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Pellet Grill Spatchcock Turkey

Pellet Grill Spatchcock Turkey – Juicy, smokey, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness takes your regular holiday turkey over the top. Spatchcocking allows the smoke from your favorite wood chips to penetrate to the bone without drying it out. Your pellet grill can deliver deliciously tender turkey any time of year!

Smoked Spatchcock Turkey fresh from the smoker

Turkey was a new experience for me when I arrived in the States, but I quickly got the hang of it. Now, I love the holidays and seeing my family enjoy my cooking. However, my family requests this awesome pellet grill spatchcocked turkey recipe even though it’s not the holidays.

It’s a good thing it’s so easy. No special skills are required, so buckle up, and let’s do this spatchcock smoked turkey.🙆🏾‍♀️ All you need is kitchen shears or a sharp knife, a turkey, seasonings, and a smoker.

What Is Spatchcocking a Turkey?

This old Irish word means opening up a turkey to cook it faster. Spatchcocking speeds up cooking a whole bird because the heat can get to all the meat more evenly. And when you pellet grill a spatchcocked turkey, that beautiful smoky aroma penetrates all the way in.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Turkey – A 10-12 pounder is perfect for feeding a crowd and provides juicier meat. But you can go larger or smaller.
  • Turkey Seasoning – I’m going with the kosher salt and pepper with Creole seasoning. However, Italian seasoning, a poultry rub, or your mix will enhance turkey’s natural flavors. You could also use a turkey brine for more juiciness.

How to Smoke a Spatchcocked Turkey

Cutting out the backbone

How to Spatchcock

  1. Clean – Remove the giblets and neck. Put the turkey on a cutting board breast side down. (Photo 1)
  2. Remove Backbone – Cut the left side of the backbone from the tail to the neck with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Then repeat with the right side of the backbone (Photos 2-4)
  3. Flip and Flatten – Flip the turkey over (breast side up) and press down on it to break the bone. Then, flatten the wings using both hands. (Photo 5)
  4. Season – Rub whatever seasoning you chose all over the turkey on both sides. (Photo 6)
Smoking your bird

Smoke It

  1. Preheat your pellet grill to 250-275℉ (120-135℃). A lower temperature means more smokiness and a higher temperature means the turkey cooks faster.
  2. Start Smoking – Put the turkey in your smoker and baste it with oil every hour or two. Smoke until the thickest part of the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165℉ (75℃).
  3. Rotate – Optionally, flip the turkey halfway through for even browning.
  4. Serve – Take the turkey out of the pellet grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Smoked Spatchcock Turkey ready to remove from the smoker

Recipe Variations

Rub Variations

  • Homemade Italian seasoning gives the turkey a herby holiday taste.
  • Poultry Seasoning perfectly complements turkey and its smoky goodness. Homemade poultry seasoning is even better.
  • Jerk Seasoning: Make it a Caribbean-style Thanksgiving with spicy jerk seasonings.

Other Ideas

  • Vegetables: Put chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc., below the turkey on a baking sheet. While the turkey is smoking, the veggies will catch the drippings. Yum!
  • Chicken: Spatchcock a chicken and reduce the smoking time to 3-4 hours at 275℉ (135℃).
A delicious closeup of tender smoked turkey that has been spatchcocked for faster smoking

Tips and Tricks

  • Brine it. A quick brine will add juiciness and flavor, but you’ve also got the rub. Besides, smoking shouldn’t dry it out, so 4-5 hours of brining should do it.
  • Easy cutting. If it’s hard to cut the backbone, try moving a little farther or closer to the bone to find the thinnest part.
  • Rest. Your turkey will be juicier if you wait about 10 minutes before carving so the fibers can firm up and hold on to the juice.
  • Resist the temptation to peek. Constantly opening the smoker lid will cool it down and lengthen the cooking time.
  • Stuffing side. Make your stuffing separately and serve it on the side. You could put it in the smoker about 30 minutes before the turkey is done for a smoked stuffing.😍
  • Internal temp. An instant-read meat thermometer should read 160℉ (72℃) in the thickest part of the breast. The thigh should read 180℉ (82℃). If you don’t have a thermometer, move the turkey leg. It should move easily when it’s done.

Which Smoker Is Best?

My first reaction to this question is the one that you like best. I love my Traeger pellet grill because you can set it and forget it, but my cousin prefers her old charcoal grill. And some people prefer electric smokers for easy cleanup. Here are my top smoker picks:

My Fave: Pellet Smoker


  1. Flavor – Although a pellet grill (aka smoker) takes longer, the smokey flavor penetrates better.
  2. Flavored wood chips in the smoking chamber add deliciousness to smoked meat. Hickory, mesquite, pecan, cherry, and applewood are good choices.
  3. Indirect heat slowly cooks your meat for outstanding tender and moist meat.


