This smoked spatchcock turkey recipe is the perfect way to master your griddle presentation. Prepared with a nice dry rub, this meat preparation method is sure to steal the show this holiday season.
Spatchcock, or turkey with butterflies, is an excellent way to work the flavors of smoke and wood throughout the bird. This preserves the flavor and juices we love in roast turkey and takes a fraction of the time compared to a regular smoked turkey . It’s a win-win situation.
Today I show you how to prepare your bird for the smoker and how to smash it properly. Here’s everything you need to know about smoking a roast turkey.
What is butterfly
Poultry spatchcocking or butterflying is when the backbone of the bird is removed. This allows the bird to lie flat on an oven rack or grill. This cooking method is called “butterfly” because the way the wings and legs are spread out resembles an attached butterfly.
Roasting a turkey requires more effort in preparing the bird than just tossing it in the smoker, but it’s worth it. Spatchcocking allows the bird to cook more evenly, as large parts of the bird that cook more slowly break down. This also results in a juicer, more flavorful bird because the smaller pieces don’t dry out while waiting for the main part of the bird to finish smoking.
Cooking a whole turkey is also a great way to save time. The flatter bird cooks faster because more of its surface is in contact with the grill or smoker.
Like butterfly turkey
Start with a prepared turkey. The bird should be thawed at room temperature and in brine. If the neck and innards came with it, take them out.
Next, place the turkey breast-side down on a non-slip surface. The spine should be up SO YOU CAN WORK WITH IT. Take poultry shears , snip along each side of the backbone to separate it from the meat and brisket, then remove(save the bone for the broth).
Stretch the meat to the side so you can access the breastbone. Using the tip of a sharp knife embedded in the top plate of the bone, split the bone into two. You should be able to open the turkey at this point.
Finally, turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up. Press down on the sternum until the bird is completely flat.
Times and temperatures
To get the best possible result, it helps to know what temperature to cook the turkey at and for how long. That way, you avoid constantly opening or poking around in the pot and wondering if it’s cooked or not. This also puts you at risk of damaging the skin. The ideal temperature for smoking Spatchcock turkey is 225˚F(107°C) for 2-3 hours.
The total number of hours depends on the weight of the turkey. You can estimate around 11-13 minutes per pound. If you’re not exactly sure how much the turkey weighs, you may rely more on the internal temperature than how long the turkey was cooked.
In order for Turkey to be edible and safe, it must reach certain temperatures. The recommended internal temperature for Turkey is 165˚F. In general, all birds need to reach between 160 and 165°F to safely eat. It is therefore absolutely necessary to use a meat internal thermometer. The good news is that most smokers get by with it.
The best wood for smoking turkey
Fruity hardwoods are the best woods for smoking turkey. You want something soft and supple, that. You give. Meat is not overpowering and has just enough fruit flavor to lift it.
Cherry wood adds a nice sweetness to your turkey without overwhelming it. Pecan is a sweet tasting wood, as is cherry. Pecan is much more flavorful and gives the smoke a nutty note. The bow is a lot more subtle than its cute counterparts. Applewood is another sweet and fruity wood, but it has a much milder flavor than cherry or walnut. Choose maple for a much lighter flavor profile.
Avoid mesquite and hickory. Both are strong and robust and will overwhelm the turkey’s natural flavors. While hickory is certainly a classic wood, it’s too hard and intense for poultry.