New Camping Recipe – Smoked Turkey Legs

You can easily smoke turkey legs like those at the county fair!
With all the Thanksgiving stuff going on, turkey has been on the mind quite a bit lately.  Smoked turkey legs sounded like “the bomb” and something good to take on the next trip.  By doing a few hours research, I found a half dozen good recipes, added and subtracted ingredients, and then came up with the following recipe for the brine.  It’s easy to make and the results are impressive.  Click on the photo above [or here] for my version.
It takes only minutes to make the brine, then put the turkey legs in it, and then let it work for 24-48 hours.  After that, just bake or grill the legs.
At first glance, the turkey leg in that photo looks undercooked.  Trust me – it’s not.  The camera flash was playing tricks with the pink coloring.  The meat temperature was about 170 degrees.  It was cooked completely through and was very tender.  I think you can repeat the same magic with pork chops for a great smoked / cured flavor.  It might even be good with road kill.  Just use your own.  🙂
The most important thing to remember is to use the Morton’s tender quick salt.  It contains not just salt but other ingredients for curing the meat.  You can find it in the pickling / canning area of the local grocery store for around $4… But you get two pounds – enough to cure a bunch of meat.
These directions are easily scalable.  Mix up a half batch and take it with you to use at the campground.   No turkey legs?  You can use chicken parts or maybe even some pork chops!

Well, Thanksgiving was a lot of fun.  I went to visit my friend Alothina and her boys.  She cooked up a heck of a meal.

We had turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, mac-n-cheese, greens, spaghetti, and chitterlings.

So what are chitterlings?  (often pronounced as “chittlins”)  They are cooked, seasoned pig intestines, a classic “soul food” dish that is popular at special occasions.  I love various kinds of soul food but never had tried “chittlins” until now.  They are pretty darn tasty!

Dessert, by the way, was homemade banana pudding with Nilla Wafers, sweet potato pie, pineapple pie, and cheesecake.  Thankfully, good sense and moderation prevailed though I LOVED Alothina’s Mississippi style cooking.

It was a heck of a dinner!
Here is Alo’s other little boy, Apollo.  (brother to Aries, the “pirate” in the previous post)  He’s as cute as a bug’s ear.  Both boys and their mom want to go camping when the weather warms up.  Apollo (a.k.a. “paw paw”) was acting up and was told he couldn’t have any chittlins. 

It was cute hearing him plead “Mama, mama, can I please have me a bowl of chittlins?”
Finally his mom relented and let Apollo have some of the good stuff.  We put hot sauce on the “chittlins” and the result was magic.  Walmart sells buckets of chitterlings so I might have to buy some for us to enjoy on Christmas.

It was a blast hanging out with the special friends on Thanksgiving.  The food was incredible and the friendship made it all the more enjoyable.


It’s currently Sunday.  It was two years ago that Mom passed away on Sunday after the holiday.  It’s a little easier this year than it was at this time last year but I still miss her! 
In Mom’s memory, there is a little camping trip planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.  It should be a good time with some cool pictures.  I will be testing a Mr. Heater water heater on this next trip.  It could make life a lot easier.  More details to come.
As always, thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy your week!
Brad, the Van Trekking Redneck Gourmet Cook

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to New Camping Recipe – Smoked Turkey Legs

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Brad,
    I live in PA but travel south quite often. I’m still struggling with myself to learn to like Grits, (they come with most every breakfast south of the Mason Dixon line), I’m slowly getting there with the Grits but not quite sure if I am ready to take on “Chitlins” yet!!! I may have to take your word on that one.
    Sounds like you had a very nice Thanksgiving.

    Enjoy following your Blog,

    • Brad says:

      Thanks for following and your comments, Bob. I agree on the grits thing… I haven’t found a way to enjoy them yet! If you find a good way to eat them, let me know. 🙂

      I’ll skip the grits and take a plate of hash browns with a little cheese and onions. 🙂