Wild Recipes

Smoked and Pulled Wild Turkey Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

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Pulled-meat sandwiches are a staple for me year-round, but there is something about the combination of meat, bread, and a little bit of sauce that screams “Summer”.

Pulled pork sandwiches are my favorite item at barbecue restaurants and I crave them often. However, I do not want to constantly eat out, so I decided to devise a way to use game meat to recreate those sandwiches.

After I started turkey hunting, I discovered that wild turkey legs taste eerily similar to red meat, so I figured pulled wild turkey leg would be a great stand-in for pulled pork on a sandwich.

I have experimented with pulled turkey both on the smoker and in the slow cooker. As it turns out, the smoker reigns supreme.

The following recipe has become my go-to way to prepare wild turkey legs. These sandwiches are a great way to ring in summer when the turkey season comes to a close.

Serving Size: 6

Time to Make: 3 to 3.5 hours

Also Works With: Other large game birds such as geese

Looking for more wild turkey recipes? Why not try out this Jerked Wild Turkey recipe?

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Smoked and Pulled Wild Turkey Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Recipe by Quincy Milton
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Course: Wild Recipes


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  • For the Pulled Turkey
  • 2 wild turkey legs (drumsticks and thighs)

  • Smoked paprika

  • Kosher salt

  • Seasoning salt

  • Black pepper

  • 6 Brioche buns (or your bun of choice)

  • Coleslaw (optional)

  • For the Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 ¼ cup of ketchup

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • Pinch garlic powder

  • Pinch smoked paprika

  • Pinch black pepper

  • Pinch kosher salt


  • Preheat your smoker to 200°F
  • Skin two turkey legs and season both sides liberally with paprika, seasoning salt, kosher salt, and pepper.
  • Once the smoker has reached the desired temperature, place the legs on the smoker and set a timer for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Cook turkey for the duration of the timer or until the internal temperature of the thickest section of the turkey leg reaches 165°F. The total time may vary depending on the size of the legs and may take up to 3 hours.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow it to rest under a foil tent for ten minutes.
  • Start the barbecue sauce with approximately 30 minutes left on the turkey timer. In a medium saucepan, heat apple cider vinegar, ketchup, mustard, paprika, kosher salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar over low heat. To kick up the heat, add additional pepper to suit your tastes. Continually stir ingredients until they are well-mixed. Once mixed, simmer the sauce and stir periodically for ten seconds until it begins to slightly firm up. Be careful not to let it go too long or you will end up with a pasty sauce. Once the sauce has achieved the desired texture, remove it from heat and set half aside in a heatproof bowl.
  • With the sauce finished and the turkey rested, it’s time to “pull” the turkey. Start by cutting larger and thicker parts of the meat from the bone. Pull the large pieces apart along the natural grain. The remaining meat still on the bone can be pulled off by hand. The pulled meat can be further chopped to achieve the desired thickness.
  • Toss the pulled meat into half of the sauce.
  • Place the turkey mixture onto the buns and top with the set aside sauce. Optionally top the sandwich with coleslaw.
  • Serve with corn, watermelon, or the summer staple of your choice and enjoy!

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Quincy Milton

Quincy is an avid fly fisherman and bird hunter who approaches outdoor activities from the perspective of an outdoor scientist. He loves experimenting with wild game recipes, especially when it involves a smoker.

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