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How Long Does It Take To Smoke A 20 Lb Spatchcock Turkey?

Turkey lovers and holiday chefs, listen up! Are you tired of the endless hours spent roasting a traditional whole turkey for your Thanksgiving feast? Worry not, for there is a solution to your cooking woes: spatchcocking. And not just any spatchcocking, but a whopping 20 lb spatchcock turkey.

Yes, you read that correctly. A 20 lb turkey cooked using the spatchcock method. For those unfamiliar with this technique, it involves removing the backbone of the bird and flattening it out before cooking. This not only reduces cooking time but also results in a succulent and evenly cooked turkey.

But how long does it take to smoke a 20 lb spatchcock turkey? Brace yourself for this answer: only 1.5-2 hours! That’s right, no more early morning wake-up calls to get that bird in the oven. With spatchcocking, you can sleep in and still have ample time to prepare all your delicious side dishes.

So, why not give this game-changing method a try this holiday season? Your taste buds (and sanity) will thank you for this mouthwatering and time-saving technique.

Smoking Time Chart for 20 lb Spatchcock Turkey

The suggested smoking time for a 20 lb spatchcock turkey is approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes at a temperature of 225°F. To ensure the turkey is cooked to perfection, it is recommended to regularly check the internal temperature using a digital meat thermometer and ensure it reaches 165°F before removing it from the smoker.

To achieve the best results when smoking a spatchcock turkey, it is essential to properly prepare and season the turkey beforehand. This includes spatchcocking the turkey a day before smoking, brining for 8 hours (but no longer than 24 hours), and monitoring the internal temperature with a separate thermometer.

When smoking a spatchcock turkey, it is crucial to use soaked wood chips to produce more smoke and preheat the grill to 225°F. For charcoal grills, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, while gas grills may require indirect heat zones and a water pan.

It is worth noting that smoking time can vary due to external factors, so it is advisable to rely on temperature rather than time as a guideline. Additionally, allowing the turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes after cooking will help redistribute the juices and result in tender and flavorful meat.

Cajun Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

Achieving a perfectly smoked, 20 lb Cajun spatchcock turkey is no easy feat. However, with these essential tips, you can impress your guests with a delicious and tender turkey at your next BBQ or holiday gathering.

  • Spatchcock the turkey: Begin by removing the spine and flattening the turkey. This exposes the skin for crispiness and allows for faster and more even cooking.
  • Brine the turkey: A crucial step for a juicy and flavorful Cajun smoked turkey is brining. However, be mindful not to exceed 24 hours as it can impact the texture of the meat.
  • Season the turkey: After brining, pat dry and season the turkey with your desired Cajun spices. You can use a pre-made blend or create your own using ingredients like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Prepare the smoker grill: Soak wood chips for at least 20 minutes before using them in the smoker. Preheat your grill to 225°F and place an aluminum pan filled with water on top of the heat deflector (for gas grills). This maintains moisture and prevents the turkey from drying out.
  • Smoke the turkey: Place the soaked wood chips next to the water pan and put the turkey on indirect heat. The cooking time varies based on factors like temperature, humidity, and wind. Aim for approximately 11-13 minutes per pound of turkey. Use a separate thermometer to monitor the internal temperature for accuracy.
  • Check internal temperature: To ensure safety and perfectly cooked meat, make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F before removing the turkey from the grill.
  • Let rest before serving: Once cooked, let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows juices to redistribute and makes for a more tender and flavorful meat.

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

When it comes to smoking a large 20 lb spatchcock turkey at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, the recommended cooking time is approximately 4-5 hours. However, this time may vary depending on factors such as the type of smoker used, the outside temperature, and the size of the bird.

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To ensure that your turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat, it is important to utilize a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bird. The thickest part of the breast should reach a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh should reach 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are utilizing a smoker with a water pan, it is recommended to refill the pan with hot water every 2 hours to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent drying out the meat. Additionally, rotating the turkey every hour will assist in ensuring even cooking and smoke penetration.

Below is a table presenting estimated cooking times for various sizes of spatchcock turkeys when smoked at 225 degrees:

Weight: Estimated Cooking Time:
10-14 lbs 3-4 hours
15-19 lbs 4-5 hours
20-24 lbs 5-6 hours

Remember that these are just estimates and it is always best to utilize a meat thermometer to determine doneness.

It is also important to let the turkey rest for at least 15-20 minutes after smoking before carving, as this allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the meat moist.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey for Smoking

The process of spatchcocking a turkey involves the removal of its backbone and flattening of the bird before cooking. This technique is commonly used for smoking or grilling poultry, including turkey. To spatchcock a turkey, follow these steps:

  • Begin by placing the turkey on a cutting board with its breast side facing down.
  • Utilize sharp kitchen shears to cut along each side of the backbone, completely removing it.
  • Flip the turkey over and firmly press down on its breastbone to flatten it.

Optional step

Remove the keel bone, located at the bottom of the breastbone, for a more even cooking surface.

Spatchcocking is highly beneficial for smoking as it allows for more even heat distribution during the cooking process. This is due to the flattened bird having a uniform thickness, resulting in consistent cooking throughout. Additionally, spatchcocking also reduces cooking time as it exposes more surface area of the meat to direct heat. This results in a juicier and evenly cooked turkey.

Moreover, spatchcocking enables better smoke penetration into the meat as the smoke can reach all parts of the turkey more easily. This leads to a more flavorful end product.

Lastly, spatchcocking can also make carving easier as the bones have been removed and the bird is already flattened out, making it simpler to slice and serve.

