Festival Turkey Legs

Festival turkey leg recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

You can work up an appetite at the state fair or the Renaissance festival and a meaty turkey leg is an impressive way to satiate yourself. Now you can enjoy this royal snack in your own backyard, costumes, and armor not included. This is the authentic recipe used by turkey leg vendors at fairs and festivals.

It would be difficult to get the turkey legs done solely on a grill. Boiling the turkey legs first may seem like cheating but if you had to make thousands of them you wouldn't want them sitting on your grill for 20 to 30 minutes before you can sell them. Also, spending a long time on the grill increases the risk of the skin burning rather than browning. At home, this simple trick also allows you to free up your time for other dishes while ensuring the turkey legs are perfectly cooked.

If you're making turkey legs for the adults, you can make a batch of chicken legs for the kids or serve them corn dogs.

Ingredients

  • 4 turkey legs
  • 1 (2-liter) bottle lemon-lime carbonated soda (you can use lemonade as well)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for festival turkey legs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Pat the turkey legs dry.

    Pat dry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. In a large pot, combine the soda, sugar, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Bring to a low boil and add the turkey legs.

    Spices
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Boil over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the turkey legs register an internal temperature of 165 F/74 C. Preheat the grill to medium heat.

    Turkey legs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Place the onion slices on the heated grill and put the turkey legs on top of the onion slices.

    Turkey legs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Brush with the turkey legs honey and sprinkle them with the steak seasoning.

  7. Grill over a medium heat for about 15 minutes watching carefully to avoid burning. Turn the turkey legs as needed. The skin should be crispy brown and the legs should reach an internal temperature of between 165 to 175 F when done.

    Grill over heat
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Once cooked, remove the turkey legs from the grill.

    Cooked turkey legs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!

    Festival turkey legs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • To make the turkey legs more portable and less messy for your guests, wrap the bottom of the legs in foil as a carrying handle.
  • The steak seasoning can be any dry blend you prefer. Or, you can mix up some of your own with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • To go with the turkey legs, think of other state fair treats such as grilled corn on the cob, deep fried pickles, and chocolate-covered frozen bananas. Or, grill vegetable skewers for a healthy alternative.

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