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Turn Smoked Turkey Legs into Hearty Main Dish Recipes

Smoked turkey legs add delicious, smoky flavor to so many dishes. Soups, stews, moles, and much, much more. Here are some top-rated recipes that would be even more delicious paired up with the flavorful meat of smoked turkey legs. If you like, shred the meat in advance and store it in a container in the freezer. Then add it to dishes during the busy workweek.

Now, outside of the jumbo turkey legs found at Renaissance Festivals and State Fairs, you can sometimes find more modest-sized, fully smoked turkey legs at grocery stores. If not, you might have to smoke the meat yourself; in which case, here's How to Make Your Own Smoked Turkey Legs.

1. Taco Salad

The turkey is a Mesoamerican original. It was first domesticated about 2000 years ago in what is now central Mexico. So swapping in the savory meat of a smoked turkey leg in Mexican recipes calling for chicken makes perfect sense. It's certainly the obvious choice for strict poultry originalists -- and maybe it should be for you, too.

Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

Photo by Stirring up Trouble

2. Authentic Mole Sauce

Smoked turkey legs are also the perfect partner for rich, flavorful mole sauce. This complex-tasting, dark chocolate- and chile-based sauce is a terrific fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican and European influences. And certainly turkey would have been the meat of choice back in the day. And so it can be again!

Smoked Turkey Leg Mole

Photo by Meredith

3. Chef John's Beans and Greens

Here is Chef John's favorite home version of a true classic. "Beans and greens has it all," he says. "It's very easy and inexpensive to make; it's highly nutritious; it's soulful and comforting." Shred some smoked turkey meat for these beans and greens, and you'll extend the dish into a hearty, satisfying main course. Just add the smoked turkey meat at the end and warm through.


4. Cobb Salad

Dice up some smoked turkey leg meat to top off a Cobb salad. Generally speaking, flavorful smoked turkey meat is a great swap for grilled chicken or chicken breast meat in so many main dish salad recipes.

Cobb Salad

Photo by Molly

5. Red Beans and Rice

Save some smoked turkey leg for this red beans and rice recipe. Treat the turkey just like you would ham. Shred it up and add it the last 20 minutes.

Red Beans and Rice

Photo by Derrinae Smith

6. Tasty Collard Greens

Here's a classic recipe for collard greens that calls for smoked turkey. You'll simmer the greens in chicken stock and spice them up with crushed red chile flakes.


7. Tuscan Smoked Turkey Bean Soup

Maureen explains the benefits of using smoked turkey legs instead of ham in this flavorful bean soup: "Turkey instead of ham really cuts the fat and calories. We always keep a container in the freezer for those go-to meals on the quick."

Tuscan Smoked Turkey-Bean Soup

Photo by Ms. Chef Esh

8. Split Pea Soup

This recipe actually calls for diced ham. But smoked turkey leg meat would be amazing with this split pea soup. Basically, if the recipe asks for ham hocks or smoked ham, you can swap in the meat from smoked turkey legs with thoroughly delicious results.

Ham and Split Pea Soup Recipe

Photo by Kim's Cooking Now!

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Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

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