During spring turkey season I guilted Cast-Iron Chef followers into keeping the legs from harvested gobblers, and I shared three methods for cooking them so they’re not tough as nails. Well, there’s another great way to prepare your bird’s kickers: smoke ’em.
Wild turkey legs are composed of drumsticks and thighs. I’d recommend saving the juicy thighs to use as a main course in a fancy meal for two. You’ll end up with a decent amount of meat from the drummies, but you’ll get the best bang for your bird if you use that tasty flesh to complement a larger dish such as flatbread. You can’t go wrong with flatbread as a dinner entree served with sides, or as a finger-food party appetizer. It reheats nicely to make your buddies jealous at lunch, too.
Garlic Mashed Potato Spread
10 red potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked salt
2 smoked wild turkey legs (marinated in any citrus juice concentrate, plus 1 tablespoon smoked salt—see below)
4 cups shredded cheese (pepper jack is a good choice)
2 cups diced cooked bacon
2 sliced red bell peppers
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced green onions
1 cup diced fresh parsley
Start by submerging two wild turkey drumsticks in a marinade/brine of frozen citrus juice concentrate and water, plus 1 tablespoon of smoked salt, for 12-24 hours. For the juice, you can use anything highly acidic such as orange juice or pineapple juice. The citric acid will work to tenderize the meat and the salt will help to retain moisture once the drummies hit your smoker.
If you don’t have any smoked salt on hand, it’s super easy to make. Just put your favorite coarse salt (Kosher salt, sea salt or my favorite—Real Salt) on a sheet of tinfoil and smoke it for an hour. You can use it to add smoky flavor to just about any recipe that requires salt, which is especially convenient when you don’t have time to go through the whole smoking process.
Fire up your smoker at a low temperature around 200 degrees. I use the Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grill/Smoker because it’s so damned convenient. If you don’t have a smoker at all, use a natural hardwood lump charcoal/wood chip blend in a regular grill—concentrate the coals to one side of the grill and put the drummies on the other side with the lid closed. Smoke the drumsticks until they reach an internal temperature of 160. Remove, cool, pull the meat off the bones, and chop into small pieces.
To make the dough, follow the directions right here at TheKitchn.com. Once it’s ready to play with, roll the dough into the shape of your choice (a rectangle always looks nice). Heed the author’s advice about using parchment paper underneath the dough, otherwise make sure you put it on a well-oiled pan or it will stick like hell (I learned this the hard way). You should have enough dough to make two flatbreads.
Boil the potatoes until soft, then add the remaining garlic mashed potato ingredients and mash everything together until it’s silky smooth. Use a spatula to spread out the mashed potatoes across the flatbread, as the taters are the base for this recipe instead of sauce.
Distribute all the other ingredients (except the fresh parsley) evenly across both flatbreads, starting with the shredded cheese. Heat your smoker to 400-500 degrees and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the dough begins to turn light brown. Slice and serve.