Reheat Smoked Turkey Legs Like a Pro: Juicy Leftovers Every Time!

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Hey there, grill masters! I’ve been smoking up turkey legs for years, and let me tell you, getting that perfect balance of smoky flavor and juicy tenderness is an art. Getting that smoky flavor just right while keeping the meat nice and moist takes skill and know-how.

After plating up pile after pile of succulent smoked turkey legs at the now-closed Boat Basin Cafe in New York, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. Now I’m bringing my chef expertise to help you revive leftovers and achieve tender, juicy perfection every time.

Ready to ditch dry, flavorless leftovers? Buckle up, because we’re about to learn how to reheat smoked turkey legs like a pro! 🍗🔥

Roasted turkey leg with potatoes on the dinner table
roasted turkey leg with potatoes on the dinner table

Quick Answer: how to reheat smoked turkey legs

⏰ Short on time? No worries! Here’s the lowdown:

Oven Bliss

Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). For the ultimate flavor boost, use chicken, turkey or apple cider broth instead of plain water. About 1/4 cup of broth does the trick.

You can also add aromatics like garlic, onion, and herbs for extra depth.

Wrap your smoked turkey leg tightly in foil to trap steam and moisture. Different cuts will have different reheating times:

  • Turkey drumsticks take 30-35 minutes
  • Larger turkey thighs need 35-45 minutes

Bake until the thickest part of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Use an instant-read thermometer to test doneness.

Checking the temperature of the turkey. It's not cooked enough yet, only 160
checking the temperature of the turkey it s not cooked enough yet only 160

For even more flavor, try rubbing the turkey with a spice blend before foil wrapping. Here is my go-to 5 spice turkey rub:

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients then generously coat the turkey leg before wrapping it in foil. The spice rub adds a burst of sweet, savory flavor!

Wrap those turkey legs in foil like a cozy blanket! It traps all that steam, keeping the meat moist and delicious. This is my reliable, fuss-free method for reheating moist and tasty smoked turkey legs.

Microwave Magic

Don’t underestimate the microwave for reheating juicy smoked turkey legs! The key is using the right power level and cook times.

👉 Step by step:

  • Place your turkey leg on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of broth, water, or wine for extra moisture.
  • Cover with a microwave-safe lid or vented plastic wrap to trap heat and steam.

Instead of loosely covering it with a paper towel, I recommend using a microwave-safe lid or vented plastic wrap. This traps more heat and steam for even cooking.

Microwave using lower power levels so food heats gently and evenly from the inside out. The timing depends on the size and thickness of your particular turkey leg:

Microwave Cooking Instructions

Turkey PartPower LevelTime
Small drumsticks50% power2-3 minutes per pound
Larger thighs40% power5-7 minutes per pound
  • Flip the turkey leg halfway through cooking to ensure even moisture absorption.
  • Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F.
  • If needed, add more liquid and continue microwaving in 30-second bursts to avoid drying out.

📝 Key Tips for Success

  • Be patient: Quality reheating takes time.
  • Use an appropriate lid to ensure moisture retention.
  • Lower the power to prevent uneven heating and drying out.
  • Adjust cooking time based on the thickness of your turkey leg for perfectly reheated, juicy results.

Ready to Dive Deeper? Unleash the Flavor!

Smoked turkey on bbq grill during the holidays
smoked turkey on bbq grill during the holidays

Take your reheated smoked turkey legs to the next level with these advanced flavor-boosting techniques.

Smoke it Again (Lightly)

A second round of smoking reinvigorates that sweet, smoky essence. But avoid over smoking which can make meat bitter and dry. The goal is just a kiss of supplemental smoke – about 15-20 minutes.

Tailor wood chips to your flavor preferences:

  • Applewood: Sweet, fruity smoke
  • Hickory: Robust, bacon-like smoke
  • Cherry: Mildly sweet, delicate smoke

For more smoke flavor sans drying, pair light smoking with moist reheating methods like broth basting or foil wrapping.

Flavorful Broth Boost

Bone meat chicken broth in a plate. Gray background. Top view
bone meat chicken broth in a plate gray background top view

Rather than plain water or oil, use flavor-packed broths!

BrothFlavor NotesGood For
Chicken BrothSavory, classicOven or stovetop
Apple CiderSweet, tangyOven or foil pouch
Beef BrothHearty, richSlow cooker or sous vide
Coconut MilkCreamy, exoticOven or microwave

For a budget option, make flavorful infused water with garlic, onions, peppers, citrus, herbs and spices. Use aromatics aligning with your cuisine theme – Mexican, Moroccan, Indian, etc.

