Cooking a turkey can be quite intimidating. You must defrost the turkey overnight and cook it for a few hours.
However, smoking a spatchcocked turkey is the perfect way to cook a turkey in no time. It takes about 4 hours to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 250°F.
- What Does Spatchcocking Mean?
- What’s the Difference Between Spatchcock and Butterflying?
- Why I Should Spatchcock Turkey?
- Should I Brine My Turkey Before Smoking?
- Do I Have to Brine My Turkey Before Smoking It?
- Should I Brine My Turkey Before I Spatchcock It?
- Do You Flip Spatchcock Turkey?
- How Do You Make Smoked Turkey Skin Crispy?
- How Long to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 250
- How to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey
- Final Thoughts
What Does Spatchcocking Mean?
The term spatchcock is derived from an Irish term. Essentially it means opening a chicken or turkey so it cooks faster.
Spatchcocking is used when roasting, grilling, or smoking meats. This method allows heat to penetrate the meat and cook it easily. When it comes to smoking, spatchcocking creates more surface area, allowing the smoke to penetrate and flavor the meat.
What’s the Difference Between Spatchcock and Butterflying?
Spatchcocking and butterflying are often used interchangeably. However, they are different techniques.
To spatchcock, a turkey means to remove the spine and giblets. The removal of these parts flattens the turkey.
In contrast, butterflying is cutting a boneless piece of meat. Cutting the meat creates a thinner piece of meat.
Therefore, spatchcock is to flatten as butterflying is to thin.
Why I Should Spatchcock Turkey?
There are several reasons why you should spatchcock turkey. Overall, it makes the smoking process much easier.
- Smoking spatchcock turkey helps it cook more evenly. All of the parts of the bird are flat. Different parts of the turkey will come up to the correct internal temperature around the same time.
- Spatchcocked turkeys will cook faster than a whole turkey.
- Spatchcocking turkey creates more surface room to apply the seasoning. This gives the bird even more flavor.
Should I Brine My Turkey Before Smoking?
Yes, you should brine the turkey before smoking it. Brining is designed to add moisture to the meat. The brine cannot penetrate the bird if it’s already cooked.
Therefore, always brine your turkey before you smoke it. Never brine your heart after you smoke it.
Do I Have to Brine My Turkey Before Smoking It?
Although brining a turkey is flavorful, you do not have to brine the turkey. Wet brining takes 8-24 hours which is a long time. In contrast, dry brining takes 24-72 hours.
Skipping the brining process will save you time. Nevertheless, you can brine your turkey if you want to.
Should I Brine My Turkey Before I Spatchcock It?
Depending on the method brining can take 24-72 hours. Allowing a spatchcock chicken to brine for this long will ruin the turkey. The protein in the turkey will break down, resulting in soft mushy meat.
It’s better to brine the turkey whole. Once you’ve rinsed the brine from the turkey, you can pat it dry and spatchcock it.
Alternatively, you can do a quick brine on your turkey. You can let a spatchcock turkey brine for 3-5 hours. The brine will infuse the turkey with flavor without destroying the meat’s fibers or giving it an overly salty taste.
Do You Flip Spatchcock Turkey?
When smoking a spatchcocked turkey, always place the meat in the smoker skin side up. Do not turn the turkey over.
Turning the turkey over could cause the beautifully golden skin to stick to the smoker’s cooking grates. This will make your turkey look like roadkill instead of a beautifully smoked bird.
How Do You Make Smoked Turkey Skin Crispy?
Turkey is smoked at a low temperature. Therefore, it’s harder to crisp up the skin. You can try dry brining the turkey.
The dry brine will make the skin crispy if you increase the smoker’s temperature near the end of the cooking time.
Alternatively, you can also add sugar to the turkey skin. The sugar will caramelize ad help the skin turn golden brown.
Nevertheless, you can always crisp the skin in your broiler or oven.
How Long to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 250
The cooking time of smoked spatchcock turkey depends on several factors. For example, the size of the turkey will impact how long it takes to smoke the bird.
Generally speaking, it takes about 4 hours to smoke the average spatchcock turkey. However, the equation is to cook the turkey for 12-15 minutes per pound at 250°F.
The turkey is fully cooked when the breast and thighs have a temperature of 165°F.
How to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey
If you’re wondering how long it takes to smoke a turkey at 250°F, you should consider smoking your turkey this year. Let me show you the perfect way to cook a spatchcocked turkey.
Before you smoke a spatchcocked turkey, make sure it is completely defrosted. Cooking a frozen turkey will take much longer than cooking a thawed bird. Furthermore, there is a greater risk that the turkey will not cook evenly.
Frozen turkeys can take up to 3 days to thaw. It takes 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to defrost, so plan accordingly.
Once your turkey is defrosted and spatchcocked, you are ready to butter and season it.
Smear a generous amount of butter beneath the turkey skin. It will give the turkey unbelievable amounts of flavor.
Next, drizzle the outside of the turkey with olive oil. Season the turkey with salt, pepper, or your preferred blend of spices. You can also season the chicken with a BBQ rub to add even more flavor.
Preheat your smoker to 250°F. You can use almond, maple, pecan, or apple wood chips to infuse the turkey with a smoky flavor.
Ensure you oil the grill grates so the turkey does not stick to the grates. Place the turkey in the smoker. Smoke it for 4 hours until it has a temperature of 165°F.
The thighs cook quicker than the breast. So, they may have an internal temperature between 175°F and 185°F.
Once you remove the turkey from the smoker, let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes. Next, carve your beautifully smoked turkey and serve it.
It takes 4 hours to smoke a turkey at 250°F. However, if you are working with a larger or smaller bird, you may have to calculate the cooking time manually.
Nevertheless, as long as you follow the rules in this guide, you will end up with a moist and juicy bird.
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.