You’ll Never Believe What The Difference Is Between Turkey Leg And Chicken Leg!

turkey leg vs chicken leg

Do you know the difference between a turkey leg and a chicken leg? Well, here’s your chance to find out.

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In this article, we will discuss how each type of meat distinguishes it from the other.

We’ll also give you the pros and cons of each one so that you can make an informed decision when ordering at your next tailgate party or barbecue.

So let’s get started!

What are turkey legs?

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We are all familiar with the whole baked turkey on Thanksgiving dinner.

However, many of us don’t know that turkey legs are also a great cut for plenty of mouth-watering dishes.

Turkey legs literally refer to the leg of the turkey, from the thigh to the meat right below the knee.

However, in contrast to a chicken leg, which consists of a chicken thigh and a chicken drumstick with a T-bone shape, a turkey leg looks like a giant chicken drumstick instead.

Therefore, a turkey leg is typically sold with bone-in and skin-on.

The most popular way to cook turkey legs is by smoking them.

You can also easily buy turkey legs that are already smoked in any grocery store in America.

However, you can also grill, bake, or deep-fry turkey legs, just like what you usually do with chicken legs.

What are chicken legs?

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Similar to turkey legs, chicken legs come from the leg section of the chicken, from the bird’s hip to the claw.

However, since chicken feet are usually discarded or sold separately from the upper parts of the chicken legs, a chicken leg usually just refers to the thigh (the upper section) and the drumstick (the lower portion) attached together by a knee bone.

Chicken legs can be cooked in numerous ways, such as grilling, baking, braising, or just boiling.

Since this cut is considered the dark meat chicken, it is juicier and more flavorful than the white meat counterpart like the chicken breast which is quite bland and dry.

Chicken legs typically come bone-in and skin-on so that when cooking with direct heat, the skin will become crispy and turn golden, the fat is rendered and keeps the meat moist and even more tasty.

What are the differences between turkey legs vs chicken legs?

It seems that turkey legs and chicken legs are relatively the same, but they actually differ in many ways.

Look at the table below and you can see how turkey legs and chicken legs distinguish from each other:

 ComparisonTurkey legsChicken legs
Where it comes fromFrom the turkey’s leg (look like a giant chicken drumstick)From the chicken’s leg, including the thigh and the drumstick with a T-bone shape
SizeLargerSmaller but wider because it is cut to the hip of the bird
TextureLeanerFattier but juicier
TasteTaste like chicken with a stronger flavor, sometimes akin to duck or porkMilder but flavorful than chicken breast
Common useSmokedGrilled, baked
Cooking timeLonger due to larger sizeShorter

What are the similarities between turkey legs vs chicken legs?

Despite many differences between turkey legs and chicken legs, these two leg cuts have several things in common, as mentioned below:

1. Turkey legs and chicken legs are dark meat poultry

The leg sections are considered less healthy because they are dark meat with more fat content than the white meat section like chicken or turkey breast.

This characteristic has pros and cons at the same time.

Although the dark meat poultry is fattier, it tastes more flavorful and juicier.

So if you want to make it healthier, remove the skin while eating or before cooking, and grill or smoke it instead of deep-frying in a lot of oil.

2. Both cuts can be cooked the same ways and used interchangeably in some cases

Another similarity between turkey legs and chicken legs is that they can be cooked in numerous ways.

For example, you can marinate them with the same common spices like onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, salt, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice before grilling, baking, roasting, or smoking.

When they are boneless, turkey legs and chicken legs can be swapped in stew or soup dishes.

But keep in mind that turkey legs are larger than chicken legs, you should adjust the cooking time and the number of legs that are suitable for your family serving size to avoid leftovers.

Which one is better?

So, the bottom line is that a turkey leg and a chicken leg are very different, but also very similar.

Turkey legs are a great alternative to their chicken counterparts due to their healthier nutritional content.

But chicken legs are still great sources of protein and many other essential nutrients.

So feel free to choose any type you prefer that is more available and budget-friendly.