How to heat up Smoked “Fully Cooked” Turkey Drumsticks

turkey legs smokedI love the prepackaged smoked turkey drumsticks I buy at WalMart and I found how to cook them fall-off-the-bone-tender. (See recipe below for light and lowfat collard greens with smoked turkey legs.)  First I Googled how to heat the Eddy’s smoked turkey drumsticks and got a lot of wrong answers.  Most said simply heat them up in the oven or microwave — that leaves them very, very tough.  I experimented to find how to heat them so they are tender. I found the juiciest way to cook them so they fall right off the bone. This applies also for the Frick’s Smoked Turkey Drums and Alexander & Hornung Smoked Turkey Legs I cooked them in the oven for years, but I now prefer cooking them on the stove — see directions below for both methods.   

At dawn on Thanksgiving morning 2011, my oven element went out.   I put the two turkey legs in a few inches of water in a large, deep pan and tight lid and simmered them for half an hour, then poured out the salty water and filled it with fresh, back to a simmer for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  They fell off the bone and were delicious.  I now prefer this method.

I put the drumsticks in a 225 degree oven in a large metal pan with an inch or two of water, covered tightly with aluminum foil.  After 90 minutes, I checked the drumsticks and turned them over to put the dry side in the liquid.  Back in the oven for another 90 minutes. Check it.  Depending on the size of your drumsticks, you might want to go another half hour.  If so, make sure you’ve got water in the pan still.  It was delicious, moist, fall off the bone tender.
IF YOU USE A GLASS PAN, your cooking time will be longer.

Adam Tritt on Facebook gave me this interesting data:  “A few hours in the oven at 175 would make it fall apart and still be very moist. Roasting pot, covered but cracked open to the heat of the oven isn’t increased in the pot but the moisture stays inside the pot.  The elastin will disappear by the long, slow heat and there will be nothing to hold the tissue together, thus, no toughness. High heats (300 and up) tend to solidify elastin. You can do the same thing with a whole turkey or roast or what-have-you, but it can take up to eight hours. Worth it though. On the plus side, no minding is needed. ### end of Adams tip.

That’s good to know and Adam’s right – I did it once at the 300 degree heat and it was not as tender.  At 250 it was more tender, and at 225 degrees it fell off the bone.

WARNING:  The Rogerwood Smoked and Cured Turkey Drumsticks are NOT the same.  They are highly concentrated and even after replacing the water 3 times in 3 hours, I found the meat was waaay too salty to be eaten by itself.  Might be yummy in greens, but a little goes a loooooong way!

RELATED: Light and lowfat collards greens with smoked turkey legs

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