Smoking a spatchcocked turkey is the ideal way to prepare a bird during the holidays. It’s the perfect way to get the turkey done in a few hours if you run out of time. It’s also the perfect way to cook a large bird during the holidays.
The temperature plays a role in the smoking process. If you smoke it too long, you will have overcooked meat. In contrast, if you don’t smoke the turkey long enough, you will end up with an undercooked turkey.
Always smoke spatchcocked turkey at 275°F for 2- 3 1/2 hours, depending on the size.
- Should You Smoke a Turkey Low and Slow?
- What Is the Benefit of Smoking a Spatchcock Turkey?
- How Much Time Does Spatchcocking a Turkey Save?
- How Long to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 275
- What Smoking Woods Should I Use for Spatchcocked Turkey?
- Tips For Smoking Spatchcock Turkey
- How To Carve Spatchcock Turkey
- Final Thoughts
Should You Smoke a Turkey Low and Slow?
Yes, you should always smoke turkey low and slow. If the smoker’s temperature is too high, it will cause the bird to dry out. Dried-out turkey equals dry turkey, and no one likes dry turkey.
Smoking the turkey at a lower temperature ensures the bird does not dry out. It allows the turkey to cook nice and slow leaving you with juicy moist meat.
What Is the Benefit of Smoking a Spatchcock Turkey?
Most people are dedicated to roasting their turkeys in the oven every year. They do not see the point in smoking a spatchcocked turkey. However, there are several benefits of smoking spatchcock turkey.
- Most turkey recipes recommend wet or dry brining the bird for 1-2 days. Not only does this take a significant amount of time, but it also takes up room in the fridge. Luckily, you do not have to brine spatchcock turkey.
- If you have a small smoker, such as a propane or electric smoker, your bird may not be able to fit in it. Spatchcocking the turkey makes it easier to fit the bird in smaller smokers.
- The seasoning for smoked spatchcock turkey is extremely simple. Since smoking the turkey adds so much flavor, you can get away with seasoning the turkey with salt and pepper. Nevertheless, you can also use your favorite BBQ seasoning or BBQ rub to season the turkey.
- Smoking the spatchcocked turkey makes it extremely tender.
- Although roasted turkey is pretty good, smoked turkey’s flavor is amazing. Even if you do not add wood chips to the smoker or use a grill, the flavor will still be better than a roasted turkey.
- If you do not eat all the turkey in one day, you can add the leftovers to other dishes. For example, you can add turkey to mac and cheese or BBQ baked beans. The smoked turkey will give these dishes an added depth of flavor.
How Much Time Does Spatchcocking a Turkey Save?
Smoking a spatchcocked turkey saves a lot of time.
Spatchcocking a turkey means removing the backbone and flattening it. This creates an even surface which causes the bird to cook faster.
Smoking a spatchcocked turkey will save an hour or more than the average bird. Although an hour may not seem like much, you can use the extra hour to set the table or make other side dishes.
How Long to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 275
Generally speaking, a spatchcocked turkey will take 10 minutes per pound of turkey if it is smoked at 275°F.
However, the bird’s size may also affect the cooking time. For example, an 8–12-pound turkey can take 2-2 1/2 hours to smoke. A 12–16-pound bird can take 2 1/2- 3 1/2 hours to smoke. In contrast, a 16–20-pound bird can take 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours to smoke.
Therefore, it’s always best to pay attention to the internal temperature instead of the meat instead of the time.
When it is cooked, the turkey should have an internal temperature of 165°F. You can check the internal temperature in the breast or thighs. However, the thighs and legs will cook faster than the breasts, so they may have a higher temperature.
What Smoking Woods Should I Use for Spatchcocked Turkey?
Turkey has a delicate flavor. Dominant woods such as mesquite can easily overpower the turkey’s flavors. This is why you should use smoking wood with a milder flavor.
Apple, maple, or pecan are the best options for smoking spatchcock turkey. You’ll still be able to taste the wood’s flavor, but it will not overpower the turkey’s flavor.
Tips For Smoking Spatchcock Turkey
Smoking a spatchcocked turkey is not as easy as removing the spine and placing it in the smoker. Follow these tips to ensure you end up with a moist, tender bird.
- Ensure the turkey is fully defrosted before you spatchcock it. It will be harder to remove a spine from the frozen turkey.
- A bigger turkey takes longer to cook than a smaller turkey. So, keep this in mind if you are short on time.
- When calculating how much turkey per person, aim for 1 1/2 pounds of meat for every person. Your friends and family will have enough to eat, and you’ll have leftovers for other dishes.
- Once your turkey is in the smoker, do not open the door or lift the dome to check on it. This allows heat to escape and adds more time to the cooking process.
- Let the smoked spatchcock turkey rest for at least 15 minutes. If you cut the bird right away, the juices will collect on the butcher block, and your turkey will be dry.
How To Carve Spatchcock Turkey
To carve a spatchcocked turkey:
- Place it onto a butcher block breast side up.
- Use a sharp knife to carve along the inner thigh to remove the leg and thigh.
- Repeat on the other side of the bird.
- Look for the joint connecting the thigh and leg together.
- Cut through the joint to separate the thigh and leg. Repeat with the remaining thigh and leg.
- Slice the inside of the wings to remove them from the bird.
- Cut between the two breasts. Next, run the knife underneath each breast to remove it from the carcass.
- Cut the breast meat into thin slices. You can also debone the thigh and slice the meat into thin slices.
- Place the turkey onto a serving platter and serve it.
Smoking a spatchcocked turkey is so easy. Just remember to cook it for the right amount of time to avoid ending up with a dry turkey.
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.