Grilled Ginger-Glazed Turkey Legs

Grilled Ginger-Glazed Turkey Legs

By Guest Chef, Phillip Schaaf

You’re going to love how easy this turkey legs recipe is.

The unusual glaze really makes it. It's similar to a Chinese five spice but I use ginger ale reduced to a syrupy consistency with fragrant whole spices instead. It’s a great recipe for either a semi-fast weeknight meal or a feast for two-to-four people. It can also easily be scaled up for a weekend cookout with lots of friends.


Ginger ale
2 cups
Dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp
Green cardamom pods
Cinnamon stick
Star anise pods
Pinch of kosher salt


  • Sauce pot
  • Roasting rack
  • Grill
  • Silicon brush


Combine all ingredients (except turkey or chicken) in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.

Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup and is visibly thick.

Once the glaze has reached the proper consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. The glaze can be held under refrigeration for at least a week.

Throw some aromatics—onion, bay leaves, jalapeños, or garlic, whatever your taste—into a pot of cold water, along with the drumsticks, and bring to a simmering boil.

Gently boil the drumsticks until they reach 160 degrees internally. This will take about thirty minutes. This shortcut will be helpful if you are preparing several drumsticks for a party, or if you want to serve this dish on a weeknight and want to break up the prep work a bit. Precooking the turkey legs will also ensure doneness without over grilling and getting too much char.

Once the legs are done, remove them from the pot and let them air dry on a roasting rack. Once they have cooled a bit, they can go straight to the grill or they can hold in refrigeration for a couple of days until you are ready to finish them off.

Prepare your grill to cook at medium-high heat, either charcoal or gas. If you’ve chosen the shortcut, grilling will only take about 15 minutes. If you are grilling raw drumsticks, it will take up to an hour to reach the desired temperature.

Once the grill is ready, oil the slats a bit to discourage sticking. Add the drumsticks to the grill and let them cook for a couple of minutes before applying the first round of glaze.

Use a silicon brush to glaze the legs. Keep turning and glazing every couple of minutes until the legs take on a deep amber color and nice char to the outside. Once the temperature reaches 165 internally, they are ready to pull from the grill.

The end result will be a smoky and sweet, rich, and flavorful grilled turkey drumstick that can be eaten off the bone like a savage or pulled from the bone and served over a dish of your favorite noodles or rice, or in a bold and flavorful turkey sandwich.

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