Saturday the temperature rose above 50 degrees and I came down with a vicious case of spring fever! The sun and the warmth beckoned me to go outside to bask in it, while the birds were chirping out at me, “Resistance is futile!” So after a quick supply run, I made a beeline over to the Fair Hill NRMA and hiked the 2.5 mile Red trail, with the wifey only semi-excited in tow. It was our first hike of the year and although there was still a bit of snow and ice here and there it felt renewing to be back on the trials. The freezing temperatures of late were really starting to bum me out a bit and Saturday’s thaw was just what I needed. As soon as we got back home from our refreshing hike, I fired up the charcoals and the better half started piling up fallen branches and twigs next to our fire pit. We cranked up Lincoln Durham Pandora radio, popped open a can of suds (she had red wine of course!), and started partying in slow motion like it was summertime. It was a fantastic evening spent hanging out in the backyard, but I know before too long the temperatures will dip back down to freezing again. There’s still 56 days till spring. Queen Cersei, I am ever ready for winter to be over!
Note: don’t forget to take advantage of your grill time and pile on extra veggies and/or proteins to use over the upcoming week
2 good quality Turkey Legs
2 cups Water, Stock of Choice, Beer, or Cider
1 dried Guajillo Chili
1 tsp Juniper Berries
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 tbsp Smoked Alder Salt
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Grade B Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard, or mustard of choice
3 – 4 tbsp BBQ Seasoning or Rub of choice
4 – 6 Plum Wood Chunks, or wood chunks of choice
The night before you intend to grill the turkey legs, prepare the brine. In a small saucepan over med flame, bring 2 cups of water, stock, beer, or cider up to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the Smoked Alder Salt, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, dried Guajillo chili, Juniper Berries, and Black Peppercorns. Turn off the heat and stir until the salt and sugar has completely dissolved. Allow the brine to cool completely. You can speed up this process by adding ice cubes to the liquid. Place turkey legs in a brining bag or large ziplock bag. Pour over the cooled brine then add enough water to submerge the turkey legs. Carefully seal the bag and transfer to a brining bucket or large mixing bowl to prevent any mess from potential leaks. Transfer the turkey legs to the fridge and marinate overnight. Next, add your wood chunks to a bowl, cover with water, and allow them to soak overnight.
Prepare a charcoal grill by layering the coals all on one side of the grill for direct heat, while leaving one side charcoal free for indirect heat. While the coals are getting hot, remove the turkey legs from the brine and set in a casserole dish. Discard the brine. Coat each turkey leg evenly with the mustard then sprinkle on a generous amount of your favorite BBQ Seasoning or Rub. Set aside.
Once the coals are white hot, add the soaked wood chunks just close enough to the hot coals to heat them up to smoking, but not completely catching them on fire. Place the turkey legs over the wood chunks, on the indirect heat side of the grill. Cover and smoke the turkey legs until an internal temperature of 175 – 180 degrees is reached, about 2 – 3 hours.
When the turkey legs are almost ready, toss your favorite vegetables in a bit of Grapeseed oil, salt and pepper, and then grill until just warmed through. Serve immediately with additional mustard or BBQ Sauce.