Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

If you’re looking for a simple quick recipe to do for your Christmas party or Thanksgiving event, then go for the smoked spatchcocked turkey. The well-distributed brine and smoked flavor in the flattened turkey will blow away your taste buds. Keep reading to find out more about this kind of turkey and how you can prepare it.

What is Spatchcocked Turkey and Why Do It?

If this word seems foreign to you, try imagining a whole turkey spread out like a butterfly. It’s normally prepared by first taking out the backbone of the bird and cutting a bit of the neck and tailbone then flattening it out on its back. Here are reasons why you should spatchcock your turkey:

  • Uniform cooking of the turkey. Since most of the turkey’s carcass will be spread out as you cook it, each part will receive the same amount of heat. This is unlike when it’s cooked whole. You’ll find sections that are not directly exposed to heat partially cooked.
  • Less smoking and cooking time.
  • Crispy skin surface. Since the entire skin will remain exposed to heat throughout the smoking session, it will have a crispy texture.
  • Easy penetration of smoked flavors in the turkey. By flattening the turkey, you reduce the depth at which the smoked flavors need to travel to every meat fiber. This will result in the even distribution of rich flavors.

How Do I Spatchcock a Turkey?

Spatchcocking turkey is a very simple process. You’ll only need a pair of good-quality kitchen shears.

  1. First, turn the turkey such that its breast faces downwards on your work surface.
  2. Cut off the neck and remove all gizzards found within its cavity.
  3. Cut out its backbone on either side from the tailbone to the neck and pull it out gently from the turkey. You can use it later to make turkey stock.
  4. Next, turn the breast side up and rotate the legs such that they point towards the breast. Use your hands to press in on the breastbone until it cracks to flatness.
  5. Tuck the wings’ tip inside the breast and trim off excess skin near the neck and cavity areas.
  6. At this point, your spatchcocked turkey is ready for bringing and cooking.

How to Brine a Spatchcocked Turkey?

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If you’re wondering if it’s worth bringing your spatchcocked turkey. Yes, it is. Brining will allow you to enjoy well penetrated rich flavors and added moisture that will enhance the taste of your smoked turkey. You can brine your turkey using a dry rub or a wet brine. The brine mostly consists of a mixture of different flavors and spices but you can try out the following turkey brine recipes in case you’re not familiar with them.

Dry Brine


  • 3 ½ tbsp kosher salt
  • Garlic powder
  • ¼ inch crushed ginger
  • 2 quartered limes
  • ½ cup unsalted butter


Mix all the ingredients. Take a large portion of the mixture and spread it out on a baking sheet placed on a wire rack or baking pan. You can add an aluminum foil lining on the baking sheet, but this is optional. Place the turkey on top of the seasoned baking sheet then sprinkle the remaining portion of the mixture on the back of the turkey or rather its exposed section. Place it in the refrigerator and leave it overnight.

Wet Brine


  • 1 gallon of water
  • Turkey Brine mix
  • A mixture of choice spices
  • 2 plastic brine bags or a food-safe bucket


One gallon of water and the turkey brine mix should be added to a jug and thoroughly mixed. You may gently boil it or simmer it to make it entirely dissolve. If you wish to keep the spatchcocked turkey in the fridge, place it in a bucket or plastic brine bag. Before smoking the turkey, add the brine mixture and let it rest for a full night. Your turkey will have more moisture after brining. If it lacks the ingredients you like, you may add your own spice concoction and lime to it. If you used a food-safe bucket, spread some ice on top to keep the turkey fresh.


After bringing your turkey overnight, thoroughly wash it to remove all excessive salts. Pat dry using clean paper towels before seasoning it. Use the following ingredients or select your favorite spices to form a nice mix of seasoning for your turkey.

  • Kosher salt (¼ cup)
  • Black pepper (2 tbsp)
  • Paprika (2 tbsp)
  • Chilli powder (2 tbsp)
  • Light brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)
  • Onion powder (1 tsp)
  • Cayenne pepper (¼ tsp)


Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them till they form a uniform mixture. Sprinkle and spread out the seasoning throughout your turkey to your satisfaction.

Smoke Your Spatchcocked Turkey

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Now comes the time for smoking. First, set up your favorite smoker grill and let it heat to temperatures between 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature you set will depend on the size of the spatchcocked turkey.

Use your preferred type of wood to induce the smoke flavors you’d like. If you’re not sure which to use, try hickory, applewood, or maple for a start. They each have amazing flavors. The likes of oak and mesquite may produce overwhelming flavors and result in a darker or nearly charred skin surface on your turkey.

Add your spatchcock turkey to the smoker and let the opened side lie on the grill grates while the backside lies exposed upwards. Close the lid and let it cook for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Open up the lid to check on the turkey. If the skin has turned golden brown and has crispy skin, you’re on the right track. Bast the roasted skin with some simmered herb and garlic butter then close the lid and let it cook further for about 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees temperature. Use a meat probe to monitor the temperature of the turkey as it continues to cook. The thickest part of the breast should achieve at least 160 degrees internal temperature.

Your turkey will have a brown golden color and crispy skin when it’s ready. Let it sit for about 15 minutes then cut into different parts and slice them.

Serve when hot with your stock or dish.


Hope you’ll enjoy this amazing recipe. Smoked spatchcocked turkey not only takes a shorter time to prepare and cook but also comes out tender, crispy, and tasty.

Try it out next time you want to host a thanksgiving ceremony in your home or surprise your family with a special dinner.

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