Brine Guide for Spatchcock Turkey

While brining is not a must for spatchcocked turkey, some people still opt to do so for enhanced taste and moisture. If you decide to brine your turkey, it is crucial to consider its size and the duration needed for brining.

For a 20-pound spatchcock turkey, it is recommended to soak it in a brine for 12-24 hours. This might seem like a long time, but it is necessary to ensure the turkey is fully seasoned and infused with flavor.

Refer to the table below for brining times based on the size of your turkey:

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A 20 Lb Spatchcock Turkey-2

Turkey Size Brining Time
10-14 pounds 8-12 hours
15-20 pounds 12-24 hours
21-25 pounds 24-36 hours
26+ pounds 36-48 hours

It is important to note that if you choose to brine your spatchcock turkey, it is best to use a smaller bird (10-14 pounds) to avoid excessively salty meat due to the longer brining time.

Furthermore, ensure you have a large enough pan or container to hold the turkey while it brines. You may need to get creative and use multiple containers or a large cooler if your pan is not big enough.

How to Thaw a Turkey for Smoking

In order to guarantee the proper and safe thawing of a spatchcock turkey before smoking, it is recommended to utilize the fridge method. This involves placing the turkey in a container or tray on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and allowing it to thaw for 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.

Fridge Thawing Method Time Needed
24 Hours per 5 pounds Up to 4 Days
20 lb Spatchcock Turkey 4 Days

It is crucial to note that the refrigerator should consistently maintain a temperature of 40°F or below to prevent harmful bacteria from developing on the turkey. This method also ensures an even and gradual thawing process, preserving the turkey’s quality and texture.

Avoid using alternative methods such as thawing at room temperature or using hot water, as they can result in uneven thawing and increase the risk of bacterial growth.

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Once the turkey is fully thawed, it is recommended to cook it immediately. However, if necessary, it can be stored in the fridge for an additional 1-2 days before cooking.

Regularly checking the internal temperature of the turkey during smoking using a meat thermometer is essential. The breast meat should reach 150°F and the thigh meat should reach 165°F for safe consumption.

How to Store and Reheat Smoked Spatchcock Turkey

To ensure the succulence and taste of smoked spatchcock turkey, it is vital to follow proper methods for storing and reheating. Here are the top techniques for storing and reheating smoked spatchcock turkey:

Storing Smoked Spatchcock Turkey:

  • Store any remaining smoked spatchcock turkey in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in foil.
  • Place it in the refrigerator and consume within 4 days.
  • Alternatively, you can freeze the turkey for up to 3 months.

Reheating Whole Smoked Spatchcock Turkey:

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A 20 Lb Spatchcock Turkey-3

Method Temperature Time
Oven 250°F – 325°F 3-4 hours (plus 30 minutes resting time)
Microwave N/A (Risk of dryness) 2-3 minutes per portion (with added broth)
  • Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for an hour before reheating.
  • Wrap it in foil and add chicken broth or gravy for moisture.
  • Use a probe thermometer to regularly check the internal temperature (aim for 140°F without exceeding 150°F).

Reheating Leftover Smoked Spatchcock Turkey:

Method Temperature/Setting Time
Oven 300°F – 350°F 30-45 minutes (with basting liquid or butter)
Stovetop Simmering on low heat 5-10 minutes (with broth or stock)
Microwave High 2-3 minutes per portion (with added broth)
  • Wrap the turkey in foil and add chicken broth or gravy for moisture.
  • Heat in the oven, in a skillet with broth or stock on the stovetop, or in the microwave (with added broth).
  • Be sure to only reheat what will be consumed and avoid refreezing any previously frozen portions.

Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Leftover Ideas

First on the list, why not try making a turkey and cranberry quesadilla? This fusion dish combines the rich and smoky flavors of the turkey with the tangy sweetness of cranberry sauce, all wrapped in a crispy tortilla. It’s a perfect balance of textures and tastes that will surely leave you satisfied.

Another option is to turn your leftover turkey into a hearty and comforting pot pie. Simply mix in some vegetables, such as carrots, peas, and potatoes, with your shredded turkey and top it off with a flaky crust. Pop it in the oven for a warm and filling meal that will warm both your stomach and soul.

For those who love a good sandwich, why not try a smoked turkey melt? Layer slices of smoked turkey on your favorite bread with some melted cheese, avocado, and bacon for a delicious and satisfying lunch option. The smokiness of the turkey adds an extra dimension of flavor that elevates this classic sandwich.

If you’re looking to add some spice to your meal, consider making a smoked turkey chili. The smoky undertones of the turkey pair perfectly with the heat from chili peppers, creating a bold and flavorful dish that is perfect for chilly days.

Last but certainly not least, why not use your leftover smoked spatchcock turkey to make a savory and flavorful soup? Simply add your shredded turkey to a pot with some broth, vegetables, and spices of your choice for a heartwarming soup that will keep you cozy during the cold winter months.


In conclusion, spatchcocking a 20 lb turkey is a revolutionary technique that not only saves time but also produces a succulent and evenly cooked bird. Gone are the days of spending hours tending to a traditional whole turkey in the oven. With a smoking time of only 1.5-2 hours, this method is perfect for busy holiday chefs looking to streamline their Thanksgiving feast preparations.

But don’t be fooled by its quick cooking time – spatchcocking requires proper preparation and seasoning beforehand. And let’s not forget about the importance of preheating the grill to 225°F and using soaked wood chips for that perfect smoky flavor. In just 4-5 hours, you can have a beautifully smoked Cajun spatchcock turkey ready to impress your guests.

And for maximum flavor and tenderness, remember to use a meat thermometer and allow the turkey to rest before carving. The result? A mouthwatering and perfectly cooked bird that will leave your guests raving about your culinary skills.