Why You Should Roast Turkey Legs Instead Of The Whole Bird This Thanksgiving

Forget roasting the whole bird this year—get all the flavor without the fuss by roasting turkey legs.

November 10, 2017
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Roasting a whole turkey can be downright intimidating. Sure, you’ve probably mastered the art of the 4-pound roast chicken, but when you’re dealing with a 13-pound beast, the game changes. 

First, you must account for adequate defrosting time, which is approximately two months (well, it feels that way). Then, you have to not drop it (hope you've been hitting the gym!). And finally, you need to cook the bird evenly without drying it out, which can be a giant pain given the fact that white and dark meat cook at different rates and, if cooked improperly, you could easily end up with burnt skin but still-pink meat. 

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Of course, all this is happening as you’re trying to clean the house, make side dishes, and get yourself mentally prepared for a concentrated dose of extended family time—which can sometimes be great, but sometimes not.

All of which brings us to our actual point: Don’t be a hero. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, skip roasting a whole turkey and instead make these ultra flavorful, but far less labor intensive turkey legs. (Here are 10 ways you can have a healthier Thanksgiving, too.)

They cook up relatively quickly, are perfectly portioned (everyone gets a drumstick!), and taste exactly like Thanksgiving should—herby, buttery, and delicious. To make them, watch the tutorial above and check out the recipe below.  

(Slash your cholesterol, burn stubborn belly fat, solve your insomnia, and more—naturally!—with Rodale's Eat For Extraordinary Health & Healing!)

Roasted Turkey Legs

Serves 8

For seasoning blend:
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp dehydrated onion
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika

8 organic turkey legs
8 Tbsp butter, softened

1. Add salt, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion, black pepper, and paprika to a medium size bowl; stir to combine. 

2. Spread the seasoning blend evenly over 8 turkey legs. Place seasoned turkey legs onto a cooling rack placed over a rimmed sheet pan. Transfer sheet pan to refrigerator and allow turkey legs to chill uncovered for 4 hours. 

3. Remove from refrigerator. Rinse off seasoning blend with cold water and pat turkey legs dry with paper towels. Return turkey legs to the rack and slather each with 1 tablespoon softened butter.  

4. Roast turkey legs at 400 F for 1 hour, rotating half way through. To ensure crispy skin, finish them up by broiling each side for 3 minutes.