This recipe is a long time coming. We made this for New Year’s Eve and I totally forgot all about it. Yeah, it happens a lot, unsurprisingly.
After my Mom’s successful experiment with brining, she wanted to test it out on turkey. I mean, we all know turkey can get super dry and leathery if not done right. So for her, she decided to first use only turkey drumsticks. Secondly, she wanted a brine that not only flavours but tenderizes the meat.
Here’s where I come in. I provided the suggestions. Use vinegar and orange for some tenderizing action. Dried rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, star anise & peppercorns for herbiness. Plenty of salt. And most importantly, water and time. She brined them for 2 days.
After the brining, I found that the high vinegar content kinda made the skin and flesh white. I guess something with so much acid can begin to cook the meat. But anyway, it was all really good and nice.
We then roasted it for about 2 hours until the internal temperature reached. Because we haven’t made turkey much, my brother and I figured it would be better to use a meat thermometer. Didn’t want to risk getting salmonella infected food!
The turkey drumsticks are at the bottom left, if you can’t find it. We had a massive serving of food. And yes, that pasta is actually this one that my brother and I made. Yeah, it took that long for me to remember to post this recipe. Hmm..
Back to the turkey drumsticks, the meat was juicy and tender. I love that the fragrance of the oranges came through well and paired with the various spices. It was incredible. There was so much to go around that I got to take some home for dinner the next day. Bonus! We ate so much… like really so much.
Some people like to rinse their brined meat before cooking but we didn’t. If you are afraid of too much salt getting to the meat, you can rinse. We chose not to because we didn’t want to dilute the flavours and it turned out just perfect for us. Definitely more turkey in our horizon.
” I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
Orange Spiced Turkey Legs
makes 7 turkey legs, serves 10-15
7 Turkey Drumsticks/Legs (appx 1 lbs or 450gms each)
2 Oranges, sliced into rings
2 tbsp Black Peppercorns
3 tbsp dried Rosemary (or Italian Herbs)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tbsp Cloves
4 Star Anise
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1.5 cups Coarse Salt
4 cups Ice Cubes
Enough Water to cover Turkey Legs (we used about 1 gallon or about 4 litres)*
- Make very sure you use a container that fits all the turkey legs as well as the water needed.
- To make the brine, bring water & vinegar to a boil. Scatter in peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, star anise & salt.
- Toss in ice cubes and leave brine to cool until room temperature.
- Carefully place in turkey legs. Brine them, covered in a refrigerator for 1-2 days. I wouldn’t recommend going any longer because the acid would do funny things to the meat later on.
- When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 350F or 170 C.
- Remove turkey legs from brine and pat them very dry with paper towels. Lay them on a foil lined baking tray, making sure the tray isn’t overcrowded.
- Pat dry orange slices and place over the turkey legs for more flavour and juiciness.
- Roast for about 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 170F or 75C.
- Serve with a nice salad and eat with your fingers. 🙂
* I left the measurement for water ambiguous because it really depends on your container and how much it can take. Just measure it out before making the brine, remembering that the ice cubes will also take up some space when melted.