First Turkey - Spatchcock


Well, I did it, but the results were mixed due to a Rookie Mistake (at least two).

Brined 24 hours and let dry overnight per the Apple Brine recipe:
On the smoker. Rookie mistake number 1 - I think that tying the legs together may have been a mistake. Having them tight to the lower edge of the breast may have hindered cooking in that area:
After 2.5 hours:
Plated and served:
The bird was gorgeous; one apple and one cherry chunk was all I used. Breast was fine; however, the dark meat was under-cooked.

Rookie Mistake #2; I ran temps between 310 and 330...I didn't bother pushing up the temp towards 350. The skin was tasty, but not crispy. SOme of it was a bit leathery.

Rookie Mistake #3; when my breast probe read 161, I went and stuck a probe in the thigh meat and got 172...I figured, "pull it for rest, she's done!". NOPE. After reading a few posts by others, that 165 breast temp should have been considered a minimum, PLUS I should have probed at least 3 places in that thigh and I'l bet I would have found lower temps. DOH!

Final take-away; not sure if the 2-day effort of brining was worth it in the end. Everybody enjoyed the breast meat, but I was disappointed since I'm a dark meat guy. I didn't get any feedback that the flavor factor was significantly enhanced.

If I had gone longer (min 165) at higher temp would I have gotten more tender juicy breast meat? Not sure.

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I saw a cool tip from Jacques Pepin,
He cuts through the skin on the “ankle” and pokes the other leg tip through there. No string to fuss with! I’ve done it a couple of times with excellent results!
The bird really looks good to me, by the way!


If I had gone longer (min 165) at higher temp would I have gotten more tender juicy breast meat? Not sure.
Juicy comes with lower temps
Higher breast temp....the less juicy it will be

Yeah, you need legs hot to render tendons there
But you will end up with dry breasts doing so

At 150+ the meat begins contracting and squeezes the moisture out . If you inject, and have holes...those holes are literally gushing fluid out.

In thickest part of breast....155 -157 is enough
You will have juicy meat. Only the outer layer may reach165. Push deepest part to 165...outer will be 175 and dry when cools. Keeping wrapped in foil while cooling to eating temp will preserve moisture too.

Hotter and faster is juicier, imo as well, at same internal temp. Turkeys gain nothing from slow cooking that i can see.

Cooked a spatchcocked turkey today myself, very moist. Injected with chicken broth, butter, garlic, and pulled at 157 in lowest temp zone of breast...have to poke around to find. I could care less about dark meat, its for my dogs mostly.....on turkeys.

Yours looks great.

I find for me, if skin is edible....meat has no smoke flavor. Its just like oven cooked.
To get smoky meat....the skin is reallly smoky..maybe bitter..too much so to eat usually. Im going for smoky breast meat sandwiches though.
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