A Spatchcock is a method of cooking a whole turkey that is used in various parts of the world. The term is derived from the Spanish word “espatchcocer”, translating into English as “to spatchcock.”

Every year, the turkey feast consumes way too much of my time at the beginning of the holiday season. Back in the day, I would go to the market and pick up a whole turkey and cook 5-6 kilos of it.  This was not a good idea for me; I have no idea how many calories that amount of turkey consumed and it was also impossible to make up for the leftovers. And the leftovers, I would usually end up eating them, because there was nothing else to eat in our household.

One of the methods of cooking a turkey is called spatchcock. Spatchcock turkey is done by taking the turkey out of the fridge about two hours before you plan to cook it. This ensures that the turkey has time to come to room temperature. Then take the turkey out of the fridge, and put it on the roasting rack stand. Next let the turkey stand in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, while you get the smoker ready.

Spatchcocking the turkey enables it to cook evenly and flat on the grill, resulting in a tender turkey with crispy skin.

The name is amusing, but the effects are serious! We cooked a spatchcock turkey for Thanksgiving for the first time last year, and it’s now our favorite way of cooking.

The spatchcock technique works on both big and small turkeys, whether you’re preparing for a small or large family this holiday season.

Side view of Smoked Turkey with garnishes of rosemary and decorative pumpkins in the back.

What You’ll Require

Salt, butter, herbs, and a meat thermometer are all needed to cook a whole turkey.

Remove the frozen turkey from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to defrost. Depending on how many pounds there are, this may take anywhere from one to four days. Then there’s the dry brine, which takes an additional day.

Remove the fresh or frozen turkey from its packing and blot it dry using paper towels.

Whole raw turkey on a wood cutting board.

Season the turkey with salt all over and beneath the skin to reach the flesh directly. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the night.

The Art of Spatchcocking a Turkey

Sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife will suffice. I used a knife since my shears were not sharp enough.

Place the entire turkey breast side down with the backbone facing up on a cutting board. The tips of the wings should be pointing down, as seen in the illustration.

Cut down each side of the back bone using a knife or kitchen shears to remove it. The YouTube video is at the bottom of this article.

Spatchcocked raw turkey on a wood cutting board.

To flatten the turkey, place your hands on top of the breastbone and push down. So that the turkey breast gets a beautiful golden skin, tuck the wings beneath.

For added taste, we’ll coat the turkey with Herb Butter before cooking it.

Overhead view of raw turkey covered in herb butter on a wood cutting board.

It’s best if the turkey is completely dry before applying the butter rub. If the skin or flesh of the turkey is still damp, blot it dry with a paper towel.

1 stick unsalted butter, fresh chopped rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and salt Herb Butter

It should be rubbed all over the turkey, even beneath the skin. This will aid in the flavoring of the meat’s inside.

How to Cook a Turkey in the Smoke

Use a probe meat thermometer to monitor the course of the cooking to prevent overcooking or undercooking the turkey.

We’re cooking the turkey on the top rack of a Ceramic Kamado Grill with a drip pan on the bottom rack.

Overhead view of Spactchcocked Turkey on a wood cutting board.

This 9-pound turkey took approximately an hour and a half to cook at 350-375 degrees on the grill.

If you need to estimate the cooking time, a spatchcock turkey cooked at 350-375 degrees for 10 minutes per pound is a good approximation.

Remove the turkey from the grill when it reaches 165 degrees. Allow at least 15 minutes for the turkey to rest before chopping into it.

Up close view of golden turkey skin.

The golden crispy skin of the turkey is my favorite part. Take a peek at this stunning lady!

I usually like dark meat, but the white flesh turned out to be just as delicious and juicy!

Turkey Breast sliced on one side and garnished with rosemary.

30 minutes after cooking, this smoked spatchcock turkey is best served.

The turkey may be reheated, but the skin will lose its crispiness. Add some cooking fluids to the turkey before warming it up to keep it from drying out after reheating.

Take a look at these turkey-friendly side dishes.

Brussel Sprouts with Maple Glaze

Delicata Squash with Chili Spice

Macaroni and Cheese for Vegans

Here’s the link to the YouTube video:

Overhead view of Spactchcocked Turkey on a wood cutting board.

Smoked Turkey Spatchcock

Renee Fuentes is a model and actress.

Spatchcocking the turkey enables it to cook evenly and flat on the grill, resulting in a tender turkey with crispy skin.

1 d of preparation time

1 hour 30 minutes to cook

1 d 1 hour 30 minutes total time

Course Description:

American cuisine

Instructions 

  • Take the fresh or frozen turkey out of the package and blot it dry with paper towels.

  • Season the turkey with salt all over and beneath the skin to reach the flesh directly. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the night.

  • Preheat the smoker or grill to 350°F. Place the entire turkey breast side down with the backbone facing up on a cutting board. The tips of the wings should be facing downward.

  • Cut down each side of the back bone using a knife or kitchen shears to remove it. To flatten the turkey, place your hands on top of the breastbone and push down. So that the turkey breast gets a beautiful golden skin, tuck the wings beneath.

  • Combine melted butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

  • If the skin or flesh of the turkey is still damp, blot it dry with a paper towel. Rub herb butter all over the turkey, both beneath the skin and on the exterior.

  • Place the turkey on a grill or smoker with indirect heat. For precise cooking, I strongly advise using a temperature probe. Once the thermometer hits 165 degrees, remove from the oven and let aside for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Spatchcock-Smoked-Turkey-Recipesir

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Over the years, I have gotten tons of questions and comments from my readers about smoked turkeys. Many people ask how to smoke a turkey and what do I recommend. Well, here are some methods that I like and recommend.. Read more about meat church spatchcock turkey and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to smoke a turkey whole or Spatchcock?

It is better to smoke a turkey whole.

How long does it take to smoke a 24 lb Spatchcock turkey?

It takes about 4 hours to smoke a 24 lb Spatchcock turkey.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey Spatchcock style?

It takes about 20 minutes to cook a turkey Spatchcock style.