The Best Smoked Spatchcock Chicken Recipe for Juicy and Tender Perfection

best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe

Are you ready to elevate your grilling game? Look no further than the best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe for juicy and tender perfection. This method is guaranteed to impress your family and friends with its mouthwatering flavor and crispy skin. By removing the backbone and cooking the chicken flat on the smoker rack, you ensure even cooking and prevent dry meat. Let’s dive into the details of this delicious recipe and discover the secrets to achieving the perfect smoked spatchcock chicken.

Key Takeaways

  • Spatchcocking allows for even cooking and keeps the meat moist.
  • Smoking temperature should start at 225°F and increase to 425°F.
  • Preparation involves rinsing, drying, and seasoning the chicken.
  • Choose the right smoker or grill for your preferences.
  • