Skip to main content Skip to main content

Beer-Braised, Smoked Wild Turkey Legs Recipe

In this recipe, wild turkey legs are cooked low and slow – first simmered in beer and then smoked with mesquite wood.

Beer-Braised, Smoked Wild Turkey Legs Recipe

Beer-Braised, Smoked Wild Turkey Legs (Photo courtesy of Jack Hennessy)

Print Recipe

For many turkey hunters, the best-case scenario for spring legs involves a snug place at the bottom of the freezer, followed by a year or more collecting frost before any culinary attempt is made. Worst-case scenario: they’re left in the field with the tired phrase, “Coyotes gotta eat too.”

Why does this happen? Because turkey legs are tough when cooked the same as one would the breasts. Still, hunters with ample wild-game cooking experience understand that harder-working muscles on any animal require low-and-slow cooking methods to break down collagen and yield tenderness. What better method than a low simmer in beer followed by a mesquite smoke? (And yes, I know this isn’t exactly braising, but “Beer-Simmered” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

I used Walnut River Brewing’s Warbeard Irish Ale, as its caramel and toffee flavors do well with wild turkey, though they only ship to Kansas, Missouri, and Wyoming (yes, solid turkey states – something to consider next spring), but any quality (preferably microbrew) red ale will suffice. Prior to smoking, I liberally dusted with Bearded Butcher’s Original Spice blend, though, in a pinch, a mix of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika would work.

I opted for whole mesquite wood chunks on my Pyro Tower, which due to design heavily concentrates smoke. I did my best to keep temps around 200, as a low, heavy smoke not only adds flavor, but also firms up the meat a bit, which is perfect after several hours braising.

Serves: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours


  • 2 whole completely thawed wild turkey legs (without thighs)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 24 ounces Warbeard Irish Ale
  • 12 ounces chicken stock
  • Bearded Butcher’s Original or your preferred spice mix
  • Mesquite wood for smoking


  1. Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place turkey legs and smashed garlic cloves, diced onion and celery, and coriander seeds in an oven-safe baking dish.

    wild turkey legs
    Place ingredients in an oven-safe baking dish. (Photo courtesy of Jack Hennessy)
  3. Squeeze lemon overtop and cover with beer, followed by chicken stock (ratio should be 2:1 beer to stock). Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven.
  4. Let braise for 4 hours, checking every hour to make certain liquids still cover legs (add more beer if too much has evaporated).
  5. After 4 hours, set smoker to 200 and liberally rub legs with spice mix.
  6. Smoke legs for half-hour to 1 hour, depending on desired texture and smoky flavor.

    wild turkey legs
    Smoked wild turkey legs with Warbeard Irish Ale and Bearded Butcher’s Original seasoning. (Photo courtesy of Jack Hennessy)

    wild turkey legs bones
    Wild turkey bones (Photo courtesy of Jack Hennessy)

Enjoy! Reach out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or comments.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Pheasant Egg Rolls Recipe

Pheasant Egg Rolls Recipe

These egg rolls come together fast, making them a great choice for an afternoon snack, a tailgate appetizer or as a side dish with an Asian-inspired wild-game dinner. No birds in the freezer? Use the same technique with ground venison.

Venison Pastrami Recipe

Venison Pastrami Recipe

Skip the deli and make your own pastrami from whitetails, mule deer, elk or other cuts of venison. The process is simple, though it does take some time for the meat to brine and smoke. This technique also works great with goose or ducks breasts as well.

Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Take your venison loin to a whole new level with this delicious reverse-seared stuffed elk backstrap. Smoking the backstrap on a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill first, then finishing it on a blazing-hot skillet or flattop, creates a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak with a crispy, seared exterior. The filling of diced mushrooms and creamy Boursin cheese adds a whole new level of amazing flavors to an otherwise classic smoked venison loin.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Petersen's Hunting stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now