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Smoked Spatchcock Turkey is a simple recipe that does not require a lot of time. One of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare a turkey is by spatchcocking it. In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to cook a turkey for the holidays. It will make cooking your turkey much, much faster so you can focus on the more important things.

This method is not just used for turkey. This can be used to break down any whole poultry so that it cooks faster.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make a smoked spatchcock turkey on the Traeger. 

smoked spatchcock turkey cut and served on cutting board
Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

What does spatchcock mean?

Spatchcocking turkey is the process of splitting open your turkey to be grilled. In order to spatchcock a bird, you are going to remove the backbone and then slice into the cartilage between the breasts. You then flip the bird over, breast side up, and flatten the bird.

smoked spatchcock turkey
It’s easier than you think to spatchcock the turkey

How much time does spatchcocking save off the cooking time?

A 12-14 pound turkey traditionally takes 180-210 minutes to cook. However, when you spatchcock the bird, the time reduces to 80-90 minutes. This is when the bird is traditionally roasted. Smoking a turkey on the Traeger usually takes 30 minutes per pound for a 12-14 pound turkey. Once you spatchcock the turkey, it will take roughly 3.5 to 4 hours total. The turkey starts at 225 degrees for the first two hours and finishes at 350 degrees.

smoked spatchcock turkey on Traeger Smoker
Spatchcock Turkey on the Traeger Smoker

What tools do you need to spatchcock a turkey?

You will need a chef’s knife and good quality kitchen shears. The kitchen shears will make it so much easier to cut through the bird to remove the backbone. You can then use the chef’s knife to cut the cartilage between the breasts.

smoked spatchcock turkey on Traeger Smoker
Almost ready to serve the Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

How many people will a 12-14 pound turkey feed?

If you’re planning to make this smoked spatchcock turkey for Thanksgiving, you should know that a 12-14 pound turkey will feed roughly 12 to 14 people. You need to estimate 1 pound of turkey per person when dealing with a turkey weighing 16 pounds or less. If the turkey is over 16 pounds, you’ll need a little less than 1 pound per person. If you’re serving a lot of people, it is often better to make two turkeys rather than one. Depending on the size of your smoker, you may be able to cook both at once.

smoked spatchcock turkey cut and served on gray plate
Your family will love this Smoked Turkey

What should you serve with a smoked turkey?

Well, if you live in the South, you can’t go wrong adding some mac and cheese to your Traeger to serve with your smoked turkey. There’s also nothing wrong with making some baked beans and even some deviled eggs. And don’t forget the Turkey Gravy, this recipe is the BEST!

You could make some loaded mashed potatoes for something different to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey. Scalloped potatoes would also be awesome. If you’re looking for something different this Thanksgiving, go all the way. Look for recipes that put a spin on the classics.

What are the ingredients to make smoked spatchcock turkey?

ingredients for smoked spatchcock turkey
Time to get started making the bring for the Smoked Turkey

To make a smoked spatchcock turkey, you are going to need the following ingredients:

Spatchcock Turkey Ingredients

  • Whole Turkey, 12-14 pounds
  • Poultry rub

Spatchcock Turkey Brine

  • Onion
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Maple syrup
  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Water

How do you cook a spatchcocked turkey on a Traeger?

1. The first step is going to be to thoroughly thaw your turkey. Next, remove the giblets, neckbone, and any other surprises that may be inside the bird.

bring for smoked spatchcock turkey
Add the brine ingredients to the pot

2. You then want to prepare the brine. Add all the brine ingredients to a large stock pot and bring two cups of water to a boil in a separate pot. Mix the boiling water with the brine ingredients until dissolved. Add the chilled water and allow the mixture to set.

spatchcock turkey
Now let’s spatchcock the turkey

3. Use your kitchen shears and chef’s knife to spatchcock the turkey. This is done by removing the backbone and then slicing through the cartilage between the breasts. Turn the turkey over and press flat. Use the kitchen shears to also remove the tips of the wings so that they don’t burn while cooking.

brining smoked spatchcock turkey
Brine overnight in the refrigerator

4. Place the turkey into the stock pot with the brine and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

5. Remove the turkey from the brine onto a rack on top of a cookie sheet. Allow the brine to drip off and use a paper towel to dry the bird.

6. Heat the smoker to 225 degrees.

seasoning smoked spatchcock turkey
Then be sure to season it well

7. Season the turkey with the poultry rub.

8. Add the turkey to the Traeger and smoke for 2 hours at 225 degrees. Increase the temperature of the Traeger to 350 degrees and cook for another 1.5 to 2 hours or until the temperature reaches 165 degrees in the breast.

9. Remove from the Traeger and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

smoked spatchcock turkey cut and served on cutting board
The BEST Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

If you are looking to how to smoke a turkey that doesn’t suck, then check out my smoked turkey recipe on the Weber and turkey injection recipe that is to die for.

smoked spatchcock turkey cut and served on gray plate

Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

Make this easy smoked turkey recipe for Thanksgiving or a Fall Party.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Course: Smoked Recipes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smoked spatchcock turkey, smoked turkey
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 8
Calories: 28kcal
Author: Mark Rogers


  • 1 12-14 lbs Whole Turkey, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons poultry rub
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cups water, room temperature
  • 6 cups water, chilled


  • Thaw turkey ahead of time if frozen. Remove any giblets or neck sections and set them aside for stock if desired.
  • Make the brine: Add the brining ingredients into a stock pot large enough to hold the turkey. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a separate pot
  • Add boiling water to the stock pot and whisk until the salt is dissolved
  • Add the 6 cups of chilled water to the finished brining solution and set aside.
  • Spatchcock the turkey: Place the turkey breast down on a cutting board and with a chef’s knife or kitchen shears cut along both sides of the backbone
  • Next slice the cartilage separating the breasts
  • Turn the turkey over and press the turkey flat.
  • Clip the wing tips off with your kitchen shears.
  • Add turkey to the stock pot with brining solution and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
  • After brining, remove turkey from solution and lay on a baking rack and allow to drain while the smoker comes to temperature.
  • Preheat smoker to 225°F
  • Pat any remaining moisture from the skin of the turkey and generously season the turkey with your favorite poultry rub
  • Lay the turkey flat directly onto the grill grates and close the lid
  • After 2 hours increase the temperature to 350°F and cook until the breast meat is 165° F read with an instant read thermometer. (Usually 1 ½ to 2 more hours)
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve and serve.


Serving: 8g | Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.04g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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