Whether you are looking for an easy way to prepare turkey for thanksgiving or Christmas, spatchcock turkey is the answer to all your prayers. However, the key to smoking a spatchcocked turkey is to know how long to smoke it at 225.
On average, it takes about 11-13 minutes per pound of turkey to smoke a spatchcocked turkey.
Is It Better to Smoke a Turkey Whole or Spatchcock?
It depends on who you ask. Some folks love to spatchcock their turkey, while others prefer to smoke their turkey whole.
Spatchcocking a turkey takes a little bit of work. However, it is relatively simple and easy to do.
Furthermore, spatchcocking exposes the skin. While smoking a turkey at 225 won’t necessarily crisp up the skin, you can easily crisp the skin in the oven or broiler or sear it on your charcoal grill.
Lastly, spatchcocking a turkey helps it cook faster. So, it’s beneficial if you are on a time crunch.
In contrast, smoking a whole turkey is less complicated than smoking a spatchcocked turkey. You do not have to remove the spine, so you can brine the turkey, season it and smoke it whole. However, since the turkey is left whole, it will take longer to cook.
How to a Spatchcock Turkey
It’s easy to spatchcock a turkey. It’s best to spatchcock the turkey the day before you intend to smoke it.
Place your turkey onto a butcher block. Make sure the spine is facing toward you.
Use a sharp chef’s knife or kitchen shears to cut down the spine on one side of the turkey. Cut down the other side of the turkey to remove the spine.
Once you remove the spine, turn the turkey over. Press down on the turkey breast until you hear a few bones crack. This will help flatten the turkey so it cooks evenly.
Where Do I Put the Temperature Probe in a Spatchcock Turkey?
Thermometers are essential to the smoking process, whether you are smoking brisket or pork shoulder. Spatchcock chicken is no different.
Most smokers come with a built-in thermometer on the dome. Do not use this thermometer to monitor the bird’s internal temperature.
The built-in thermometer measures the temperature of the smoker, not the turkey. So, purchase a separate smoker thermometer to monitor your turkey’s internal temperature.
Place the tip of the smoker thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Ensure the thermometer does not touch the thigh bone. It may give you an inaccurate reading.
How To Prep a Spatchcock Turkey for Smoking
The first step of preparing any turkey is to brine it. You do not have to brine your turkey, but it will give the turkey so much flavor. Brines can also help add moisture to your turkey.
Brines usually consist of water and salt. However, you can add sugar, spices such as cloves, vinegar, oranges, or other desired ingredients. Let your turkey brine for at least 8 hours.
However, do not brine the turkey for longer than 24 hours. By this time, the brine will have destroyed the turkey’s texture making it soft and mushy.
Next, remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse the turkey with cold water to remove some of the brine’s salty flavor.
Pat the turkey dry with clean paper towels. Next, spatchcock the turkey using the instructions mentioned above.
Prepare your smoker, season your bird, and you’re all ready to smoke your spatchcock turkey.
Can I Smoke Spatchcock Turkey in a Regular Grill?
Of course, you can use a grill to smoke a spatchcocked turkey. Whether it is a natural gas, kamado, or propane grill, you can convert it into a smoker.
First, soak your wood chips for at least 20 minutes. Soaking the wood chips helps produce more smoke.
If you are smoking the turkey on a charcoal grill, fill a charcoal chimney 1/3 of the way full and light it. Once the charcoal glazes over, add it to one side of the grill. Let it preheat for 30 minutes to an hour until it reaches 225°F.
Drain the wood chips and add them directly on top of the charcoal. Place the grill’s cooking grates on top of the charcoal, and it’s ready to go.
Fill an aluminum pan with water. Place the pan of water on top of the heat deflector. In contrast, remove the cooking grate if you use a gas grill.
Wrap a handful of soaked wood chips with foil. Poke a few holes in the wood chip package using a skewer. This will allow steam to escape and add flavor to the spatchcocked turkey.
Place the wood chips next to the water pan. Add the cooking grate to the gas grill.
Turn the burners on the same side as the water pan to medium-high heat. Leave the remaining burners off. This will allow you to create direct and indirect cooking zones.
Let it preheat for 30 minutes to an hour until it reaches 225°F. Cook the spatchcocked turkey on the indirect cooking surface. You can move it to the direct cooking surface to crisp up the skin when it is almost finished cooking.
How Long to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 225
The total smoking time can vary due. The outdoor temperature, humidity, and wind can affect the smoking time. Hot spots within your smoker may also affect the smoking time.
As I mentioned above, it’s best to smoke a spatchcocked turkey for 11-13 minutes a pound.
Smoking a ten-pound turkey will take an hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours and 10 minutes. In contrast, if you smoke a 12-pound turkey, it will take 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, you should ensure your turkey has a temperature of 165°F before you remove it from the grill. Once you remove the turkey, cover it loosely with foil. Let the spatchcock rest for at least 30 minutes.
Smoking a spatchcocked turkey at 225°F is rather simple. However, the trick to a tender and juicy turkey is knowing how long to smoke it.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.