One Word: Spatchcocked


 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
If you've not yet locked down your turkey cooking method for Thursday and you're still open to ideas, I'm got just one word for you: Spatchcocked. And if you're afraid of cutting out the backbone of a turkey, see if your local Costco has the already butterflied and marinated turkey I saw at my local store today.


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JKalchik

TVWBB Guru
Right there with you, boss!

The only time I'll cook a turkey whole is if I'm deep frying it. Baked, roasted, grilled, smoked..... always gets spatchcocked or broken down into quarters. Cooked bones down with the dark meat arranged towards the outside if you've quartered it, it'll cook in half or two thirds of the time, and much more evenly. The only thing you'll give up is the Norman Rockwell presentation, and I for one think that the better cook more than makes up for that.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Diamond Member
We’re going super weird this TG.

I’m deboning the breast’s of a 20# (Costco Foster Farms) and will freeze each one for future smoking Texas style.

I’ll break down the wings, thighs and legs and cook off one wing, one leg and one thigh for TG. It’s just two of use and we don’t want a massive amount of leftovers.

And I’ll make one of those breasts for Sunday dinner for sandwiches; Turkey, cranberry and stuffing. Mmmm.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Emerald Member
If memory serves, this will be my first spatched turkey. I have an unusually large one that someone in the household bought earlier in the year and it weighs 24 pounds. Whatever happens, I'm happy to have freed some freezer space!

My OXO poultry shears that I bought several months ago work beautifully on chickens; I hope to be able to use them on this turkey with success.
 

Karl Quist

TVWBB Pro
If memory serves, this will be my first spatched turkey. I have an unusually large one that someone in the household bought earlier in the year and it weighs 24 pounds. Whatever happens, I'm happy to have freed some freezer space!

My OXO poultry shears that I bought several months ago work beautifully on chickens; I hope to be able to use them on this turkey with success.

I went through 3 other pairs of poultry shears before I finally bought the OXO ones. They are fantastic. I wish I had bought them to begin with. Spatchcocking that big turkey will certainly help with cooking it evenly. You might even want to consider cutting it up into quarters. Have a happy thanksgiving!
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB Gold Member
I'm with you Chris. My wife says the spatchcock birds taste a lot like a Rotisserie bird. My family loves spatchcock birds off the Smokefire.
 

Todd NC

TVWBB Pro
Bird 1 of 2. Both spatchcocked. This one was in a wet brine overnight, bird 2 is dry brining. Both are air drying in the fridge until tomorrow. I’ll be smoking them tomorrow to take some of the stress away from Thanksgiving morning.

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Rick P

TVWBB Pro
Great post and very easy to do. That's the only way I BBQ whole birds, unless them a spin on the rotisserie.
 

BLStern

New member
The word of the day is indeed, spatchcocked. i did a smoked BBQ turkey last year that way and it was best we ever had.

Here is the question:

2, 12 pound turkeys spatched, for t-giving.

I do 320 target for about 2.5 - 3 hours till it gets to 160 . Little rub, little bbq sauce baste at the end. amazing.

I have to do 2 successively b/c I can t fit both in the smoker at the same time.

I could do 2 tier, but have never done that method before, and don't want to start experimenting for 40 people.
So I do them one after the other.

What would folks recommend as as a setup to allow for cooking at that temp for up to about 6 hours?

1. Full basket, + a chimney, i.e., minion method? Is that enough charcoal?

2. If not, would you just add more coals, say a fresh lit, glowing chimney, along with another chimney of unlit coals after the first bird is done, and let it come back up to temp before putting the second on?

thanks much,

Barry
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
I replied to your email right after processing your registration. I'll copy below to help others.

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In my experience, to get 325-350*F I don't use the Minion Method, I light two full chimneys of charcoal, dump them into the charcoal chamber when hot, I drop my smoke wood chunks on top of the lit charcoal, assemble the cooker with the empty water pan in place, and add my 12-14 lb turkey on the top grate.

If I were to do two turkeys, after the first was done I would light another full chimney of charcoal, and when hot I'd lift off the middle section, use tongs to knock the ashes off the remaining charcoal, add the hot coals from the chimney, add more smoke wood, assemble the cooker and add turkey as with the first one.

Here's my spatchcocked turkey: https://www.virtualweberbullet.com/butterflied-turkey-salted/

If you don't have two chimneys to light simultaneously, you can light one, dump the hot coals, then add another chimney of unlit on top of the hot charcoal. Wait for all of it to ash over and you're ready to cook.

Sounds like you'll have a great day with those two smoked birds. If you take any photos, I'd love to see how they turn out.
 

Michael Park

New member
What is the purpose of using an empty water bowl instead of removing the water bowl? I cooked “Hot & Fast Chicken” using 1 and 1/2 chimneys lit via the “Standard Method” and the hottest temperature I saw was 340.

How long does it take for a second chimney to light when dumped on top of the first lit chimney? Less than 20 minutes? What are the drawbacks to dumping the second unlit chimney on top of the lit first chimney, assembling the WSM, and starting to cook without waiting for the second chimney of charcoal to ash over?
 

Karl Quist

TVWBB Pro
Hi Michael, welcome! I think 20-25 minutes is about right for the unlit coals to get lit and ready to go. Maybe a little more depending on your conditions. If you start cooking before the 2nd chimney of coals is lit, it just takes a little longer for your smoker to get up to that higher cooking temp, and sometimes it won't get up there all the way.

While I am waiting for the chimney of unlit coals to get lit and ready, I just take the time to give my turkey a final check, and maybe fix myself a drink (or open a can).
 

JimK

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
What is the purpose of using an empty water bowl instead of removing the water bowl? I cooked “Hot & Fast Chicken” using 1 and 1/2 chimneys lit via the “Standard Method” and the hottest temperature I saw was 340.

How long does it take for a second chimney to light when dumped on top of the first lit chimney? Less than 20 minutes? What are the drawbacks to dumping the second unlit chimney on top of the lit first chimney, assembling the WSM, and starting to cook without waiting for the second chimney of charcoal to ash over?

The water bowl acts as a heat shield, protecting the bird from direct flame and flare ups, and deflecting the overall heat around the sides and over the top.
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Super Fan
I'm trying a locally raised bird from Santa Rosa, CA, a Willie bird. It's my first time using a fancy bird. This 20lb bird cost me $58.
I've also never spatchcocked a turkey before either. I wish I had those shears but a combination of scissors and a knife seemed to do okay. I injected with a butter chicken broth injection and it's sitting in the refrigerator overnight. Tomorrow it goes into the smokefire.
I will take Chris' lead and jacard the skin, butter it and maybe some black pepper or rub. My injection isn't too salty. I roasted the backbone, tail and neck so there's fat for the gravy tomorrow.
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JimK

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
My dilemma: WSM or indirect in the Kettle? These days (not so spry), I find the kettle easier to setup/use.

I think you answered your question. ;) I find temp management a bit easier in the WSM and feel I have to watch it a little less. But that's just me.
 

MichaelLC

TVWBB Super Fan
Chris - or others - I see that you did not take out the keel bone in the spatchcocked turkey, unlike your chickens. Just not worth the hassle, or other reason? Thanks.



SPOILER: I removed it so hope I'm not Heck Outta Luck....
 

 

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