How to Cook a Turkey Drumstick

A freshly roasted turkey drumstick
A freshly roasted turkey drumstick

When Thanksgiving or Christmas rolls round each year and turkeys are served up in their tens of millions around the Western world, the drumsticks are probably the portions which cause most family arguments. Even the biggest of turkeys of course incorporate only two of them so disputes of this type are often unavoidable - or are they? There are actually two obvious ways around this problem and the first and most obvious is to buy individual drumsticks as well as or instead of the main bird. The second is to buy separate turkey drumsticks outwith those special festive seasons and make them less of a coveted novelty.

This page is dedicated to looking firstly at an easy way to cook an individual turkey drumstick and secondly to how to make it stretch to two main meals and a hearty snack, perfect for lunch or a late night treat.

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How to Roast a Turkey Drumstick

Turkey drumstick ready to be prepared for roasting
Turkey drumstick ready to be prepared for roasting

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour 15 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
  • Yields: Two to three servings

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey drumstick
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated or minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pint fresh chicken stock

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Frozen turkey drumstickRub ingredients for roasting turkey drumstickTurkey drumstick roasting rubRoasting rub is carefully inserted under the skin of the turkey drumstickTurkey drumstick ready for roastingRoast turkey drumstick removed from the ovenRoast turkey drumstick is left to rest
Frozen turkey drumstick
Frozen turkey drumstick
Rub ingredients for roasting turkey drumstick
Rub ingredients for roasting turkey drumstick
Turkey drumstick roasting rub
Turkey drumstick roasting rub
Roasting rub is carefully inserted under the skin of the turkey drumstick
Roasting rub is carefully inserted under the skin of the turkey drumstick
Turkey drumstick ready for roasting
Turkey drumstick ready for roasting
Roast turkey drumstick removed from the oven
Roast turkey drumstick removed from the oven
Roast turkey drumstick is left to rest
Roast turkey drumstick is left to rest
  1. If your turkey drumstick has been frozen, you will need to thaw it out in the fridge for twenty-four hours. Remove any wrapping and lay it in a deep dish. Cover the dish with fresh clingfilm and lay it in the bottom of your fridge to prevent the risk of cross-contamination of other food. Be sure to remove the turkey drumstick from the fridge a couple of hours before it is to be cooked to allow it to come up to room temperature.
  2. While you are preparing the drumstick for roasting, start your oven preheating to 170C/350F.
  3. Put the butter, sage and garlic in to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use your hand to mix and and squeeze it all together to ensure even combination.
  4. Wash the turkey drumstick in cold water and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Very carefully, slide your hand under the skin on the top side of the drumstick to free it from the flesh. It is a good idea to make sure you have short nails and to remove any sharp edged rings before doing this as it is is imperative you do not tear the skin.
  5. Push the butter combination under the skin and massage it as evenly as possible over the flesh of the turkey.
  6. Lay the drumstick on a deep roasting tray and pour the chicken stock around it. The stock should just cover the base of the tray and no more. Put the tray in to the oven for one hour and fifteen minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time.
  7. When you take the drumstick from the oven, you have to make sure it is properly cooked. To do this, pierce it at its thickest part with a skewer and make sure the juices run clear. Give it another ten minutes in the oven and test again, should this not be the case.
  8. Lift the drumstick to a deep dish, set aside and rest for a minimum of twenty minutes before attempting to carve.

How to Carve a Turkey Drumstick

Starting to carve the meat from a turkey drumstick
Starting to carve the meat from a turkey drumstick

Carving a turkey drumstick is not like carving the breast of a turkey or even a turkey thigh. This is because of the tendons/cartilages in the leg which are almost as tough as bone. You can start by carving the meat around the edges as you would a whole bird but as you encounter the cartilage, it is far easier to use your hands and pull the meat off in pieces.

When the turkey meat has been removed from the bone and cartilage, it can either be used immediately or stored in an airtight plastic dish in the fridge for up to a couple of days.

Meat removed from a turkey drumstick
Meat removed from a turkey drumstick

How Healthy is Turkey Leg Meat?

The stats below are for roasted turkey leg meat with the skin removed.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 71g
Calories 148
Calories from Fat63
% Daily Value *
Fat 7 g11%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Unsaturated fat 5 g
Protein 20 g40%
Cholesterol 60 mg20%
Sodium 55 mg2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Roast Turkey, Deep Fried Potatoes and Green Beans

Turkey drumstick meat, pan roasted potatoes and green beans
Turkey drumstick meat, pan roasted potatoes and green beans

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour*

Cook time: 40 min*

Ready in: 1 hour 40 min*

Yields: One serving

*Stats do not include cooking time of turkey


Ingredients

  • ½ the warm meat from the turkey drumstick
  • 6 baby new potatoes (or as required)
  • Handful of trimmed green beans
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rowan and apple jelly, cranberry sauce or garnish of choice

Instructions

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Boiled potatoes are drained and allowed to steam for five minutesBoiled and cooled potatoes are peeledPeeled potatoes are deep friedTrimmed grean beans are blanched in simmering, salted waterPotatoes are drained on kitchen paperTurkey meat and potatoes are plated
Boiled potatoes are drained and allowed to steam for five minutes
Boiled potatoes are drained and allowed to steam for five minutes
Boiled and cooled potatoes are peeled
Boiled and cooled potatoes are peeled
Peeled potatoes are deep fried
Peeled potatoes are deep fried
Trimmed grean beans are blanched in simmering, salted water
Trimmed grean beans are blanched in simmering, salted water
Potatoes are drained on kitchen paper
Potatoes are drained on kitchen paper
Turkey meat and potatoes are plated
Turkey meat and potatoes are plated
  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly but don't peel them before adding them to a pot of cold water. Season with salt and put the pot on the heat for the water to reach a simmer. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are just soft - around twenty-five minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the empty pot. Let them steam off for five to ten minutes before covering and leaving for about an hour to cool. This can all be done after your turkey leg is in the oven.
  3. When the potatoes are cool, carefully peel off the skins. Bring a deep frying pan of vegetable oil up to a high heat and fry the potatoes for about five minutes until golden and crisp.
  4. Put the beans in to some boiling salted water for two to three minutes.
  5. Lift the potatoes to a kitchen paper covered plate to drain and drain the beans.
  6. Plate the turkey followed by the potato and beans, adding the sauce accompaniment of choice.

