Disney Copycat Recipe: Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

Turkey Legs” by Ronald Woan is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 (Edits by Disney Adulting)


Disney Copycat Recipe: Smoked Turkey Legs

The ever-famous Smoked Turkey Legs are as much of a rite of passage to Disney parks as riding Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, they’ve gathered a cult following with their own merchandise, online following and even rumors that have made national headlines. We’ve swept the online sources for the best of the best Disney copycat recipe for these meaty hunks of turkey to provide you with a way to bring these Disney iconic snacks to your own home.

 

Smoked Turkey Legs

Turkey Legs” by Mitch & Bonnie Lewandoski is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 (Edits by Disney Adulting)

But before we get started with the recipe, let’s explore the Smoked Turkey Legs story and some cool facts…


History of the Smoked Turkey Legs

According to a recent New York Times article, the turkey leg made its Walt Disney World debut in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom near the Big Al stand in the 1980s. By 2010, sales had spiked surging to a whopping two billion turkey legs served per year. For those love channeling their inner caveman, the continued popularity of this hickory-smoked jumbo leg of goodness has secured its spot at food carts across all Disney theme parks for a long time to come.

 

Smoked Turkey Legs

Jumbo Turkey Leg” by  Briana Zimmers is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Edits by Disney Adulting)


Quick Smoked Turkey Legs Facts

The turkey leg debuted at Big Al’s Coonskin Caps in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in the late 1980s grew in popularity, and then went on to migrated west to Disneyland.

  • 1. 6 million turkey legs are consumed at the 6 Disney parks where they are served. Yes, 1.6 MILLION.
  • If they legs seem bigger to you then what you have on the turkeys you serve at your Thanksgiving meals, they are. The drumsticks come from toms — the male turkeys who have far larger legs.
  • The turkey leg debuted at Big Al’s Coonskin Caps in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in the late 1980s grew in popularity, and then went on to migrated west to Disneyland.
  • Each leg weighs about 1.5-pound legs and is cured with a salt solution, some saying the hickory smoked legs have a ham-like taste.
  • For those who keep track of these sorts of things, the legs each contain about 720 calories and about 36 grams of fat.

 

Smoked Turkey Legs

Turkey Leg Lunch” by H. Michael Miley is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Edits by Disney Adulting)


Are Disney’s Turkey Legs Really Emu Legs?

Rumors that the turkey legs sold at Disney’s theme parks are in actuality emu meat have long been in circulation in the online world, and the claim got a boost when it was referenced on a March 2017  segment of TBS’ Conan talk show where Zachary Levi (who is the voice actor for Flynn in Disney’s Tangled) stated “The turkey legs at Disneyland, I’ve come to find out, are not actually turkey. They’re emu legs. Shocker right? No, I swear. I have friends that have worked for Disneyland, and I was talking about how the turkey legs tasted more like ham than they tasted like turkey, which is already befuddling, and they said, ‘Well, they’re actually emu. Those are big, big old emu legs.’ So if you’ve had a turkey leg at Disneyland, you’ve eaten an emu, folks.

 

 

Snopes has actually investigated this report and pronounced it false, citing multiple reasons and direct statements from Disney chefs on the issue.

So no, you are NOT eating emu when you indulge in a Smoked Turkey Leg at Disney.

 

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Print Recipe
Disney Copycat Recipe: Smoked Turkey Legs
Smoked Turkey Legs
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 12 Hours
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
People
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 12 Hours
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
People
Smoked Turkey Legs
Instructions
  1. Mix together all of the brine ingredients, add the 8 cups of cold water last.
  2. Put two turkey legs each in a large Ziploc bag and cover with the brine.
  3. Zip tight and place in a large casserole dish and let sit overnight in the refrigerator, up to 12 hours or so.
  4. Be sure the brine is touching the legs, and you can turn them around once in a while during the brining stage to ensure complete coverage.
  5. The next day, set your smoker to about 220 F.
  6. Drain the legs from the brine, rinse the legs lightly under cool running water, and pat dry
  7. Season with your favorite dry rub.
  8. Smoke for about 4 hours at 225 F.
  9. Bring it down to 180F for the last hour, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 F.
  10. When you remove the turkey legs, it will continue to cook up to the proper 165 F.

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