Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

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There is nothing better than a juicy Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey served next to sinful sides and a decent helping of holiday cheer! With Thanksgiving fast approaching, you’ll totally want to check out this incredible Traeger spatchcock turkey recipe that the entire family will eat up before laying down for a nap. Suitable for Turkey Day, Christmas, and chilly winter evenings, this super-simple spatchcock turkey recipe is a complete winner on every front.

Smoked spatchcock turkey on baking sheet ready to be carved

Although you might think that this is a regular ol’ turkey recipe, you’d be wrong. This Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey is flattened to perfection for a speedy cook, and it’s beautifully basted with olive oil for a crispy skin finish. When you throw in the almighty Spiceology Turkey Rub that rivals even the Colonel’s famous spice blend, it’s easy to see why our family loves this spatchcock turkey recipe.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you to give it a whirl, I throw this bad boy on the Traeger around Thanksgiving every single year. So, it’s been tried and tested by everyone from kiddos to old-timers! So, whether you’re looking for a reliable dinner staple or you want to jazz up your holiday feast with a few new flavors, you’re bound to pull out this recipe year after year! You have my word.

✂️ What Is Spatchcock?

Spatchocking refers to a specific process in which you butterfly poultry and remove the spine. When the spine is removed from the bird, you are able to flatten it. You will need some hefty kitchen shears and a sharp knife.

The benefit of spatchcocking a turkey is that it allows the larger bird to cook evenly and fast, much faster than a typical turkey roast. When you spatchcock a turkey, the skin is exposed and isn’t sitting in juices as it cooks. This allows the skin to get nice and crispy!

Once you spatchcock, you will never go back to the normal turkey cooking method! Whether you throw the spatchcock turkey on the grill, smoker, or in the oven, you will get awesome results every time!

👍 Try This Traeger Spatchcock Turkey

  • It’s basically foolproof, as it contains just 5 ingredients!
  • The Traeger adds a glorious smokiness to the meat that you simply won’t get from a regular oven.
  • The flat shape of the spatchcocked turkey cooks evenly and more quickly than full-sized turkeys, resulting in smoked, juicy meat and crispy skin.
  • It stores well in the fridge for those post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches! Eat it countless more times after your turkey day festivities.
  • It pairs beautifully with classic sides like potatoes, green bean casserole, and gravy for the ultimate holiday dinner.

🍽 Ingredients for Spatchcock Turkey

  • A whole turkey. A turkey around 15-20 pounds will work best for this recipe as the white and dark meat will cook evenly in the Traeger.
  • Olive oil. To baste and create that iconic crispy and crackling skin.
  • Kosher salt. Creates juicy and moist meat that’s bursting with flavor.
  • Black pepper. Adds a delicate spice.
  • Spiceology Turkey Rub. This rub is designed to boost the natural flavor of your turkey and includes a stellar blend of herbs and spices, onion, and garlic. I also like to use this Spiceology Honey Mustard IPA Rub – it has a wonderful flavor with hints of IPA beer.

Ingredients for Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey: olive oil, salt, pepper, whole turkey, and Spiceology honey mustard IPA rub

👨‍🍳 How To Make This Turkey

  1. Preheat your Traeger or other smoker.
  2. Prepare the turkey and pat it dry with some towels.
  3. Place the turkey on a cutting board and cut down the backbone on both sides.
  4. Flip the turkey and press down on the breastbone to flatten it.
  5. Brush the turkey with oil and season.
  6. Coat the surface of the turkey with a spice rub.
  7. Place the turkey on the smoker and make sure it’s lying flat.
  8. Arrange the wing tips by tucking them back behind the bird to prevent them from burning.
  9. Smoke the turkey until it is almost fully cooked before increasing the temperature to finish crisping the skin.
  10. Remove the turkey from the Traeger smoker and rest it before carving.

