Brined and Baked Turkey Legs

Satisfy your inner Captain Caveman with these beautiful and super-juicy “Brined and Baked Turkey Legs”.

No matter if we are at a State Fair or a random weekend local festival, when my husband, Sam, goes missing, all I have to do is locate the turkey leg food truck. Yep ~ there he is. Sam loves these giant turkey legs. And I’ll be honest, I only cook turkey at Thanksgiving. It has never occurred to me to cook it any other time of the year. Until I saw them on a recent trip to Whole Foods and threw them into my shopping cart. When Sam saw his dinner that night, you would have thought that I had met him naked at the door wrapped in Saran Wrap (referencing Fried Green Tomatoes for you millennials).

Now, on to brining. I am an avid fan of cooking shows and am constantly hearing the ongoing debate…to brine, or not to brine…that seems to be the question. So, as someone who has never brined anything, I thought I’d give it a try. It was great, but I will say this. When Thanksgiving comes rolling around, I’ll probably stick with what I know and not brine. With that said, this was a wonderfully juicy and flavorful meal!

Other Cavegirl Cuisine recipes that you may enjoy:
Turkey Scramble Olé
Sweet Potato and Turkey Stew

Brined and Baked Turkey Legs

Brined and Baked Turkey Legs


  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 2 dried Chile de Arbol, halved (or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon black or preferred peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, slightly smashed (I give mine a quick smack with the flat side of my meat tenderizer)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage (or a few fresh leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 turkey legs
  • Baking dish aromatics (choose what you prefer): chopped onions, garlic cloves, lime/lemon/orange slices (choose one) or apple/pear slices. Any combo of these can be scattered around your legs.


  1. Combine all ingredients except for the turkey legs and baking aromatics in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until salt is dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place turkey legs in a deep dish which basically just fits the turkey. Pour liquid over the legs. Make sure the liquid covers the meat; if not, add a little water. Cover.
  3. Refrigerate overnight (at least 6 hours up to 24 hours).
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  5. Remove turkey from the liquid and give it a quick shake off.
  6. In a baking dish place turkey legs, aromatics and a 1/4 cup of water. Drizzle a little preferred cooking oil over the turkey legs. Make a foil tent over the baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Baste the turkey. Continue to cook uncovered for at least 15 minutes until browned and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (baking time will vary with the size of the turkey legs). Baste again. Let turkey rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

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