Turkey legs are tough and stringy – and cheap. They typically sell for less than a third of the price of turkey breast, an opportunity you will have no problem taking advantage of once you have a recipe like this to turn the culinary challenges of a turkey leg into a flavorful asset. Remember, when it comes to meat, tough and stringy equals flavorful and moist. Brining helps to soften tough fibers, and in this case infuses the meat with chai spices and sweet apple. Low, slow grilling makes the meat melt off the bone. It takes a little time (about an hour and a half on the grill) but almost no attention, and the process is foolproof. There’s no way to screw this one up.
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 5 minutes for brine)
Brine: 2 to 6 hours
Grill: About 1 hour and 20 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula or long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill – middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 cups Apple-Chai Brine
1¼ teaspoons ground poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 turkey thighs and/or drumsticks, about 4 pounds
4 cups apple cider
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
Oil for coating grill grate.
1. Combine the brine, 1 teaspoon of the poultry seasoning, the sage, and the rosemary in a large zipper-lock bag, seal, and shake. 2. Put the bag in a bowl just large enough to hold it snugly. Open the bag and add the turkey. Seal the zipper, leaving about an inch open; push on the bag to release any trapped air through the opening, and close the zipper completely. Massage the liquid gently into the meat and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as 6 hours.
3. To make the cider basting syrup, combine the cider, garlic, and remaining ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning in a large skillet. Boil over high heat until reduced to one-quarter of its volume, about 1 cup. Season with the salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Heat the grill as directed.
5. Remove the turkey from the marinade and discard the marinade.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the turkey on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instantread thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a leg registers about 170°F, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, turning once in the first hour. In the last 20 minutes of cooking, turn and baste with the apple cider syrup every 5 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F. If you are using charcoal or wood, you will probably have to replenish the coals or wood after the first hour.
7. Remove to a large serving platter, drizzle with any remaining cider syrup, and serve.