😉 Tips for a Successful Turkey

  • Place the bird directly on the grill grates. If you place the turkey in a pan before sliding it into the smoker, you won’t get as good of results. You won’t get as much smoke infusing into the meat, and the juices will pool up in the pan and prevent the skin from getting as crispy.
  • It’s a great idea to cover the tips of each drumstick and wing with some foil to prevent them from browning too much.
  • Always cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F to keep things safe. I usually remove this turkey from the oven once it reaches 160°F as it cooks to 165°F once it’s had time to rest. To monitor the temperatures, keep a meat thermometer handy.
  • If you’re dealing with a larger bird, you’ll need to cook it for longer. To avoid over or undercooking, use a meat thermometer and adjust the cooking times accordingly.
  • Don’t skip the underside of the turkey when seasoning! It’s so easy to do, but you’ll want to make sure you season, rub, and brush both sides of the bird for an even cook and flavor.
  • Save the backbone and giblets to make a delicious turkey stock later! You never know when you might need it.
  • Think carefully about the wood pellets you use on the Traeger. Hickory and mesquite offer a strong and bold flavor, while woods like pecan or maple are delicate and light. There’s no wrong wood – it just depends on your preferred taste!
  • Be generous with the rub. You’re working with a relatively large bird here, so you don’t want to skimp on the seasoning. Rub the seasoning over the entire turkey, and be sure not to miss any sides or crevices. Use one of your favorite rubs!
  • ALWAYS rest your bird before slicing. This allows the juices to distribute throughout the turkey for a perfectly moist texture so you don’t have a dry bird. Give it plenty of time to rest. If you slice too early, the juices will escape and flow out.
  • Baste the spatchcock smoked turkey as it finishes cooking. This really helps to propel the dish to perfection. Crispy skin on a turkey is my absolute favorite! No more soggy, unappetizing skin on the bottom of the bird. You can baste or spritz with almost anything, but I prefer a sweet mixture of apple juice and melted butter.

🔪 How to Carve Your Spatchcock Turkey

The process is very similar to carving a whole roasted turkey that isn’t spatchcocked. If the turkey is cooked fully, it is fairly simple to break down this bird!

  1. Cut down the sides of the thighs to remove the leg quarters. It will pull off from the join easily, but you can use your shears to assist.
  2. Slice the dark meat from the thigh and the drumstick. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers to pull the meat from the bones.
  3. Remove the wings from the bird. You may need to give the wings a good tug to remove them. Again, use your kitchen shears if necessary.
  4. It is easiest to use your fingers to pull the meat off of the wings.
  5. Slice along both sides of the breast bone to remove the breast meat. Slice breasts into thin slices for serving.
  6. Arrange the bird onto a larger platter and garnish it as desired.
Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey carved on a cutting board with parsley and orange slices as garnish

🤔 Substitutions and Variations

  • Brine the turkey. This helps to add more flavor and brings extra moisture to the spatchcocked turkey. Follow the brining instructions in the recipe for our Wet Brined Traeger Smoked Turkey. You can brine the turkey either before or after you spatchcock the turkey.
  • Mix up the dry rub. You can use one of our recommended seasonings or make something yourself. Our sweet pork rub actually works really well on poultry as well, so give it a try! After seasoning the turkey, place it in the fridge overnight. This is called a dry brine and can also add more flavor to the meat.
  • Use an oven instead. If you don’t have a smoker, no problem! You can also cook this in the oven. Follow the same time and temperature directions in the instructions below.
  • Play with the pellets. Your smoked turkey can take on so much flavor from the pellets you use. After you smoked your first turkey, try switching up the pellets to see how the flavor changes.

⏲️ Storing and Reheating Turkey

You can store your turkey leftovers in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.

If you want to keep it even longer, store your turkey meat in the freezer in a vacuum-sealed bag. It will keep for 3-6 months in the freezer.

If you are reheating your turkey from frozen, use the sous vide method. Throw the vacuum-sealed turkey into a water bath and let it warm up gradually. The juices from the turkey will help to keep things moist while it heats up.

Otherwise, you can warm up your cold turkey in the microwave. Start off on full power and heat it in 30-second increments.

My favorite way to reheat my leftover turkey is actually by using it in soup. You can add the turkey directly to the soup!


What is the benefit of Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey?

The increased surface area and flat shape of the turkey once it is spatchcocked reduces the smoking time and allows your bird to cook more evenly in the Traeger. This generally leads to a juicy and tender smoked turkey. You will also get dinner on the table quicker and your guests will be very happy and full!
It is easy to overcook a regular turkey roast that isn’t spatchcocked. When the bird is flattened, the breast meat cooks evenly with the thighs and drums so you get perfectly moist and tender meat throughout!

Should you baste a turkey in the Traeger?

It’s technically optional, but it tends to add moistness and flavor to the bird. It also helps to develop a wonderfully crispy skin on the bird. If you don’t feel like basting, you can simply spritz with turkey as it smokes. Just fill a spray bottle with your basting mixture and spray it on the skin of the bird towards the end of the cook.

How do you keep a turkey moist when smoking?

The best way to do this is to smoke the turkey directly on your Traeger’s grill grates. You can intermittently baste with olive oil or spritz the bird with melted butter and apple juice. To make things even more delicious, fill a roasting pan with a small amount of water and place it on the smoker to keep the environment in the smoker moist throughout the cooking process.

Should I wrap my spatchcock turkey in foil while smoking on the Traeger?

You certainly can, but this recipe doesn’t require you to. If you want to prevent the smaller bits of dark meat from browning too much, you can wrap those in foil! Wrapping the entire turkey in foil will prevent the smoke from encompassing the bird while it cooks.

Does Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey taste different?

