Get ready for the star of your Thanksgiving feast—our Spatchcock Smoked Turkey! We’ve expertly prepared it for even cooking by spatchcocking and infused mouthwatering flavor through smoking. Trust me, you’ve never tasted a turkey this delicious!
Origin of Spatchcocking
The word “spatchcock” originated in Ireland back in the 18th century. It basically means “dispatch the cock,” and it’s all about making poultry cook faster by taking out the backbone. Even though the technique has changed a bit, the main idea is still there: a cooking trick to make your food extra tasty and tender.
Art of Smoking
Smoking, a classic way of cooking, adds a special flavor to meats, transforming a basic dish into a delicious symphony of taste. When you pair smoking with the spatchcocking technique, smoking a turkey turns into a culinary masterpiece. The bird’s open, flattened position lets it soak up all the smoky goodness, creating a mouthwatering and aromatic delight.
Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
When you’re getting ready to cook a whole turkey, dealing with both defrosting and the long cooking time can feel overwhelming. But here’s a trick to speed things up: spatchcock the turkey first. This means taking out the backbone, making the bird more even and streamlined. Your turkey will cook faster, and the heat will be distributed more evenly across the breast and thighs. It’s a win-win!
If you’re new to spatchcocking, don’t worry—it’s not too tricky. All you have to do is remove the turkey’s backbone! For a step-by-step guide with a helpful video, check out my post on How to Spatchcock a Turkey.
Ingredients for Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
1 15-pound turkey (spatchcocked)
8 Tablespoons salted butter (softened)
4 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 Tablespoon coarse black pepper
how to smoke a spatchcock turkey
Now that your turkey is spatchcocked, it’s time to butter it up, season it well, and get that smoky goodness going!
Spreading a healthy amount of butter under the skin of the turkey prior to smoking gives this turkey so much incredible flavor. I wouldn’t recommend any substitutions here. Go for the good stuff and you won’t be disappointed.
This turkey is going to be so tasty from the butter and smoke, it doesn’t need anything fancy when it comes to seasoning. Simple salt and pepper are all you need! Drizzle the whole thing with extra virgin olive oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper. I highly recommend you use a good quality kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best flavor.
Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. I used almond wood for this particular recipe, but pecan, apple, alder, or maple will also taste amazing! You can also pick your favorite. Smoke the bird for 4-4 1/2 hours. You’ll know the turkey is done cooking when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Make sure you’re using a reliable instant read thermometer and measuring the temperature in the thickest part of the breast. The thighs will be around 175-185 degrees F.
Make sure to rest the turkey for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.
Get into that bird! It’ll be cooked nice and evenly and buttery delicious.
Best Spatchcock Smoked Turkey Recipe
Spatchcock Smoked Turkey Recipe
- 1 15-pound turkey (spatchcocked)
- 8 Tablespoons salted butter (softened)
- 4 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon coarse black pepper
- Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F with your favorite hardwood. I recommend pecan, maple, apple, or alder for smoking turkeys. On this turkey I tried almond wood for the first time and it was great!
- Spatchcock the turkey. Spatchcock your turkey by removing any giblets, neck, or other internal parts from your bird. Flip it breast side down and remove the backbone by cutting up both sided with kitchen shears. Snip the inside of the breast bone and turn the turkey over. Press the center of the breast down until you hear a crack and the breast lays flat on your work surface. Tuck the wing tips behind the wings.
- Spread butter under the turkey skin. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast and thigh meat. Take 2 Tablespoons of the softened butter and insert it in between the skin and the first breast. Press on the exterior of the skin to spread the butter out evenly across the breast. Repeat on the remaining breast and each of the thighs until all of the butter has been spread under the skin of your turkey.
- Season with oil, salt, and pepper. Flip your turkey breast side down on your work surface. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the oil all over with your hands and then season with salt and black pepper. Turn the turkey back over and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Season the top evenly with salt and black pepper.
- Smoke the spatchcocked turkey. Carefully transfer your turkey directly to your smoker grates and make sure the wings are still tucked, the thighs are turned out and the turkey is laying flat. Close the lid and smoke for approximately 4 to 4.5 hours, or until an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast. The thighs will likely read higher temperatures, around 175-185 and that is totally perfect.
- Rest the turkey. Gently remove the turkey from the smoker to a large cutting board. Allow your turkey to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
- Carve and serve. Remove the thighs and legs first. Separate the leg and leave whole. Remove the skin from the thighs and shred the thigh meat. Chop the skin into small pieces and then mix into the thigh meat. Carefully separate and remove the wings and cut at the joints into individual pieces. Run your knife along the central breast line and when you hit the ribs, turn your knife and slice against the ribs until the breast is completely removed. Slice the breast into slices as thick or thin as you like. Arrange the carved turkey onto your serving platter and garnish with herbs, as desired. Enjoy!
Pro Tip’s for Cooking Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
Got a big celebration on the horizon (Thinking about Thanksgiving, maybe)? Keep these tips in mind to make sure your turkey turns out just right—perfectly cooked and bursting with juicy flavor.
Go for the smaller size when picking out your turkey—aim for under 15 pounds if you can. Bigger turkeys spend more time in the danger zone of 40-140 degrees F. If you need more bird, it’s better to cook two smaller ones than going for a larger single turkey.
Oh, and don’t overlook the gravy! To save those tasty drippings from your spatchcocked turkey, pop it on a flat cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet. It might add a bit to the cook time, but trust me, you’ll be rewarded with a bounty of rich, buttery drippings in the end.
If you make this recipe, be sure to rate it, leave a comment, or tag #4Allrecipessite on Twitter!