Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

This past Thanksgiving, I debated whether or not to smoke a turkey, and well, the debate led me to go ahead and go through with it. It wasn’t much of a debate to be quiet honest with you as I love smoking all sorts of food. But time around instead of smoking a whole bird, I decided to spatchcock it. Spatchcock you ask? Well don’t say that word around high school students in your house because they will get a good laugh out of it. If you have never spatchcocked a chicken or turkey, I say it is a real must. The great thing about spatchcocking (removing the backbone) is a much quicker cooking time that always yields tender and juicy meat.

Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

A goal of smoking any large turkey or chicken, at least in my opinion, is to do a quick brine. To brine, boil one liter of water along with 3/4 cup of salt, a couple of cloves of smashed garlic, any citrus, some black peppercorns, and fresh herbs. Once boiled, add about 4 cups of ice to it and let it completely cool. Once cooled, it is then time to submerge your turkey, and let it submerge for 2-3 hours. Once brined, removed it and pat it dry.

Let’s get started.

  • 10-11 pound turkey
  • your favorite wood for smoking, I used cherry chunks
  • Coal
  • Poultry shears
  • salt and pepper
  • butter, optional

Place the turkey breast side down on your work surface, and with your poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone. I find it easiest to start near the tail end of the bird and work your way up. This can take a bit of muscle, but it is well worth it. Once the backbone is removed, you can save it for stock if you want, hold each side of the turkey and open it up. Trim any excess fat if you want, then turn the turkey breast side up.

Using your palm, press down firmly on the breast bone to snap it. Repeat on the other breast bone. Now place this in your brining solution for at least 2-3 hours. Once brined, remove and pat dry.

How to smoke a turkey

Season with any salt and pepper, and rub any butter under the skin if you desire, then go prepare your smoker. I smoked mine on low, 225 degrees until your internal temperate in two different spots reaches 165 degrees.

Once cooked, remove, let it rest for about 15 minutes, then slice in.

The exterior has this awesome color unlike anything you get when roasted, and the cherry wood smoked meat is super moist and delicious. I will be spatchcocking on a regular basis now, and making this an annual tradition as well. Give this a shot next time your smoke a turkey or chicken, or heck even roast it. Hope you enjoy!

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

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