How Long To Smoke A Spatchcocked Turkey At 225 F?

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, have you been hearing a lot about spatchcock turkey? Then it’s good to find out what a spatchcock turkey is all about. Most importantly, you must be wanting to know how long it takes to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 225 F. This article will answer all your questions.

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcocked Turkey At 225 F

Let’s first understand what a spatchcocked turkey is. There are different ways to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. But if you wish to make one of the best turkeys of your life, a spatchcocked turkey is the answer to your prayer.

Spatchcocking is a fancy term for butterflying your bird. It is a process of removing the backbone of a whole turkey that allows it to lay flat and cook faster and evenly. This results in a delicious and juicy turkey. Who wouldn’t want these results?

Now that you know what happens with the turkey let’s find out all the answers related to spatchcocked turkey and for how long to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 225 F.

Why Should You Spatchcock Your Turkey?

Spatchcocking a turkey is by far the most desirable technique for cooking a turkey. Below are the reasons why you should try spatchcocking your turkey.

1. Gets Ready Faster

The beauty of spatchcocking a turkey is that it reduces the time of cooking the bird drastically. According to the internet’s foremost spatchcocking expert, you can reduce the cooking time of turkey to half. That’s because when a turkey lays flat, it can handle higher heat and cook more evenly. 

2. Juicer And Crispier Meat

The advantage of spatchcocking a turkey is that it provides you with a crispy skin and keeps the meat moist. The reason? Spatchcocking allows the skin to be exposed to uninterrupted dry heat that makes it crisp. On the other hand, meat is stewed in fat that keeps it moist.

3. Carving Made Easy

Sure, many people take pride in roasting and carving a whole turkey using their muscles. Let’s also appreciate the fact that a whole turkey surrounded by other dishes on the table looks great. However, carving it can get messy. So, with the bird already flattened, a spatchcocked turkey is far easier and more visually appealing. 

How To Spatchcock Turkey?

 Spatchcocking a turkey is a simple process. Follow the steps below for a perfectly spatchcocked turkey.

  1. Take a cutting board and place the turkey on it. Remove the giblets from the cavity. They will most likely be in a bag. Pat dry the turkey using paper towels. 
  2. Lay the turkey with the breast facedown and the backbone facing up. Locate the backbone. Using sharp kitchen shears or a boning knife, cut along one side of the turkey backbone, beginning from the tail end. You will be cutting through cartilage and bones. Be prepared to use some muscle power. 
  3. Repeat the process on the other side of the turkey spine and remove the backbone.
  4. Turn the turkey over. The breast side should be facing up. Press down the bird forcefully using both your hands. You will hear the turkey wishbone crack and lay flat. Shift the turkey to a baking dish and season it. 

Is Smoking And Roasting Spatchcock Turkey The Same Thing?

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcocked Turkey At 225 F

Roasting a turkey is the most common term used for cooking a turkey, and so is smoking. But do they mean the same? Let’s figure it out.

Roasting and smoking a turkey are different ways of cooking turkey. However, the key difference lies in the final flavor of the turkey. Roasting a turkey is done in an oven. It is a classic way of cooking turkey by placing the bird in a preheated oven temperature between 325 to 350°F.  

Roasting takes a maximum of 4 – 5 hours for a bird weighing between 4 to 8 pounds to cook. To check whether the bird is cooked, the internal temperature should reach 160°F on a kitchen thermometer set at the turkey breast. 

On the other hand, for a smoked turkey, the bird is set on a grill or traeger and is cooked using charcoal and wood pellets. Here, the smoker temperature is set at 185 to 225°F, and the time taken by the bird to cook is 5 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the bird.

Here too, you can use a kitchen thermometer to find out if the turkey has been perfectly smoked (cooked). When the internal temperature of turkey reaches 160°F, it’s time to remove it from the grills.

Generally, the smoking process for a whole turkey takes a longer time. But in the case of spatchcocked turkey, the cooking time is much less. The rule followed for smoking a turkey is to smoke per pound of turkey for about 30 to 40 minutes.

How To Prepare A Spatchcock Turkey For The Smoker?

If you have decided to spatchcock turkey for Thanksgiving this year, here’s how you can prepare your bird.

1. Brine The Turkey

Brining the turkey is an optional step. Brining a turkey is a recommended step to make teh bird more flavorful and to hold the moisture. Brining is done a day before cooking the turkey. However, this step is completely optional. 

2. Spatchcock Turkey

Using the steps explained to spatchcock, you can spatchcock your turkey and get it ready for cooking.

3. Prepare The Pan

Prepare your roasting pan with chicken broth, herbs, and onions. 

4. Season it!

Season the turkey with butter and your favorite rub. You are ready to smoke a spatchcocked turkey!

How Long Should You Smoke Spatchcock Turkey At 225 F?

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcocked Turkey At 225 F

Now comes the most important step of cooking your turkey for Thanksgiving. It is very important to set the proper temperature of your grill or Traeger to smoke spatchcock turkey properly. This will ensure that you don’t end up with an undercooked or overcooked turkey.

You can smoke a spatchcocked turkey between 200 F to 275 F temperature.

However, the duration of time required to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 225 F entirely depends on the size of your turkey. 

The general rule of thumb to smoke a spatchcocked turkey is over low heat at 225° – 275° F for approximately 11-13 minutes a pound. A 12-pound turkey would take approximately 1.30 to 2 hours to cook.  

Remove the turkey from the grill once the turkey breast temperature reaches 165°F, and cover it loosely with foil. It’s always best to check your turkey an hour before it is expected to be cooked.

Always remember that even after removing the turkey from the grill or oven, it continues to cook from the heat trapped in it. Therefore, removing it a few minutes before reaching the desired temperature prevents it from overcooking. 

Before carving the turkey, let it rest for approximately 30 minutes.

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcocked Turkey At 225 F

Best Woods To Use For Smoking

By now, you know how to spatchcock a turkey and what temperature to cook the turkey at. But do you know what to do to have the most flavorful turkey? Using the right wood pellets. 

The best-tasting turkey depends on the wood pellets used. Meats tend to absorb more smoke during the start of the cooking process than later. Therefore, choosing the right woods for good flavoring is one of the key steps for a great-tasting turkey.  

A lot of wood varieties are available in the market for smoking. These include oak, maple, mesquite, pecan, apple, cherry, and alder. But one of the versatile choices of wood is hickory. It has a sweet, savory, and hearty flavor. However, be careful to use a small amount of hickory as it leaves a bitter flavor when used in a lot of quantities.


To smoke a spatchcocked turkey, you should set the grill temperature to 225 F. Ideally, a 12-pound turkey at this temperature will be done in 2 hours.

Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs)

What is smoked turkey?

A smoked turkey is a turkey cooked on a pellet grill that takes on a smoky flavor while cooking.

Should a spatchcocked turkey be brined?

It is always a good idea to brine the turkey, whether whole or spatchcocked, as it results in moist meat with crispy skin.

How long should you smoke a spatchcocked turkey?

The time to cook spatchcocked turkey depends on the weight of the bird. The general rule of thumb to smoke a spatchcocked turkey is over low heat at 225° – 275° F for approximately 11-13 minutes a pound.

Is smoking a turkey worth it?

Yes, smoking a turkey makes a more flavorful turkey than roasting it.

Should I let the turkey rest after smoking?

A turkey, whether roasted or smoked, should be left resting for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the turkey to spread its juices evenly throughout.

Does smoking turkey take longer to cook?

A whole turkey takes a little longer to cook than a spatchcocked turkey.

Does smoking a turkey make it dry?

Overcooking or not basting your turkey makes it dry.

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