“Ditch the boring water and boost the flavor with some yummy broth! Chicken, apple cider, even coconut milk – the possibilities are endless! These broths pack a real flavor punch, infusing your turkey with deliciousness.” I learned as a chef.

Spice Up Your Life

Kick up leftovers from boring to bold with zesty spice rubs. Try these recipes I crafted over the years:

Rub NameIngredients
Everyday BBQ Rub2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1⁄2 tsp salt, 1⁄4 tsp pepper
Moroccan Magic2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1⁄2 tsp cayenne
Tex-Mex Fiesta1 TB chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp lime zest

Additional Tips:

You can also use store-bought dry rubs like Meat Church or Traeger blends. Get creative with spices! ✨

💦More Moisture Masters

Lock in turkey moisture and savoriness with these advanced techniques:

Sous Vide Magic

Reheat Smoked Turkey Legs Like a Pro: Juicy Leftovers Every Time! 1
Anova Precision Cooker

Sous vide uses precise temperature-controlled water baths for even, gentle cooking. Benefits include:

  • Retains more moisture
  • Delivers very tender meat
  • Infuses flavor thoroughly
  • Ensures consistent doneness

You need an immersion circulator like this Anova Precision Cooker along with a large pot or tub for the water bath. Read my guide on How to Reheat Smoked Turkey to learn more.

Then simply submerge turkey leg in 160°F (71°C) water for 1-2 hours before finishing to desired crispness under the broiler or on the grill. Tenderlicious!

Foil Packet Power

For easy oven steaming, tightly wrap turkey legs in foil with:

  • Butter or olive oil
  • Lemon slices
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme
  • Sliced garlic cloves
  • Diced onion or shallots

These aromatics permeate the turkey with lovely flavors as it steams.

Breading Surprise

For an ultra-crispy crust, first dip legs in egg wash then coat them with Japanese panko breadcrumbs or crushed buttery crackers, potato chips, or pretzels. The crunchy exterior seals in luscious juices!

Beyond the Oven: Next-Level Leftover Techniques

Take your reheating game up a notch with these appliances designed for low, slow cooking with built-in tender-loving moisture!

Slow Cooker Sanctuary

Baby girl prepare dinner at home kitchen with slow cooker and releases steam from the steamer.
baby girl prepare dinner at home kitchen with slow cooker and releases steam from the steamer

A slow cooker’s indirect heat and steamy environment transforms even dried-out turkey legs into fork-tender masterpieces. Benefits include:

  • Very even, gentle heating
  • Locks in natural moisture
  • Infuses flavors thoroughly
  • Minimal checking or effort needed

Cook times:

  • Small drumsticks: 3-4 hours on Low
  • Large thighs: 6-8 hours on Low

I love tossing legs in the slow cooker overnight or before leaving for work. Come home to insanely tender, perfect turkey!

Air Fryer Fiesta

Plate of tasty Mexican flautas with cheese and guacamole
plate of tasty mexican flautas with cheese and guacamole

Air fryers use rapidly circulated hot air to create crispy exteriors while retaining interior moisture – perfect for reviving turkey skin.

Preheat air fryer to 350°F (177°C) then cook:

  • Turkey drumsticks: 8-12 minutes
  • Turkey thighs: 12-18 minutes

Flip halfway through and brush with oil or dry rub for extra crispness and flavor.

Make easy dipping sauces like honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or flavorful aiolis. I love pairing crispy skin with cool, tangy sauces!


Let’s get cooking and make some amazing leftover turkey! Now get out there, my friend, make some magic happen, and wow those tastebuds. The delicious leftovers await! 😋


How do you reheat smoked turkey leg without drying it out?

The keys are to use gentle, indirect heat and add extra moisture. Recommended methods include oven baking wrapped in foil with broth at 325°F until 165°F internal temperature; slow cooker with broth on low for 3-4 hours; or sous vide cooked in 160°F water bath for 1-2 hours.

How do you reheat a fully cooked smoked turkey?

Slice smoked turkey and place in a baking dish with turkey or chicken broth. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until heated through (165°F). For crispier skin, unwrap the foil last 5 minutes.

Are smoked turkey legs already cooked?

Yes, smoked turkey legs sold fully cooked. They just need reheating to the desired temperature before serving. Reheat pre-cooked smoked turkey legs to 165°F.

How do you reheat smoked turkey legs in an air fryer?

Pat turkey legs dry, rub with oil, and place in air fryer basket. Air fry at 370°F for 8-10 minutes flipping halfway, until skin is crispy and internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Is smoked turkey good reheated?

Yes, properly reheated smoked turkey makes delicious leftovers! The keys are gentle reheating, moisture addition, and getting it hot enough (165°F) without overcooking. Handled right, reheated smoked turkey can taste as good, if not better, than the original.

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