How Long to Smoke a 20 lb Spatchcock Turkey

spatchcock turkey
How long to smoke a 20 lb spatchcock turkey depends on the temperature. At 225°F, it will take 11 to 13 minutes per pound, or around 4 hours and 15 minutes. Once the internal temperature in the thickest part of the turkey breast reads 165 degrees F, remove from heat, cover with aluminum foil and let the meat rest for 30 minutes.

If you’re searching for a simple way to cook turkey quickly, making a spatchcocked turkey is the way to go. The secret to tender and flavorful meat is knowing how long to smoke a 20 lb spatchcock turkey and how to prepare it for smoking.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the simple steps of a Cajun smoked spatchcock turkey recipe. Everyone at the dinner table will fall in love with the flavors in this butterflied turkey!

Smoking Time Chart for 20 lb Spatchcock Turkey

Smoking TemperatureApproximate Smoking Time
225°F4 to 4 and 1/2 hours
250°F3 and 1/2 to 4 hours
275°F3 hours to 3 and 1/2 hours
300°F2 and 1/2 to 3 hours

The most important thing is to check the internal temperature regularly while smoking to ensure it reaches 165°F. The best way to tell when your spatchcocked turkey is done is with a digital meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey breast without touching any bones.

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smoked spatchcock turkey

Cajun Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

  • Author: Patrick
  • Total Time: 26 hours, 30 minutes


Tender, juicy, and wonderfully smoky, this Cajun-smoked spatchcock turkey recipe makes the best turkey! You can make this spatchcocked turkey on your Traeger pellet grill or even on a gas grill by adding a smoking cylinder.


Units Scale
  • 1214-pound spatchcocked turkey
  • 1 cup Cajun seasoning
  • 8 quarts fresh water
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 4 leaves dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cajun for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt


  1. Mix all the brine ingredients and cajun seasoning ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir continuously until the brown sugar and kosher salt are dissolved.
  2. Put your thawed turkey in the mixture, cover loosely, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Remove the bird from the brine and use a paper towel to pat dry the turkey on the cutting board.
  4. The next step is to spatchcock the turkey. Place the turkey on a large cutting board, with the breast side facing down and the spine facing you. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to slice along the spine. Cut along the other side to remove the backbone.
  5. After removing the backbone, turn the bird over and press down firmly on the turkey breasts to flatten the bird for more even cooking.
  6. Preheat the smoker to 225°F – 275°F using apple, cherry, hickory, pecan, or oak wood pellets for your desired smoke flavor.
  7. Put the seasoned turkey on your preheated smoker, turkey breast side up.
  8. Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the smoked turkey breast, close the lid, and start smoking.
  9. Continue to cook until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees F, and the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 175°F.
  10. Remove from the heat and allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes to lock in moisture.
  11. Carve and then serve with your favorite sides!
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes


  • Serving Size: 6 ounces
  • Calories: 192
  • Sugar: 6.9g
  • Sodium: 2040mg
  • Fat: 5.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.2g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Protein: 23.1g
  • Cholesterol: 93mg

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Spatchcock Turkey at 225?

It takes 11 to 13 minutes to smoke one pound of spatchcocked turkey at 225°F to get the meat done. 

However, you should smoke your turkey based on temperature rather than using time as a guideline.

The bird is done once the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F on an instant-read meat thermometer. The internal temperature in the inner thigh must reach 175°F.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey for Smoking

Spatchcocking or butterflying a turkey can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Place the turkey on a large cutting board, with the breast side facing down and the spine facing you. 
  2. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to slice along the spine. Cut along the other side to remove the backbone.  
  3. After removing the backbone, turn the bird over and press down the turkey breast to flatten the bird for more even cooking.

Why Spatchcock a Turkey?

The benefits of spatchcocked turkey include: 

Cooks & Smokes Faster

Since the turkey is flattened or cut in half, the cooking time is significantly reduced. 

Even Cooking

Flattening the bird allows the dark meat (thighs and legs) to be exposed to more heat and the heat reaches the rest of the bird more easily.

Crispy Skin

As the whole turkey is exposed to heat evenly, the skin will be uniformly browned. 

More Space

Placing a whole turkey onto the Traeger smoker or pellet grill can be challenging. However, a butterflied bird lays flat and allows the smoker lid to go down easily. 

Brine Guide for Spatchcock Turkey

You can choose to either wet-brine a turkey (as in our recipe above), or choose to dry-brine turkey. BBQ dry rubs do an excellent job of seasoning the turkey before smoking it on a pellet grill or Traeger smoker.

Unlike wet brine, dry brining does not require water. Instead, a mixture of salt, sugar, and seasonings is applied directly onto the skin and meat of the turkey. The bird is then kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking. The primary benefit of dry brine is that it delivers crispier turkey skin because there is less water, though wet brine results in a juicier bird.

How to Thaw a Turkey for Smoking

The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the fridge. This is the best method because the meat will defrost at a safe and consistent temperature. Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey. 

How to Store and Reheat Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

Store leftover smoked spatchcock turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as 4 days.

You may also freeze your leftover turkey by wrapping it in aluminum foil and placing it in an airtight plastic bag to avoid freezer burn. A quality freezer bag comes in handy here. The frozen turkey will last up to 3 months.

To reheat your smoked spatchcock turkey, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in an oven at 300°F – 350°F for around 30-45 mins or until warmed through. Basting liquid or butter will keep the turkey moist while reheating.

Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Leftover Ideas

Smoked spatchcock turkey leftovers are incredibly versatile. Here are some unique BBQ recipe ideas for reinventing your leftovers!

Turkey Noodle Soup

This easy and flavorful leftover turkey noodle soup is a great way to transform your leftover Thanksgiving turkey into something special. A warm and appetizing bowl of turkey noodle soup is perfect to follow up on a holiday turkey dinner. It uses readily available ingredients and can be made in just 45 minutes!

Homemade Turkey Broth 

Making a homemade turkey broth is another simple way to repurpose your smoked turkey dinner leftovers. Use it as a base for soup or chili, or as the base for homemade gravy.

Leftover Thanksgiving Pizza

Thanksgiving pizza is a unique way to repurpose those leftovers. This flavorful pizza features chopped turkey, mozzarella cheese, gravy, stuffing, and onions, and can be topped with jellied cranberry sauce or whole berry sauce!


At heart, Patrick is a passionate cook, adventurous eater, recipe writer, and bargain hunter. He aims to provide creative ideas on how to how to cook amazing food with everyday ingredients in a hassle-free manner.When not writing or standing over a grill, Patrick enjoys traveling and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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