Spatchcocked Turkey

Spatchcocked Turkey

This recipe is taken from with a few modifications.
In this smoked turkey recipe, we will speed up the process of smoking a turkey by butterflying it, commonly called “spatchcocking the turkey”. This causes the turkey to cook a lot more evenly, makes it easier to carve and often helps the skin to get more crispy especially if you are able to cook it a little hotter than normal smoking temperatures. 
* Preparation time: 45 minutes 
* Brine time: 8-12 hours 
* Cook time: 4 hours *
 Smoker temperature: 240°F 
* Meat finish temperature: 160°F 
* Recommended wood: Apple


  • * 12-14 lb turkey minimally processed
  • * Turkey brine recipe below
  • * butter
  • * Jeff’s rib rub


Step 1: Spatchcock (Butterfly) Remove the turkey from it’s packaging. Remove giblets, neck, pop-up timer and any plastic or hardware that is holding the legs together. Place the turkey on your cutting board with the backbone facing up and neck end toward you. Using a pair of heavy duty kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to completely remove it from the turkey. Turn the turkey breast side up and press down with both hands to flatten it.
Step 2: Brine Overnight. Make a simple turkey brine using 1 gallon of cold water, 1 cup of coarse kosher salt and ¾ cup of dark brown sugar. Pour the salt into the water and stir until it becomes clear again. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Place the turkey in a plastic, glass or stainless steel container and pour the brine over the bird to cover. Please note: Depending on what container you use, you may require more than 1 gallon of brine. Just double or triple the brine recipe as needed. Place a lid or cover on the container with the bird and the brine and place it in the refrigerator overnight. If the container is too large for the fridge, you will need to ice it down and ensure that it stays at or below 39°F for food safety purposes. 8-12 hours is recommended brining time for best results.
Step 3: Rinse and Dry When the turkey is finished brining, discard the brine and rinse the turkey really well under cold water. Sometimes this is best done outside if possible. Dry the inside and outside of the turkey with clean paper towels.
Step 4: Place the turkey in the fridge uncovered for about 2 hours to allow the skin to dry further. This helps the skin to end up with a good “bite through”.
Step 5: Apply Butter and Rub.  I split the butter into (2) parts and put half of it under the skin and half of it on the outside of the skin. In order to get it under the skin, you will have to loosen the skin first. Work your hands between the skin and the meat tearing the membrane loose as you go. Do this carefully and patiently and you will be able to completely loosen the skin from the breast meat and even the thighs and legs. Leave the skin attached around the edges (except for where your hand entered) to help hold in the butter and herbs. Once the skin is loose enough, stuff some of the herbed butter in the breast area, the thighs, and the legs. Pat it down from the outside to spread it out a little more. Apply the remaining butter on the outside of the skin. If it does not want to stick, microwave it a little to make it more fluid and apply with a silicone brush. (it tends to stick to your hands better than the turkey skin).
Step 6: Season with Rub Completely coated with butter, give it a good sprinkle all over with my Texas rub recipe (purchase recipes here) for perfect seasoning throughout. Don’t forget both sides of the wings, thighs and legs.
Step 7: Smoke Time Set up your smoker for cooking at about 240°F. If your smoker has a water pan, it’s a great idea to use as this helps to reduce the drying effect of the heat. Place the spatchcocked turkey skin side up and let it smoke cook for about 4 hours at 240°F. Monitor the temperature of the breast at it’s thickest part and when it reaches about 158-160 it’s time to move it from the heat. The carryover cooking will take it on up to about 163-165.
Step 8: Rest and Serve Quickly tent some foil over the bird and leave it for about 10-15 minutes to rest before carving.  Slice the breast meat into pieces and you are ready to eat. Youtube is your friend if you need help with the carving.
Keyword Smoking Meats