Cooked the right way, any food can be delicious, but there are few eating experiences quite as satisfying as ripping into a huge, succulent turkey leg. Thankfully here in Chicago, there are plenty of great restaurants that serve these huge (and hugely satisfying) servings of smoked poultry, and you don’t have to go to Six Flags or Medieval Times to get a hold of one. Here’s a look at our top five turkey legs in Chicago:
Manny’s – One of the stars of the Taste of Chicago over the course of the last three decades, the giant turkey legs from Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen are smothered in a tomato-based barbecue sauce that mixes smoke and tang as delicately as any spot in the city. Manny’s has been around for over half a century and just underwent a dramatic restaurant renovation, so now is as good a time as any to stop by for a huge turkey leg.
Thom’s Turkey & Bar-B-Cue – You’ll have to head out to Country Club Hills to get your mitts one of these delicious grilled turkey legs, but it will be worth the trip. This place does all things turkey, but the leg, covered in a special secret seasoning and then injected with even more seasoning, is part of what makes Thom’s one of Chicagoland’s top spots. While it’s only been around since 2009, Thom’s Turkey’s spread of smoked and grilled meats is a love of labor that started long before that.
Just Turkey – This probably will not come as a huge surprise, but Just Turkey does every possible turkey dish imaginable, including the occasional turkey leg, which is unwaveringly huge, meaty and savory. The restaurant itself is only ten years old, started by brothers Brian and Greg Morton to bring Chicago the most eclectic mix of turkey dishes in the city. Like all their dishes, the turkey leg is seasoned and smoked to perfection.
The Purple Pig – As always, The Purple Pig likes to circumvent customers’ expectations of food, which is why their turkey leg confit is so incredible. This dish is prepared so much differently from the smoked and grilled turkey legs, as it is cooked slowly, seasoned, and submerged in its own rendered fat to create a tender turkey leg worthy of respected chef Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of Heaven on Seven fame. This is a guy who not only knows how to make a mean gumbo, but the finest part of the turkey, too.
The Publican – The Publican is one of the most universally beloved restaurants in Chicago, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they do one of the meanest Thanksgiving turkeys in existence. While the turkey leg is not on the normal menu, Publican Quality Meats sells some truly delicious birds in November, giving customers options of fresh turkeys from local Illinois farms. As one of the most trusted butcheries in Chicago, The Publican can offer home-cooked turkey legs just as good as anything at the above restaurants.
As always, Chicago has no shortage of great restaurants for any food or occasion, so for those looking to wrap their lips around the most heavenly turkey legs in the city, one of the aforementioned spots is sure to leave you with a huge smile and a full stomach.