Nutrition Facts

Maple Bourbon Turkey Legs

Cooks in 2 hours
Serves 8-10




Backyard Boss


Tailgate with Turkey Team


  • 12 pounds turkey legs (8, 1.5 pound legs is ideal for this recipe)
  • Maple Brine
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 cups ice
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Brown Sugar Dry Rub
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Bourbon Maple Glaze
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar Dry Rub (above)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder


Brine the Legs

  • In a 6+ quart pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer along with all other brine ingredients. Simmer until the brown sugar and salt are dissolved. 
  • Remove the pot from heat and add the remaining 1 quart of water, and the 4 cups of ice. Allow the brine to cool completely before using.
  • Put the turkey legs in a large, food-safe container that fits in your refrigerator. Pour the brine over the legs so they are completely submerged and cover the container. You may need to use multiple containers to fit all the legs in your refrigerator. Brine turkey legs in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Make the Brown Sugar Dry Rub

  • Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Make the Bourbon Maple Glaze

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  • Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for roughly 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens and becomes syrupy. 
  • Let the glaze cool for 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cook the Legs

  • When ready to grill the legs, set up your grill to cook with indirect heat and preheat to 300°F.
  • Oil the grill to prevent the legs from sticking: fill a small bowl with canola oil; ball up a few paper towels and use grill tongs to dip the balled-up paper towels into the canola oil; once saturated, drag the paper towels over the grates of the grill.
  • Remove the legs from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Discard the brine after the legs have been removed.
  • Sprinkle the Brown Sugar Dry Rub liberally over the outside of the legs.
  • Place the legs on the grill over indirect heat with the large side of the leg facing towards the heat source. Cover the grill. 
  • Maintaining the temperature at around 300°F, grill the legs for 80 minutes, flipping every 20 minutes. Depending on the size of the legs, the total cooking time will range from just over an hour to two hours.
  • Starting at one hour, check the internal temperature of the legs with an instant read thermometer. Remember to thoroughly wash your thermometer after each use.  When the internal temperature of the legs reaches 170°F, gently brush on a coating of the Bourbon Maple Glaze. Cover the grill and cook for another 5 minutes. Apply a second coating of Maple Bourbon Glaze, cover the grill and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the legs and once it reaches 175F, the legs are done. Remove the legs from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.