Smoked Spatchcock Turkey [Butterfly Method, Wood, Dry Rubbed]


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.

Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

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.

Close up of smoked turkey seasoned with dry rub

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.

Quick tip

It can be difficult to keep turkey flat during a 4 hour smoke. Get  to cook your bird on a large grill or in a smoker basket. These keep your bird in shape and prevent it from sticking to the grates of your smoker.

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.

Smoked Turkey Spatchcock

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.
Course dinner, main course
American cuisine , BBQ
Preparation time 12 hours
Cooking time 3 hours
Total time 15 hours


  • 10-12 pounds of Turkey
  • 3 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

dry massage

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper .


  • Spatchcock turkey. Apply kosher salt to the underside of the turkey, along the surface and under the skin if possible. Place in the fridge overnight and let the brine dry.
  • Turn smoker on to 225°F. If you are using a charcoal grill, set it to 2-zone grilling or indirect grilling.
  • Remove turkey from refrigerator and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with baking paper. Place on a cooling rack to dry.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients to rub into a little pain. Apply olive oil to the skin and underside of the turkey. Apply a dry massage generously to the bird.
  • Place turkey skin side up and bottom side down on smoking racks. Smoke for 2-3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160°F – 165°F. For best results, insert an incense thermometer into the thickest part of the bird.
  • Carve the turkey and serve immediately.

Leave a Comment