marinated at once, so it may be necessary to turn the legs after marinating them for four to six hours. The cooking time for grilling turkey legs is usually about 25 to 90 minutes, and then cooling requires five to 10 minutes. Cooking a turkey leg too fast generally results in a leg that is cracked and brown on the outside but raw on the inside.

Use a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the leg for the most accurate reading.
Use a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the leg for the most accurate reading.

Before spicing or grilling turkey legs, some people prefer to boil them to reduce overall cooking time. Boiling a turkey leg can also help it retain moisture while it is grilled, though this piece of meat is usually good at retaining moisture without help. If a cook is low on time, boiling the food ahead of time can be beneficial. After this, the legs can be marinated or grilled as usual. On the other hand, some people believe that boiling before grilling turkey legs is not the proper way to grill or make true barbecued turkey legs.

A key step to avoiding food poisoning after grilling turkey legs is ensuring that the internal temperature deep inside the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). Turkey legs are a thick, dense piece of meat, so people who are accustomed to cooking smaller pieces may accidentally under-cook them. When checking the internal temperature of a turkey leg with a meat thermometer, the thickest area of the meat should be measured, but any bone or gristle should be avoided, as these areas can measure differently than the meat.

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