Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe (5 Easy Steps)

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 was the beautiful centerpiece for your table. You’ll 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.

smoking-a-spatchcock-turkey-on-traeger

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 declious 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

Is It Best to Cook a Turkey Whole?

I would always recommend cooking a turkey whole.

Even if you plan on only using a certain part like shredded breast meat for a turkey soup or breaking it down completely for other amazing recipes.

Cooking on the bone positively impacts the flavor, moisture retention, and cooking time.

Tip: Use your leftover turkey bones and carcass for a nutritional and tasty turkey broth!

smoked-spatchcock-turkey

Why Do I Use a Traeger for a Turkey

In my opinion and as such for other passionate BBQ community members, a pellet grill is a no-nonsense way to smoke a turkey.

You set your temperature and the unit does the rest of the work.

You can set your temps, prep your bird and put it in, place your probes and set your timer.

Then you can relax and enjoy your family time!

I own one and have never looked back!

pellet-grill-spatchcock-turkey

Is It Better to Roast or Smoke a Turkey on Your Traeger?

What cooking method are we following for optimal flavor?

In this recipe, I recommend smoking on a pellet grill.

spatchcock-smoked-turkey-pellet-grill

This method used indirect heat and smoke from wood pellets to gently cook over a long period of time.

Smoking also locks in the moisture as the temperature isn’t direct and prevents the meat from drying out.

Lastly, we all love the smoky flavor of a well-finished turkey cut with fresh herbs as it’s just divine!

spatchcock-turkey-recipe-traeger

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.

smoked-spatchcock-turkey-recipe

– 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.

Then you can add it to your Traeger smoker after you’ve done the seasoning.

spatchcock-turkey-on-a-pellet-grill-brining-in-fridge

What Is the Best Seasoning for a Traeger Smoked Turkey?

What is the best seasoning for a delicious turkey?

The brining process gives us plenty of time to prepare whatever poultry rub or melted butter mix.

Tyme and sage are excellent herbs to put in a butter mixture or even garlic butter between the skin.

You can also keep seasoning during the entire cook time. 

This can be from the choice of hardwood you are using as a flavoring or even adjustment of your favorite spices.

The possibilities are endless so take creative control!

rub-for-spatchcock-turkey-on-the-traeger

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 I didn’t aht 300°F for the whole cook turns out a juicy turkey with a good smoky flavor that has a nice crispy skin.

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-to-cook-spatchcock-turkey-on-pellet-grill

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

When smoking turkey at a temp of 300°F, allow for 20 minutes per pound with the

Always rely on a meat probe if you have one 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 insdue

smoked-spatchcock-turkey-cooking-time-chart

What if You Don’t Have a Traeger 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

pellet-grill-spatchcock-turkey

Our Method for Cooking Turkey on a Traeger Pellet Grill

See below for our recipe instructions that have been tried and tested to produce an EPIC feast on Thanksgiving.

smoked-spatchcock-turkey-pellet-grill

What You Need for Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

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

Brine Ingredients  

  • Enough cold water to submerge the turkey (tap is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt to 1 cup of water
  • Pinch of black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
BRINE-FOR-spatchcock-turkey

Dry Spice Rub Ingredients (Mix to Your Ratio)

  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried rosemary
  • Cayenne pepper
traeger-spatchcock-turkey

Equipment

  • Traeger Pellet Grill
  • Cherry wood pellets
  • Meat probe
  • Bowl
  • Deep container
  • Paper towel
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil
craving-smoked-spatchcock-turkey-recipe
spatchcock-turkey-on-pellet-grill

Preparing the Spice Rub

Mix all the spices in a bowl until even distribution at your desired ratios.

– Keep the sugar ratio less than a tenth so it doesn’t burn during the cooking process.

rub-on-traeger-smoked-spatchcock-turkey

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey on a Traeger Pellet Grill

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

If you are thinking about getting a pellet grill, I highly recommend looking at ones built by Traeger.

The build quality is excellent and gives you so much freedom in the kitchen.

smoked-turkey-spatchcock

Step 1: Brining & Preparing Turkey

Meat church bird bath brine gets mixed with water and then goes into a bag with the turkey

– Submerge in a deep container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight if possible.

Make the spice rub as per the instructions above.

– Remove from brine and discard water safely 2 hours before you plan on smoking.

– After brining the turkey gets rinsed off in the sink to remove all the salty brine.

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.

Pat dry and leave covered at room temperature for 2 hours.

Rub the olive oil and spice blend all over the turkey.

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 3: Injecting the Turkey

After generously coating the turkey with the rubs on both sides then I injected melted butter into the breasts & thighs of the turkey.

injecting-spatchcock-turkey-smoked

 

spatchcock-turkey-smoked
smoking-spatchcock-turkey-with-probes-in

Step 3: 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 breast side up in the coolest part of the grill.

smoke-spatchcock-turkey

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 reaches 165°F remove the turkey from the grill

spatchcock-turkey-traeger

Step 5: 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.
craving-up-traeger-smoked-turkey-spatchcock
smoking-a-spatchcock-turkey-on-a-pellet-grill

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 hr
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
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

  • Ironwood Traeger Pellet Grill
  • Cherry wood pellets
  • Meat probe
  • Bowl
  • Deep container
  • Paper towel
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients

Ingredients for Smoked Turkey

  • 1 fresh free-range 1–12 lb turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Brine Ingredients
  • Enough cold water to submerge the turkey tap is fine
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt to 1 cup of water
  • Pinch of black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Dry Spice Rub Ingredients (Mix to Your Ratio)

  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried rosemary
  • Cayenne pepper

Instructions

Preparing the Spice Rub

  • Mix all the spices in a bowl until even distribution at your desired ratios.
  • Keep the sugar ratio less than a tenth so it doesn't burn during the cooking process.

Step 1: Brining & Preparing Turkey

  • Meat church bird bath brine gets mixed with water and then goes into a bag with the turkey
  • Submerge in a deep container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight if possible.
  • Make the spice rub as per the instructions above.
  • Remove from brine and discard water safely 2 hours before you plan on smoking.
  • After brining the turkey gets rinsed off in the sink to remove all the salty brine.

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 (5 Easy Steps)”

  1. 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. 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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