For the most tender, juicy turkey, try this Spatchcock Smoked Turkey recipe!

Making a spatchcock turkey in the Traeger, Big Green Egg, or Masterbuilt smoker, is one of the easiest, quickest and most delicious ways to get a holiday bird on the table. And using the smoker keeps the oven free to make an abundance of delicious side dishes for hungry holiday guests! No one will be able to resist the wonderful, mouth-watering aroma of a fully cooked smoked turkey. And it comes out so incredibly tender with juicy meat and deliciously crisp skin!

cooked Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

An Easy Way to Cook Turkey!

  • To ‘spatchcock’ means to butterfly a whole turkey simply by removing the backbone so that it lays flat. This helps it cook more evenly and a lot faster! Once you get the technique down, you’ll want to try it on chicken, too!
  • Brine the turkey in advance to tenderize the meat and prepare it for the smoking process.
  • Fire up the electric smoker and let it infuse your turkey with your favorite pellet or chip flavors! Cherrywood, applewood, or mesquite are popular for turkey!

process of flattening turkey to make Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

Ingredients & Variations

TURKEY: Choose a whole turkey up to 15 lbs for this recipe. Check the label to see if your bird is already butter-basted as this will change the flavor somewhat. Don’t hesitate to ask your local butcher to remove the backbone for you, some are very happy to oblige!
SEASONING: Be sure you have the right amount of brine for the size of your turkey and that it can be completely submerged in the brine. For extra flavorful skin, rub the outside of the turkey with this smoked chicken rub or Cajun seasoning.   

Spatchcock Smoked Turkey on a sheet pan before cooking

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

  1. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry.
  2. Lay turkey breast side down, cut the backbone from the turkey using kitchen shears or a very sharp knife.
  3. Flip turkey breast side up, and remove the wishbone. Spread turkey out, breast side up, and press down on the breast until it lies flat.
  4. Rub the entire turkey with oil and sprinkle the chicken rub on the breast side.

close up of Spatchcock Smoked Turkey cooked on a sheet pan

How to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey

Follow these steps for a sensational holiday bird!

  1. Place turkey, breast side up in a preheated smoker (as per recipe below).
  2. Baste after one hour with melted butter and smoke until done.
  3. For an extra crispy skin, grill the finished turkey on high heat for just a few minutes.

Let turkey rest about 30 minutes to seal in the juices. Before carving, the breast temperature should be 170°F, and the thigh should read at 180°F.

sliced Spatchcock Smoked Turkey breast on a cutting board with full turkey in the background

Tips for Smoking Turkey

  • Whether your smoker is a Big Green Egg, a Traeger, or a Masterbuilt, always refer to your user manual for additional guidance.
  • A general rule of thumb is to smoke turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 275˚F to 300°F, but check with the user manual.

piece of Spatchcock Smoked Turkey on a fork

Other Easy Smoked Recipes!

close up of Spatchcock Smoked Turkey cooked on a sheet pan
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Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

Cook a turkey in the smoker spatchcock style for the most juicy and delicious turkey meat!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Rest 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Candace


  • 15 pound turkey
  • 1 recipe turkey brine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken rub or your favorite seasoning
  • 2-4 Tablespoons butter melted


  • Brine turkey. Remove from brine and pat dry (no need to rinse).
  • Preheat smoker to 300°F. Use applewood pellets or chips for great flavor!
  • On a large cutting board, place turkey back side up. Using heavy kitchen scissors (or a serrated knife), cut down one side of the the back bone, then the other, to completely remove the backbone. (Discard backbone or save for making turkey broth.)
  • Near the top of the breast, find the wishbone (nestled under the skin) and cut through (or carve to remove) the wishbone. This helps to flatten the bird and for carving later.
  • Flip turkey over and using two hands, push down firmly on the breast side until turkey is flat.
  • Rub bird with olive oil on skin side (you may not use all of the oil).
  • Sprinkle the breast side of the turkey with chicken rub.
  • Place turkey, breast side up, on the grate for the smoker. After one hour of smoking, baste with butter to coat skin. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches is 165°F in the breast and 175°F in the thigh, approximately 2 ½ hours. For even crispier skin, grill on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Allow to rest for about 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 170°F in the breast, and 180°F in the thigh.
  • Carve and serve.


  • Nutrition is calculated without the brine.
  • Always refer to the user manual for guidance on how to use a smoker.
  • Generally, smoke a turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 275˚F to 300°F.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 754 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 105g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 354mg | Sodium: 560mg | Potassium: 1095mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 387IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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