How Long To Cook Turkey Legs In Oven: Everything You Need to Know
Turkey is a popular poultry meat that is often associated with special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Turkey legs, in particular, are a favorite among meat lovers because of their delicious flavor and juicy texture. If you’re planning to cook turkey legs in the oven, the first question that comes to mind is, how long do I need to cook them? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cooking turkey legs in the oven, including tips, tricks, and FAQs.
How to Prepare Turkey Legs for Cooking
Before we dive into how long to cook turkey legs in the oven, let’s discuss how to prepare them for cooking. The first thing you need to do is to remove the skin from the turkey legs. This will not only reduce the fat content but also allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat. Season the meat with salt, black pepper, and any other desired seasonings. You can also marinate the turkey legs in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs for added flavor. Once the turkey legs are seasoned, place them in a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
How to Cook Turkey Legs in the Oven
There are several ways to cook turkey legs in the oven. Here are three of the most popular methods:
1. Roasting: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the baking dish with the turkey legs in the oven. Roast the turkey legs for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Baste the turkey legs with pan juices every 15-20 minutes to keep them moist.
2. Braising: Preheat your oven to 300°F. In a separate pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Sear the turkey legs on both sides until they are browned. Transfer the turkey legs to a baking dish with some chicken or vegetable broth. Braise the turkey legs in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
3. Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the turkey legs for 15-20 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Brush the turkey legs with some BBQ sauce during the last 10 minutes of grilling for added flavor.
How Long to Cook Turkey Legs in the Oven
Now that we’ve discussed how to cook turkey legs in the oven, let’s answer the burning question, how long do you cook turkey legs in the oven? The cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the turkey legs. Generally, you should cook turkey legs in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F. The internal temperature of the cooked turkey legs should be 165°F. You can use a meat thermometer to check if the turkey legs are cooked to the correct temperature.
It’s essential to remember that the cooking time may differ if you use a different cooking method or oven temperature. For instance, if you braise the turkey legs, you may need to cook them for 1.5 to 2 hours in a 300°F oven. Similarly, grilling turkey legs takes less time than roasting and should be cooked for 15-20 minutes on each side.
Tips and Tricks
Cooking turkey legs in the oven can be easy if you follow these tips and tricks:
1. Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your turkey legs are cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The temperature should read 165°F.
2. Baste with pan juices: Basting turkey legs with pan juices every 15-20 minutes will keep them moist and enhance the flavor.
3. Use a baking dish with parchment paper: Lining your baking dish with parchment paper will prevent the meat from sticking to the pan and make cleaning up a breeze.
4. Let the meat rest: Once the turkey legs are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and juicy.
Here are some frequently asked questions about cooking turkey legs in the oven:
Q: Should you cover turkey legs when cooking in the oven?
A: It’s not necessary to cover turkey legs when cooking in the oven. However, if you notice that the meat is getting too dry, you can cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Q: Can you cook turkey legs from frozen?
A: It’s not recommended to cook turkey legs from frozen because it will take longer to cook, and the meat may not cook evenly.
Q: Can you cook turkey legs at a lower temperature for longer?
A: Yes, you can cook turkey legs at a lower temperature for longer. For instance, if you braise the turkey legs, you can cook them in a 300°F oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Q: How do you know if the turkey legs are cooked?
A: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey legs. The temperature should be 165°F.
In summary, cooking turkey legs in the oven can be a breeze if you follow the tips and tricks discussed in this article. The cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the turkey legs, but you can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Whether you roast, braise, or grill your turkey legs, remember to let them rest before serving to allow the juices to redistribute. With these tips and tricks, you’re sure to impress your guests with succulent and flavorful turkey legs.