Hand holding a large smoked turkey leg
Here’s Why Smoked Turkey Legs At The Fair Taste Like Pork
Deliciously salty and umami-rich, smoked turkey legs are a fairgrounds staple that tastes suspiciously like pork due to the similar curing process the two types of meat undergo.
The meats are steeped in a solution of salt and sodium nitrate and a blend of seasonings. The sodium nitrate is what gives turkey its ham-pink color and smoother texture.
This curing process preserves the meat so you can eat it as is. However, the turkey legs go on to be smoked, sealing in the flavor while giving them a richer taste.
Meanwhile, ham isn't always smoked post-curing, so the flavors won't share the same complexity as their smoked counterparts.
Besides the curing process, a smoked turkey leg has a similar crumbly, ham-like brown skin, the same pink flesh, and the same savory sweetness as ham.