Smoked spatchcock chicken is one of my absolute favorite smoker recipes.
This smoked spatchcock chicken is tender, juicy, and moist with an extra crispy skin.
Perfect for your next backyard get together. And so damn good!
Helpful Recipe Information
- Dry brine time: 1 hour
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Smoking time: 1.5 hours
- Internal temperature: 250F
How To Make Smoked Spatchcock Chicken
For this smoked spatchcock chicken recipe, I took a standard-sized whole chicken and spatchcocked it using kitchen shears. I then dry brined it for an hour using sea salt.
Next, I used avocado oil as a binder and seasoned the chicken liberally with my smoked chicken rub. After allowing the chicken to absorb the seasonings, it was time to smoke.
I preheated my Traeger to 250F and smoked the spatchcocked chicken until it reached an internal temperature of 165F, checking the temperature in the thickest part of the breast. This process took 1.5 hours, and resulted in a juicy and perfectly cooked bird.
Then I removed the chicken from the smoker, and it was time to get a nice, crispy skin. I used a sear gun and seared the chicken all around the outside for about 30-45 seconds. This quick and easy step added a fantastic layer of texture and extra flavor to the smoked spatchcock chicken.
- Whole chicken (3.5-4 pounds). I used a fresh whole chicken from Bell & Evans.
- Kosher salt. (1 tbsp). To dry brine the chicken.
- Avocado oil (1 tbsp). To act as a binder for the rub.
- BBQ rub (1 tbsp). Use your favorite seasoning. For this smoked spatchcock chicken, I used my homemade smoked chicken rub.
1. Spatchcock the chicken using a sharp pair of kitchen shears. This involves cutting along each side of the backbone to remove it, then pressing down on the breastbone to flatten the bird.
2. Dry brine the chicken with salt. Allow it to sit for about an hour.
3. Rub the chicken with avocado oil, making sure all parts are covered. This will not only add flavor but also help the BBQ rub to adhere better.
4. Season the chicken liberally with your favorite BBQ rub. Meanwhile, preheat your smoker to 250F.
5. Place your chicken in the smoker, breast side up. Let it smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F, checking the temperature in the thickest part of the breast. This should take about 1.5-2 hours.
6. When the chicken is done, remove it from the smoker. Use a sear gun (or a culinary torch) to crisp the skin of the chicken. This will add texture and an extra layer of flavor. Be careful not to burn the skin.
7. Let the chicken rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving and serving to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve, and ENJOY!
What Is A Spatchcock Chicken?
A spatchcock chicken is a whole chicken that has been cut and flattened for cooking.
This method allows for quicker, more even cooking and is often used for grilling or smoking.
It's a simple technique that can really improve the quality of your chicken, yielding crispier skin and juicier meat.
Tips For Spatchcocking A Chicken
If you've never spatchcocked a chicken, here are some tips for making the process easier.
- Use the Right Tools: A pair of sturdy kitchen shears makes the process of cutting out the backbone much easier than using a knife. They provide better control and safety
- Cut Along the Backbone: Position the chicken breast-side down and cut along both sides of the backbone. This is where those kitchen shears really come in handy.
- Remove the Backbone: Once you've made the cuts along both sides, you can easily remove the backbone. Don't throw it away, though - it's great for making chicken stock!
- Flatten the Chicken: After removing the backbone, flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breastbone until the chicken is flat. This ensures even cooking when you smoke it.
- Dry the Chicken: For the best results, dry the chicken thoroughly before you begin seasoning or smoking it. This helps the skin to crisp up nicely.
Getting Crispy Skin On Spatchcock Chicken
Want to take your smoked spatchcock chicken to the next level? Let's talk about getting that skin perfectly crispy.
First, you can dry brine your chicken with a bit of Kosher salt and let it chill on a wire rack in the fridge for 24 hours. This helps pull out any extra moisture from the skin, setting you up for some serious crispiness when it's time to smoke your chicken.
You can also use a sear gun to get crispy skin. A sear gun uses a high-heat flame to sear the surface of the chicken, rendering the fat under the skin and crisping it up in no time, without overcooking the meat underneath.
Just aim the flame at the chicken skin, moving it around to spread the heat evenly. But remember, don't let the flame linger in one spot for too long - we're going for a nice crisp, not a charred burn.
If you're looking for another quick fix, try adding a tablespoon of baking powder to your seasoning. It reacts with the skin during smoking, helping it to brown and crisp up beautifully. You can also crank up the heat towards the end of the smoking process for an extra crispy finish.
Spatchcock Chicken Smoking Temperature
I recommend smoking your spatchcock chicken at 250F.
250F is ideal because it allows the chicken to cook slowly and evenly. This slow cooking process ensures that the meat remains juicy and tender, while also allowing the smoky flavors to fully penetrate the chicken.
And at 250°F, the wood chips in your smoker will produce the perfect amount of smoke. This smoke infuses the chicken with a deep, rich flavor that is the hallmark of a well-smoked chicken.
Why This Recipe Works
Here's why you're going to love this smoked spatchcock chicken recipe.
- Even cooking. Because the chicken is flattened, it cooks more evenly in the smoker, reducing the risk of dry, overcooked parts.
- Enhanced flavor. The smoky flavor permeates the meat more effectively when the bird is spatchcocked.
- Crispy skin. Using a sear gun at the end gives you a beautifully crispy skin that's a delight to eat.
- Simplicity. Despite its fancy name, spatchcocking is a simple technique, and this recipe is straightforward to follow.
Smoked Spatchcock Chicken Tips For Success
- Spatchcocking might seem difficult, but with a sharp pair of kitchen shears and a little patience, it's quite manageable. You can also ask your butcher to do this for you.
- Dry brining helps to tenderize the bird and enhance its natural flavors. Don't skip this step if you want juicy, flavorful chicken.
- Monitoring the temperature of your smoker and the chicken is key to getting a perfectly cooked bird. Remember, the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165F.
- Don't rush to carve the chicken as soon as it's out of the smoker. Resting is an essential step that allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moist and flavorful bird.
More Chicken Recipes To Try
Smoked Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 whole chicken 3.5-4 pounds
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp chicken seasoning
- Spatchcock the chicken using a sharp pair of kitchen shears. This involves cutting along each side of the backbone to remove it, then pressing down on the breastbone to flatten the bird.
- Dry brine the chicken with salt. Allow it to sit for about an hour.
- Rub the chicken with avocado oil, making sure all parts are covered. This will not only add flavor but also help the BBQ rub to adhere better.
- Season the chicken liberally with your favorite BBQ rub. Meanwhile, preheat your smoker to 250F.
- Place your chicken in the smoker, breast side up. Let it smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F, checking the temperature in the thickest part of the breast. This should take about 1.5-2 hours.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the smoker. Use a sear gun (or a culinary torch) to crisp the skin of the chicken. This will add texture and an extra layer of flavor. Be careful not to burn the skin.
- Let the chicken rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving and serving to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve, and ENJOY!