Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

Want to smoke the perfect spatchcock turkey in your Traeger? Your in the right place!

You’ll see how to cook the juiciest, tender bird that has perfectly crisp skin. It will be a beautiful centerpiece for your table and your family will be begging for the recipe!

Now smoking a turkey to absolute perfection can be tricky, so make sure you follow all my steps below.

Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

I get asked all the time if you should spatchcock or turkey or not. Everyone wants to know which method leads to a better-cooked bird!

Well after many attempts at smoking a turkey the traditional;l way and spatchcocking it, feel like a turkey expert! After all a turkey dinner is one of my (and my family’s) favorites! Even in July, I like to smoke a turkey on the weekends we have delicious leftovers for sandwiches all week long!

The first time I tried the spatchcock mention I was worried it won’t be as juicy. Plus they wasn’t any stuffing! But I was wrong!

It is quicker to cook and that shorter cooking time means your bird doesn’t dry out, so you get super juicy meat and delicious crispy skin. You can see my method for spatchcocking the turkey below!

How To Spatchcock A Turkey

It isn’t hard to spatchcock a turkey, just make sure you have a pair of strong kitchen scissors.

After brining the turkey, give it a rinse to remove the salty brine.

Then using kitchen shears I cut along each side of the backbone and remove it, then flip the turkey and press hard so it lays flat.

This is called spatchcock. Now the turkey is ready for seasoning

spatchcock-turkey-on-traeger

What You Need for Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

  • 1 fresh free-range 1–12 lb turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black pepper

Brine Ingredients  

  • Kosher Salt
  • Apple Juice
  • Water 
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Oranges Quartered
  • Sliced Ginger
  • Bay Leaves
  • Garlic
  • Cloves

Dry Spice Rub Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper

Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

This has got to be my favorite turkey method to fill hungry stomachs at Thanksgiving.

Step 1: Brining & Preparing Turkey

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat over high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once dissolved, let it boil for an additional minute, then remove it from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and refrigerate until it reaches 40°F.

In a large, non-corrosive container, combine the remaining ingredients with the apple juice mixture. Place the turkey in the brine with the breast side down. If necessary, use a weight to keep the turkey fully submerged. Set the container in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours (for best results, leave it for 24 hours).

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine. Thoroughly dry it with paper towels and place it on a rack with parchment paper underneath. Let it air dry in the fridge overnight. While this step is not essential, it will help achieve a nice crispy skin.

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BRINE-FOR-spatchcock-turkey
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spatchcock-turkey-smoked-in-brine

Step 2: Instructions to Spatchcock a Turkey

Place the turkey on the bench with the legs closest to you and the breast side down.

Using kitchen shears I cut alongside the backbone. You’ll need to cut through the ribs. Then repeat on the other side of the spine. and remove it, then flip the turkey and press hard so it lays flat.

Step 3: Seasoning Turkey

Pat dry and leave covered at room temperature for 2 hours. Rub the olive oil and spice blend all over the turkey.

smoked-spatchcock-turkey
rub-on-traeger-smoked-spatchcock-turkey

Step 3: Injecting the Turkey

Preheat your smoker to 300°F. After generously coating the turkey with the rubs on both sides, I injected melted butter into the breasts & thighs of the turkey.

injecting-spatchcock-turkey-smoked
spatchcock-turkey-smoked

 

Step 3: Smoking Turkey

Put the turkey directly on the grill grate breast side up in the coolest part of the grill. Insert the temperature probe and monitor while cooking.

Smoke as per the directions above based on your bird’s weight. During the cook, I melted some butter with garlic and rosemary and basted the turkey every 30 minutes When the breast has reached 165°F remove the turkey from the grill

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Step 5: Rest & Enjoy

Rest the turkey for at least 30 minutes covered in tin foil. Carve the meat and enjoy with your favrotie sides

craving-up-traeger-smoked-turkey-spatchcock

How Do I Avoid Dry Turkey Meat?

Want to avoid a dry turkey? So we just touched on how the smoking method without a high temperature stops the meat from drying but what else can we do?

– Wrap the turkey in aluminum foil for the end stage of the cooking process helps lock in the moisture and steam.

– Resting the bird for at least 30 minutes covered in a piece of foil enables the proteins to relax and absorb back the juices.

– Spraying the turkey with water or a vinegar-based solution during the initial smoke phase

– Or having a hot water pan in your smoker will keep the air moisture levels high within the cooking chamber.

Brining is also a great way to avoid dry meat and I will go into a little more detail below.

traeger-spatchcock-turkey

 

 

Should You Brine Turkey Before Cooking?

Are you wondering if you need to use a dry brine, brine bath, or not at all? Yes, yes, and yes.

It’s brine time! The only hard thing about brining a turkey is finding a container big enough!

Ideally, you should make a brine solution with kosher salt, black peppercorns, and cold water. Submerge the whole turkey or at least the entire breast. 

Leave this in your refrigerator before cooking for at least 2-4 hours. Wipe down with a paper towel and leave to air dry for 30 mins.

What Temperature Do I Cook Turkey on a Traeger Grill?