  1. It’s Bulky – The space this one occupies may not be ideal for apartment living.

Charcoal Grill


  1. Compact – It’s small and convenient, and you can store it when not in use.
  2. Environmentally-Friendly – No electricity is required, so you can use it for camping. How does smoked spatchcock turkey sound on your next wilderness trip?
  3. Flavorful – While standard charcoal is great, you can also add flavored wood!
  4. Budget Friendly – This way of smoking is probably the most budget-friendly option!


  1. Direct Heat – Even though the heat is as far from the turkey as possible, they’re still in the same chamber. That means you’re slow-roasting while smoking, so you’ll want to turn it occasionally.
  2. Messy – It’s still a great option, even though it takes a little extra cleanup because of the charcoal.

Electric Smoker


  1. Indirect Heat – This one feels safer because of the lower temperature.
  2. Built-In Thermometer – Keep an eye on the internal temperature with ease.


  1. More Time – This isn’t necessarily bad, but smoking does take longer because of its lower maximum temperature.
  2. Electric Bill – I love this smoker, but it raises my electric bill a little.
  3. Altered Taste – The taste may vary if you don’t use enough wood chips. And if I forget to preheat it, there’s a subtle plastic flavor.

Electric smokers have heating rods to make the wood chips smoke, and convection heat cooks the turkey for a slightly different flavor. It’s like a bullet smoker with a wood tray substituting the fire chamber.


How long does smoking a spatchcock turkey take?

Turkey takes 11-13 minutes per pound at 225-275℉ (135℃), or an average of 3-5 hours. A meat thermometer should read 165-180℉ (75-83℃) for the internal temperature. The temperature will continue rising for a few minutes, so you should be safe as long as it reaches 165℉ (75℃).

Does spatchcocked turkey need brining?

You can. Wet and dry brining work fine. If dry brining, spatchcock the turkey first. But if wet brining, wait until after it brining to cut into it. Then, dry it and rub it with your favorite salt-free seasoning.

Spatchcock vs. Butterflying

Spatchcocking removes the spine to flatten the bird, keeping the breast together. Butterflying typically cuts the breast apart. It accomplishes the same thing, so take your pick.

Do I need to flip a spatchcock turkey while it’s in the smoker?

Once you place the turkey inside the smoker, there is no need to turn it. Make sure to put it skin-side up to have a crispier finish.

What to Serve With Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

Holiday classics go best, but take advantage of your smoker with smoked baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and homemade cranberry sauce to deliver a complete meal. Smoked asparagus isn’t bad, either. Finish it off with pecan pie, and you’re good to go.

More Amazing Smoked Turkey Recipes to Try

  1. Turkey Necks
  2. Smoked Turkey Breast
  3. Turkey Legs
  4. Smoked Turkey Wings


Smoked spatchcock turkey is tasty and super easy. Are you planning on smoking your holiday turkey? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 😍

Juicy, fall off the bone smoked turkey spatchcocked for faster cooking

Pellet Grilled Spatchcock Turkey

Juicy, smokey, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness takes your regular holiday turkey over the top. Spatchcocking allows the smoke from your favorite wood chips to penetrate to the bone without drying it out. Your pellet grill can deliver deliciously tender turkey any time of year!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smoked, spatchcock, turkey
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 15
Calories: 457kcal
Author: Imma


  • 1 Pellet grill or another smoker


  • 1 15-pound turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons dry rub (your choice of chicken, turkey, poultry, Creole, or Italian)


Spatchcock the Turkey

  • Locate the parts you want to remove: the neck and the gizzard.
  • Use your kitchen shears to cut the left side of the backbone from the tail to the neck. Then, do the same to the right side of the backbone.
  • Flip the turkey over and press down on it with both hands to break the breast bone and flatten the wings.
  • Rub the turkey all over with your choice of seasoning.

Smoke It

  • Preheat the smoker to 250-275℉ (120-135℃). The higher the temperature, the faster the turkey will cook.
  • Place the turkey in the smoker and baste it with its juices every 1-2 hours. Smoke until the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 165℉ (75℃). It may take about 4 hours.
  • Flip the turkey halfway through for even browning, although it's unnecessary.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and let it rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.


  • Just a quick brine because the rub will give it flavor. And the smoke will easily penetrate the meat, so 4-5 hours of brining should be enough.
  • If cutting the backbone is too hard, try getting a little farther or closer to the bone. Or move it around to find the thinnest part.
  • The turkey will be much juicier if you let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Only open the smoker lid when necessary. Constant opening of the smoker will cool the smoker and lead to a longer cooking time.
  • Stuffing a smoking turkey probably isn’t safe. So make the stuffing separately and serve it on the side. You could also put it in the smoker 30 minutes before the turkey finishes for a smoky stuffing.
  • Smoke your turkey until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 160℉ (72℃) in the thickest part of the breast. The thigh should read 180℉ (82℃). The turkey leg should move easily when ready to remove it from the smoker.
  • Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 232mg | Sodium: 516mg | Potassium: 729mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg

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