Absolutely. It tastes way better as the smoke from the Traeger surrounds the bird as it cooks. This gives the meat a wonderful smoky flavor (that isn’t overwhelming!), and it’s ideal for the cooler months. Also, spatchcocking the turkey makes it cook much faster and helps it retain more juices, giving you an amazing Thanksgiving turkey to put on the table.

How long does it take to smoke a spatchcocked turkey?

It takes around 10 minutes per pound, which is 5 minutes less per pound than cooking a whole turkey!

What should I serve with smoked turkey?

The possibilities are endless! But I suggest potatoes au gratin, baby potatoes, stuffing or dressing, green beans, and anything else that takes your fancy.

 🛠 Useful Tools for Turkey Recipes

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Here are more of our reader’s favorite turkey recipes. Whether you have a smoker, grill, air fryer, or oven, there is something perfect for your party!

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Don’t miss out on these recipes for Thanksgiving classics. Every turkey bird dinner needs delicious sides and a perfect dessert!

🎁 Wrap Up

It’s always worth taking the stress out of Thanksgiving meal prep, and I feel that this Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey does the job beautifully. Packed with rich flavors and virtually melting in your mouth, this reliable recipe promises to become your go-to recipe for the holidays! And hey, who doesn’t love leftover turkey sandwiches?

Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey with perfectly browned skin carved on a cutting board with parsley and orange slices as garnish

💬 Tell Me What You Think!

Did you try out this recipe? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Also, snap a picture and post it to your favorite social platform. Be sure to tag me at @alicensetogrill and let me know how you liked it!


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Did you make this recipe? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Smoked spatchcock turkey on baking sheet ready to be carved

Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

Yield: 15-20 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

This Traeger smoked spatchcock turkey will be your new go-to recipe for Thanksgiving and any other holiday where you need a fabulous centerpiece at the dinner table.

A spatchcocked turkey cooks extremely fast compared to a whole turkey cooked in the traditional manner. It only takes about 10-15 minutes per pound to cook a turkey that has been spatchcocked which means you can get dinner on the table very quickly!

This is also the ideal way to cook a turkey if you want to ensure a juicy and tender result. Since the turkey cooks evenly, you won't end up with dry white meat. Be a hero during your next turkey day celebration!



  1. Preheat the Traeger to 225°F.
  2. Remove the giblet and gravy package from inside the cavity of the turkey. Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers. Pat the turkey dry with some towels.
  3. Place the turkey breast side down on a cutting board. With some heavy-duty poultry shears or a shape knife, cut down both sides of the backbone.
  4. Once the backbone is removed, flip the turkey breast side up. With both hands, press down on the turkey breast until you hear the breastbone crack. You will also feel the turkey flatten once the breastbone breaks.
  5. Brush the entire surface of the turkey with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Use the Spiceology Turkey Rub or your favorite BBQ rub to coat the entire surface of the turkey. Optional: place the seasoned turkey in the fridge overnight and allow the dry brine to work its magic.
  6. Place the turkey in the middle of the lower grill grates of your Traeger, breast side up. Be sure that the drumsticks and wings are spread out and the turkey is laying flat on the grill grates.
  7. Tuck and fold the wing tips under the body of the turkey toward its back to help prevent them from burning.
  8. Smoke the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 110°F. Increase the temperature of the Traeger to 400°F and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 160°F-165°F (see notes).
  9. Remove the turkey from the Traeger and place it on a butcher board. Drape a sheet of aluminum foil over the turkey and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.


  • Smoking the turkey initially at 250°F allows for a better smokiness, infusing the meat with more flavor. Then, cranking it up to 400°F allows you to brown the skin and get that crispy result you want.
  • You can use a strip of aluminum foil to cover the tips of each drumstick and wing to prevent them from browning too much.
  • The FDA recommends cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F. I remove the turkey when it reaches 160°F. The carry-over heat usually brings the temperature up to or over 165°F. I recommend you follow FDA guidelines.
  • If you have a large turkey, it will take longer to cook. Use a thermometer to monitor the cook of your turkey and adjust the cooking time according to the internal temperature.
  • Resting the turkey in the fridge overnight after seasoning helps to maximize the flavor and juiciness of the bird. The dry brine method is effective and easier than a wet brine. Rest it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before smoking it.


  • Brine the turkey. This helps to add more flavor and brings extra moisture to the meat. Follow the brining instructions in the recipe for our Wet Brined Traeger Smoked Turkey. You can brine the turkey either before or after you spatchcock the turkey.
  • Mix up the dry rub. You can use one of our recommended seasonings or make something yourself. Our sweet pork rub actually works really well on poultry as well, so give it a try!
  • Use an oven instead. If you don't have a smoker, no problem! You can also cook this in the oven. Follow the same time and temperature directions in the instructions below.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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