Divine Dinner Party

Cooking Turkey Drumsticks:
Showin' Off Those (Turkey) Legs

If you're thinking of cooking turkey drumsticks to make your holiday meal a little easier this Thanksgiving or Christmas, or if you just have a taste for turkey and don't feel like roasting a whole bird (which can be a real pain in the butt), we're happy to lend a hand.

Here, we'll help you choose fresh turkey legs, select the right recipe, and cook turkey legs so tasty that nobody will miss the whole bird. (And if someone does complain, those heavy leg-bones make a great bludgeon.)

Weapon and dinner all in one. What other food gives you that?

Note on Buying the Best Turkey Legs

What should you keep in mind when buying turkey legs? For one, make sure they're fresh. Unlike whole turkeys, individual drumsticks or packages of drumsticks aren't normally frozen-- you'll find them fresh in the poultry section. The best turkey legs are bright and firm to the touch. If you can, also make sure they're as clean as possible. Some turkey drumsticks come with little pin feathers (or quills) at the base of the drumstick. These are a pain to pull out, and not very, well, pleasing to the palate.

Choosing the Best Yummy Raw Turkey Legs

Another thing to keep in mind when cooking turkey drumsticks is size. Be sure to buy turkey legs that are similar in size-- if they're too differently sized, they won't cook evenly. They usually come in packs of two, so make sure to compare the drumsticks in each pack before buying.

Cooking Turkey Drumsticks: Trim 'Em Down

When you're ready for cooking your turkey drumsticks, pull them out of the package and make sure they're clean. If they have any small feathers, make sure and pull these out before cooking. Also, turkey legs have a tendency to come with big flaps of skin and fat-- make sure and trim these off to make cooking and eating them easier.

Cooking Turkey Legs: Choosing a Recipe

The last step in cooking turkey drumsticks is to pick the best recipe. If you're cooking them for summer or a non-holiday occasion, the best way to make them is probably barbecued or smoked.

Check here for smoked turkey legs recipes


here for recipes for cooking turkey drumsticks barbecue style.

But if you're looking to make turkey legs for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a turkey-traditional holiday, you may want a recipe that gives you a more traditional taste. When having a smaller holiday dinner with only a few guests (or even Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for just two), cooking turkey drumsticks is just so much easier than roasting a whole turkey. And if you choose the right recipe, turkey legs can taste just as good --and just as traditional-- as a whole turkey. Check out the recipe below for cooking turkey drumsticks for the holidays.

Savory Rosemary-Thyme Holiday Turkey Drumstick Recipe

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4 turkey drumsticks (about 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. each)
1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 C. olive oil
2 lg. onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

Instructions: Rinse turkey legs, pat dry with paper towels. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, and oregano. Dust turkey legs lightly with flour mix. Set flour mix aside (it will be used later to make gravy).

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey legs (only a couple at a time-- don't crowd them in the pan) and brown lightly on all sides. Transfer turkey legs to a large casserole dish or baking pan (4-6 quart capacity). Add onions and garlic to the hot oil already in the skillet. Cook until softened. Add broth and wine, bring to a boil. Add bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary. Remove from heat and pour over turkey.

Bake turkey drumsticks, covered, in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until very tender. (If cooking turkey drumsticks that are a bit smaller, check the internal temperature a bit earlier-- you don't want them to overcook).

Remove turkey legs from baking pan and keep warm. Measure reserved flour mix (leftover from dusting turkey legs) and combine with an equal amount of cold water or chicken broth. Either stir this into pan juices directly in pan, or, if you don't want bits of onion in your gravy, strain drippings into a saucepan. Cook, stirring, til gravy boils and thickens to your preferred consistency.

For more turkey recipes and tips on cooking turkey drumsticks, return to our Ultimate Holiday Turkey Guide

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BBQ Smoked Turkey Legs

Cooking a Whole Turkey
or Some Drumsticks?

Free Holiday Turkey Recipe Guide to How to Cook a Turkey

If it's a fat bird with a beard (no, I don't mean your Aunt Marjorie), we can help you cook it. Click on the icon above or click here to get started with recipes and tips on how to cook a turkey for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any time of year.


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