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spatchcock smoked turkey on red plate with herbs

Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

This smoked turkey which is spatchcocked is simple to prepare but will be the star of your holiday feast.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 657kcal
Author Ryan Beck


  • 1 (12 lb) whole turkey
  • 3 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon


  • First, spatchcock the turkey by removing the giblets, neck and any plastic hardware. Place the turkey on a cutting board with the backbone facing up. Use kitchen shears and cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Turn breast side up and press down to flatten it.
  • Mix the salt and pepper for the dry brine. Cover the turkey inside and out with the dry brine mixture. Place the turkey in a large foil-lined pan uncovered and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • Preheat smoker to 200°F while you'll make the compound butter. Chop the garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary and add to a bowl with the butter. Add the lemon zest and mix well to combine. You want the butter to be smooth with the herbs mixed through.
  • Use your fingers to gently lift the skin of the turkey from the body of the bird. Rub half of the butter mixture underneath the skin and spread some of it on top as well. Rub the remaining butter on the turkey skin.
  • Smoke the turkey for 45 minutes at 200°F before increasing temperature to 375°F. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.


  • If skipping the brine, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper to the compound butter mixture.
  • Make sure you rinse and then pat dry the turkey which allows for a crisp skin.
  • Fresh herbs are the only way to go for this turkey. Do not replace with dried herbs.
  • If you smoke too long at 200°F, the turkey will be overloaded with smoke flavor. Smoke for max 45 minutes before increasing the temperature. Poultry takes in smoke flavor much quicker than other meats.
  • You know the turkey is done when you insert a thermometer in the breast and it reaches 165°F. The key is finding the right part of the breast and making sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bone.
  • When the turkey reaches the correct temperature, cover loosely in aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Letting it rest keeps the juices in the turkey.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 107g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 530mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g