How to Reheat a Smoked Turkey Leg

It is not difficult to reheat a smoked turkey leg.
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Things You'll Need

  • Cooked turkey

  • Oven-proof or micro-proof pans

  • Paring knife

  • Foil

  • Conventional or microwave oven

Whether you're a hobbyist with your own smoker, or just buy smoked turkey pieces at the supermarket, smoking gives the big bird a richer, deeper flavor than you can get by other methods. Store-bought smoked turkey is fully cooked and ready to eat, cold or warmed, but warming certainly helps bring out the flavors. The best way to reheat smoked turkey legs is in a low oven, but you can use your microwave if you're in a hurry.

The Oven Method

Turkey legs contain lots of tendon and connective tissue, which can become tough if overheated. The best way to reheat turkey legs is to think of them as small, tasty pot roasts, and treat them accordingly: Warm them slowly in a low oven, with a bit of moisture to keep them from drying out.

Step 1

Heat your oven to a temperature between 225 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the turkey leg in a heatproof baking dish with a tight-fitting lid. Add a splash of water or broth to the dish, and aromatics such as celery or onion if desired. Cover with the lid, or foil.

Step 2

Transfer the legs to your preheated oven.

Step 3

Slow-roast for approximately 2 hours, turning once, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg shows that it has reached a food safe temperature. As with hams, if you're heating a store-bought, factory-sealed leg you only need to bring it to 140 F. If the leg was packaged in-store, or if you're reheating your own leftover smoked turkey leg, it should come to 165 F like any other leftovers.

The Microwave Method

The microwave method won't leave your turkey legs quite as lush and falling-apart tender, but it also doesn't take hours. That makes it a more practical weeknight option.

Step 1

Debone the leg meat, slicing neatly from the thick part of the leg (if you wish) and then shredding the rest. Remove as much tendon and gristle as you can.

Step 2

Transfer the deboned meat to a microwaveable dish, and add a few tablespoons of water or broth. Cover the dish with its lid, or plastic film. Set the microwave for 50 percent power.

Step 3

Heat the turkey in 30 second increments, stirring periodically, until it is warmed through. The time will vary depending on the power of your microwave and the amount of smoked turkey you're heating, but will typically take 3 minutes or less.

Step 4

Serve the rewarmed turkey immediately with appropriate side dishes. Only microwave as much smoked turkey as you plan to use in one meal, because after it cools its texture will be dry and less than appetizing.

Tip

An easy way to heat turkey (or vegetables or frozen cooked shrimp) for pasta is to put it into the colander before draining the pasta; the boiling water heats the turkey. Simply toss and add seasoning or sauce for a finished dish. The smoky flavor of the turkey flavors the pasta more thoroughly that when the meat is added at the last minute.

You can also put deboned turkey leg meat directly into casseroles and pastas, adding the meat to the dish just before it goes in the oven or into the sauce as it heats. Once the meat has been cut into bite-sized pieces, there is no need to heat it separately. It need only be heated to serving temperature with the rest of the dish.

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