BBQ Turkey Legs

Growing up, my dad cooked most of the meals. The only time my mom ever cooked was if dad was out of town. I never really understood why she didn't cook more… she's quite good at it. I think my dad just really enjoyed it, so she let him do it.

Of the things she would make for my sisters and I, the one we would request the most was definitely her turkey legs. They were incredible. She smothered them in homemade barbeque sauce and then slow roasted them in the oven with onions and lemon slices. And she always served them with a side of buttered egg noodles. I have many fond memories of those turkey legs. And to be honest, I don't know if my dad has ever tasted them, since he was always away on business trips whenever she made them. He's missing out.

So this isn't her actual recipe for homemade BBQ sauce… it's mine. I've toyed with it several times in the last year, and all I can tell you is that it tastes just like hers, and I get real nostalgic whenever I eat it. I've consulted her on the ingredient list though, and she approves. Unfortunately, given that we live in different states, I haven't had the opportunity to make it for her yet, but hopefully someday I will.

Turkey legs don't exactly photograph well, but who cares. They're delicious!

Making BBQ sauce is super easy, and you probably already have everything you need for it in your pantry. Obviously, it takes some extra effort, but you may find it's worth it. I think it is, anyway. It tastes better, and you can control the amount of sugar in it. Most store bought BBQ sauces have either sugar or high fructose corn syrup listed in the top 3 ingredients. I'm not super strict about cutting out sugar, but we all know excessive sugar is bad for us, and I have noticed that I feel better when I eat less of it. And really, "high fructose corn syrup" doesn't exactly say "dinner time" to me.
If you need more convincing, just remember that it's also cheaper to make your own.

If you can't find turkey legs (or don't like them), you can absolutely use this sauce and cooking method with chicken legs. I've done it many times with chicken legs, and it's damn good. The cooking time is shorter (about one hour in total), but it's the same basic idea.

Yield: 6 Turkey Legs or 12 Chicken Legs



  1. Preheat oven to 325 °F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all BBQ sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Line a 2" deep baking dish with aluminum foil to make your life easier later.
  4. Pour the BBQ sauce into the baking dish.
  5. Roll each turkey leg in the sauce and then arrange them all in the pan so that they fit snuggly.
  6. Scatter the sliced onions and lemon over the top of the coated turkey legs.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. (30 minutes for chicken legs)
  8. Uncover, and rotate each drumstick in the pan. Really cover those bad boys in sauce. Shove the now softened onions down into the sauce too.
  9. Bake, uncovered, for another hour, or until legs are tender and cooked through. (30 minutes for chicken legs)
  10. Serve these juicy, tender legs with a side of rice or noodles. Top with more sauce from the pan and don't forget the onions!!!
Some damn good comfort food right there!