Turkey and Mini Sausage Stuffed Pitta Bread with Ranch Dressing

Refried turkey leg meat, mini sausages and ranch dressing are incorporated in a pitta bread sandwich
Refried turkey leg meat, mini sausages and ranch dressing are incorporated in a pitta bread sandwich

Mini sausages (frequently in the form of chipolatas) are popularly served in the UK as part of the Christmas turkey dinner. This slightly different idea sees small cocktail sausages served with leftover cooked turkey meat in the form of a pitta bread sandwich.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: One pitta bread sandwich

  • 2 or 3 small turkey slices
  • 5 cocktail sausages
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 pitta bread
  • Ranch dressing

Instructions

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Gently frying mini sausagesTurkey meat is briefly fried and reheated with sausagesPitta bread is cut openSausages and turkey are stuffed in to pitta breadRanch dressing is added to sausages and turkey
Gently frying mini sausages
Gently frying mini sausages
Turkey meat is briefly fried and reheated with sausages
Turkey meat is briefly fried and reheated with sausages
Pitta bread is cut open
Pitta bread is cut open
Sausages and turkey are stuffed in to pitta bread
Sausages and turkey are stuffed in to pitta bread
Ranch dressing is added to sausages and turkey
Ranch dressing is added to sausages and turkey
  1. Pour a little oil in to a small frying pan and gently fry the sausages for three or four minutes until done. Add the turkey slices to fry for thirty seconds each side during the final minute. They require only to be heated through.
  2. Heat the pitta bread per the instructions on the pack. This is usually done under a grill/broiler or in a microwave oven.
  3. Cut the pitta bread open along one long side. Stuff with the sausages and turkey.
  4. Pour a little ranch dressing over the sausages and turkey and enjoy.

Turkey Drumstick, Rice Noodle and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

Turkey drumstick meat is stir fried with rice noodles, bell peppers and soy sauce
Turkey drumstick meat is stir fried with rice noodles, bell peppers and soy sauce

One of the biggest benefits of Chinese stir frying is the speed with which the food can be cooked and how quickly a meal is ready to serve. This is particularly true when using precooked meat. This basic stir fry was on the plate in less than ten minutes and although simple in the extreme, proved absolutely delicious.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • Handful of turkey leg meat
  • Handful of Chinese rice noodles
  • Handful of mixed sliced bell peppers
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled and finely diced)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Light soy sauce

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Turkey leg meat, rice noodles and sliced bell peppersStir frying rice noodlesSliced bell peppers are added to rice noodlesTurkey meat is added to noodles and peppersSoy sauce is added to turkey stir fry
Turkey leg meat, rice noodles and sliced bell peppers
Turkey leg meat, rice noodles and sliced bell peppers
Stir frying rice noodles
Stir frying rice noodles
Sliced bell peppers are added to rice noodles
Sliced bell peppers are added to rice noodles
Turkey meat is added to noodles and peppers
Turkey meat is added to noodles and peppers
Soy sauce is added to turkey stir fry
Soy sauce is added to turkey stir fry
  1. Bring a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil up to a very high heat in a wok.
  2. Add the rice noodles, the peppers and the galric and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Break the turkey up in to bite sized pieces. Add to the wok and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry for a further minute.
  4. Add a generous splash of light soy sauce and stir well to combine.
  5. Serve and eat immediately.

© 2013 Gordon Hamilton

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10 comments

Bujji 2 years ago

Turkey drumstick is really a tasty food,in my life i does not eat this type of taste .


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks for visiting zeninjagabby and I hope you have fun experimenting


zeninjagabby profile image

zeninjagabby 3 years ago from QC, Philippines

Bettah try to experiment with this soon! :)


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks janshares. I hope you like the butter under the skin method. It may not be the healthiest of techniques but it's a great way of introducing moisture and flavour to the meat :)


janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC

Hi Gordon, another great hub you have here. I fix turkey legs a lot so I look forward to trying the butter under the skin method. Offering other uses for left over turkey was brilliant. Voted up and useful.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Seems like you are indeed in a very fortunate position, randomcreative :) I'm sure many people will be jealous. Thanks for visiting.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I love turkey (and chicken) drumsticks and always seem to be in the minority in my family for the holidays. It means more for me so I can't complain too much. I love the idea of making other turkey recipes. Thanks!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, Bill :) I often buy a pack containing a turkey drumstick and thigh, using one straight away and freezing the other. It's good value and ideal for serving only one person. They're also a lot quicker to cook than a whole turkey!

Glad you like it, Zara.


Zara Silcock 3 years ago

Very nice.. thank you


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good introduction, universal theme and a topic that is unusual...all the ingredients for a successful article. Well done...I have never seen a recipe for just the drumstick before. :)

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