Chicken Leg Quarters and Turkey Legs

Saturday, April 23, 2015

Bought the leg quarters and turkey legs this morning at HEB to smoke this afternoon as the second smoke in the MES 40. Had gotten this week the air probe for the ChefAlarm as well as last weekend getting a bag of apple, cherry, pecan and hickory wood chips at Academy. The Ribs will be documented in a separate post tomorrow when I smoke them.

Also this morning bought cooling racks at the restaurant supply that fit into the aluminum pans that fit the MES 40 grate size leaving 1.5″-2″ on all sides to let the heat and smoke up. In the end I do not think three of them stacked on three shelves worked out. 20160423_163846I think that the three pans with cold meat created a cool column as there is little air flow inside the box and so the heat went up the back, right side, and out. That is why the air probe stayed in the 180s-190s.

  • 11:00 – Salted ribs lightly and rubbed in Stubbs Hot Pork Rub. Back in package and into refer.
  • 11:45 – Using brine made with the mix recipe in The Meat Hook page 173 and put the three turkey legs in and into fridg.
  • 1:30 – Turned on MES, set at 205 to watch coast up to 225 but only got to 223. Raised set point to 225 and it came on for a few minutes, cycled a couple of times and stayed very close to 225. NO wild temp swings thanks to that technique by BearCarver at SMF.
  • 2:00 –  Placed turkey legs in shallow alum pan on cooling grate on top grate. Chicken also in two lasagna alum pans ( almost 3″ side wall height) with racks on 2nd and 3rd grate. Still the apple chips but would not smoke. This was my first time with apple. Added more.  That was a mistake as then there was too much to get hot enough to smolder–so I learned later. Also should have dried them in the microwave as they were as damp as the high humidity air.

    Olivia trying out my new BBQ hi-temp gloves

    Olivia trying out my new BBQ hi-temp gloves

  • New Thermoworks Air Probe on ChefAlarm (arrived this week along with BBQ gloves) mounted below third shelf that had pan with chicken stayed in the 180s even though MES box temp stayed around 225.
  • 3:15 – Raised set temp to 250. Coasted up to 253 once turned off at 250.
  • 4:20 – Very little smoke so lite AMZNTS with PitMaster and put on lower bars on left side. Good smoke immediately. The air probe still shows only in 190s immediately below 2nd grate center with pan right above it.
  • 5:30 – Turkey legs IT is 156 based on Thermoworks Instant Read RJ600C-N. Chicken IT on 3rd shelf is 158.
  • 5:40 Momma wants to feed the grandchildren so checked turkey legs and IT against the bone was 155. Pull all and covered with Alum foil planning they will rise to 160 while resting covered.


    Deep pan for the chicken made it not cook as fast and not as smokey. Shallow pan and legs cooked faster.

  • 6:15 – Sat down to eat and everyone thought the chicken was not quite done as it was slightly pink. Looked to me like that was from the long time in the seasoning as there was very little pink only in the an occasional joint. I ate a turkey leg and it was done but needed more time to get more tender. All in all not a great outcome.


  1. Should have brined the turnkey legs with a little Cure #1 for 48 hours.


    Kelley made a warm chick-pea salad that saved the day.

  2. Using the deeper lasagna pans was not good as it meant the meat sat inside a cooler area where there was no air flow. Proof is that the much larger turnkey legs on the top rack cooked faster in the shallow pan.
  3. Need to try the chip tray with only a few chips to hopefully get smoke. Also could have dried them in the microwave to remove moisture from the very humid day.


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