I like to smoke turkey at 300°F on my Traeger.

Some cooks suggest starting off at 225°F and then raising the temperature to 375°F for the second half of the cook. Other cooks like to start high at 400°F and reduce it to 325°F for the second half of the cook.

But I have tested all the methods and found that using 300°F for the whole cook turns out a juicy turkey with a good smoky flavor that has a nice crispy skin.

traeger-spatchcock-turkey

What Internal Cooking Temperature Does the Meat Need to Be?

The internal temperature of the turkey should 165°F in the thickest part when it is ready. Insert the digital probe meat thermometer into the turkey breast and thigh when checking this

Be especially careful with poultry, you don’t want to risk food poisoning. 

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey on a Traeger?

When smoking turkey at a temp of 300°F, allow for 20 minutes per pound and always use an internal probe for a more accurate reading.

Also, ask your butcher exactly how much the bird weighs so you have an accurate idea when planning how long it will take to cook.

Note: There are a few methods for smoking turkey. I like to cook at 300°F for the whole cook, however, I have tried the method in which you smoke at 225°F until the breast reaches 100°F, then you raise the temperature to 375°F and cook until the breast reaches 165°F. I found that a steady temperature of 300°F turns out a turkey with crispy skin and is super juicy inside

smoked-spatchcock-turkey-cooking-time-chart

What if You Don’t Have a Pellet Grill?

Not having a Traeger smoker isn’t the end of the world. A charcoal smoker or grill works just as well. I have tested everything and have included the recipes below

Smoking Turkey in a Gas Smoker

Smoking Turkey in an Electric Smoker

Smoked Turkey in a Pit Boss

spatchcock-turkey-on-pellet-grill
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

Want to try a spatchcocked turkey in your Traeger? This recipe will ensure you produce a deliciously moist and smoky turkey with crispy skin
This is a tried and tested method to produce your next big success on Thanksgiving.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 27

Equipment

  • Traeger pellet grill
  • Wood Pellets
  • Meat probe
  • Bowl
  • Deep container
  • Paper towel
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients

Ingredients for Smoked Turkey

  • 1 whole turkey
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil or Butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black pepper

Brine Ingredients

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 8 cups apple juice 2 quarts
  • 12 cups water 3 quarts
  • Pinch of black peppercorns
  • 3 whole oranges quartered
  • 4 ounces sliced ginger
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 15 whole cloves

Dry Spice Rub Ingredients (Mix to Your Ratio)

  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1/3 tbsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika

Instructions

Preparing the Spice Rub

  • Mix all the spices in a bowl.

Step 1: Brining & Preparing Turkey

  • Add the apple juice, brown sugar, and salt into a large saucepan. Over a high heat bring to the boil and stir to dissolve. Once dissolved boil for 1 minute further and remove from heat. Let the mix cool to room temperature and refrigerate until 40°F.
  • In a very large non-corrosive container, add the remaining ingredients together with the apple juice mixture. Place the turkey into the brine breast side down. If you need to weigh down the turkey with a weight to keep it fully submerged. Set aside in the fridge for 12 – 24 hours (for best results leave for 24 hours).
  • After 24 hours remove the turkey from the brine. Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels and set on a rack with baking paper below and set in the fridge to air dry overnight. This step is not essential but will give you a nice crispy skin.

Step 2: Instructions to Spatchcock the Turkey

  • Place there turkey on the bench with the legs and closet to you and the breast side down.
  • Using kitchen shears I cut alongside of the backbone. You’ll need to cut through the ribs. Then repeat on the other side of the spine. and remove it, then flip the turkey and press hard so it lays flat.

Step 3: Seasoning Turkey

  • Pat dry and leave covered at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • Rub the olive oil and spice blend all over the turkey.

Step 4: Injecting the Turkey

  • Generously coat the turkey with the rubs on both sides then I injected melted butter into the breasts & thighs.

Step 5: Smoking Turkey

  • Load the pellets, prime, and set the grill to a temperature of 300°F.
  • Wait for your pellet grill to come to temperature.
  • Put the turkey directly on the grill grate in the coolest part of the grill.
  • Insert the temperature probe and monitor while cooking.
  • During the cook, I melted some butter with garlic and rosemary and basted the turkey every 30 minutes
  • When the breast reached 165 degrees the turkey was removed from the grill

Step 6: Rest & Enjoy

  • Rest the turkey for at least 30 minutes covered in tin foil.
  • Carve the meat and enjoy.
  • Store any leftover turkey meat in an airtight container and eat within a few days.
smoked-spatchcock-turkey-cooking-time-chart

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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2 thoughts on “Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    Very intrigued by your recipe but I got lost in the sections where it says to smoke the turkey at 225 for 40 min per pound, but then your recipe calls for cooking at 300 for 3 hours and 30 minutes. Just trying to figure out which temp and the time per pound is correct. Thank you

    1. 5 stars
      Hiya Darryn!

      Thanks for letting me know mate, I tested smoking the turkey at 225 however I now recommend 300°F. I find that I got crisper skin and a better smoky flavor. Are you gonna try this spatchcocked turkey this thanksgiving?

      Cheers!!

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