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You don't need to fully cook smoked turkey drumsticks, but the best way to reheat them is in the oven.
Image Credit: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages

Smoked turkey drumsticks make a wonderfully nutritious addition to any meal. Technically, the smoking process fully cooks the meat, so while you don't have to cook it yourself, you'll need to know how to properly reheat them.


Reheating turkey drumsticks is pretty simple, and the best way to do it is in the oven at a roasting temperature. You want to be careful not to use high heat, or your turkey legs will come out tough and dry.

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Fortunately, cooking smoked turkey legs to tender, juicy perfect isn't difficult — it just involves a little patience and a few simple rules.


Turkey, whether you're cooking it at home or it comes pre-cooked and smoked, is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, per the USDA.

You can reheat smoked turkey legs in your oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6 to 8 minutes per pound for a tender, juicy result.

Are Pre-Smoked Turkey Legs Fully Cooked?

It's important to eat meat that is cooked thoroughly to lessen the chance of getting a foodborne illness. Virtually all pre-smoked turkey legs are fully cooked, so it's almost certain you'll only need to reheat them before eating, not cook them from scratch, as you would with fresh turkey.

Smoked turkey legs are pre-cooked in a smoker, which gives the meat a distinctly smokey flavor and darker color compared to fresh turkey legs. Smoked turkey is typically more expensive, too, because it's pre-cooked.

That said, it's still vital to check the label on the smoked turkey legs you buy, as there may be some exceptions to this rule.


Even though smoked turkey meat looks pink, it's still safe to eat, according to the USDA.

The color is from the nitrites found in cured and smoked meats, so you should judge the safety of the meat by internal temperature rather than color.

What to Look for When Buying Smoked Turkey Drumsticks

Smoked turkey drumsticks are sold at most grocery stores. When you're shopping for smoked turkey legs, there are a few things you should look for:


The Meat

How the meat looks may give you an idea of the quality. Look for turkey legs that are plump with a good amount of meat on the bones and have a red or brown color.

The Price

Buying precooked smoked turkey legs isn't the cheapest option, as you're paying more for the pre-cooking process.


Check the prices for a few different products and select once you're comfortable with. Just take note, cheaper products may not always be the best as they may compromise on meat quality.


Expiration or 'Sell-By' Date

Make sure to look for an expiration or "sell-by" date on the packaging of smoked turkey legs. This will help you determine if it will last until you plan to prepare it.


Keep in mind that the sell-by date doesn't indicate that the meat has gone bad, but it may help you determine whether it's fresh enough for your liking.

Other Ingredients

Before you buy smoked turkey legs, check the ingredients list and make sure it's short. A product listing a ton of ingredients likely has artificial ingredients and preservatives that are probably best avoided.



Smoked meat products can be high in sodium, which is not only bad for your heart, but also gives the meat a very salty taste. Look for smoked turkey drumsticks that have 500 milligrams or less of sodium, such as these from Diestel Family Ranch ($13.95, Diestel).

How to Cook Smoked Turkey Legs in the Oven

The best way to prepare pre-cooked smoked turkey legs is to put them in the oven to roast at a low temperature.


According to the USDA, here's how to reheat cooked turkey legs:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a large baking sheet, place down a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap your smoked turkey drumsticks in.
  3. Sprinkle the turkey legs with a little water or broth, which will help you avoid tough turkey legs.
  4. Heat the turkey legs until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F. It will probably take about 6 to 8 minutes per pound to reheat pre-smoked cooked turkey. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.



Avoiding Tough Turkey Legs

You don't want your smoked turkey legs to come out tough and dry. To avoid it, sprinkle them with a liquid like water or broth before wrapping them in foil and cooking them in the oven.

Other Ways to Cook Smoked Turkey Drumsticks


It doesn't get much more convenient than putting your cooked smoked turkey drumsticks in the air fryer for a perfectly crispy outside and wonderfully tender inside.

Here's how to use your air fryer to cook smoked turkey legs:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375 F.
  2. Place the smoked turkey legs in the air fryer basket.
  3. Air-fry the turkey legs for about 5 minutes, then open the air fryer to turn the legs so they heat through evenly.
  4. Cook the turkey legs for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until they reach your desired crispness.

Slow Cooker

Another way you can heat up smoked turkey drumsticks is putting them in the slow cooker with some liquid, which will help the meat come out tender and juicy. Here's how:

  1. Place your smoked turkey drumsticks in the slow cooker.
  2. Add just enough water or broth to cover the turkey legs and place the lid on the slow cooker. enough liquid of your choice, like chicken stock, to the slow cooker, just enough to cover the turkey legs.
  3. Set the slow cooker on low and cook your smoked turkey legs for 45 minutes, or until the meat reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 F.
  4. Remove the smoked turkey legs from the slow cooker and allow to cool before serving.

Storing Leftover Smoked Turkey Legs

If you have leftover turkey, you'll want to make sure to store it in a way that preserves the flavor without drying out the meat.

To store them in the fridge or freezer, wrap your smoked turkey drumsticks in plastic wrap or foil and put them in an airtight container. they'll last three to four days in the fridge and 3 to 6 months in the freezer if stored correctly.


Make sure to check the expiration date on the packaging for your smoked turkey legs.

Are Smoked Turkey Drumsticks Healthy?

Cooking smoked turkey legs make delicious dinner with some impressive nutritional benefits.

There are about 170 calories in a turkey leg, according to the USDA. They're also low in saturated fat, and offer 32.6 micrograms of selenium, which is 59 percent of the daily value (DV). Selenium is an important mineral for thyroid function and imme health, according to the ODS.

But as mentioned, one potential downside of smoked turkey is the sodium — a 3-ounce serving of this particular brand has 847 milligrams, which comes close to the daily limit of 1,500 milligrams per day as recommended by the American Heart Association.




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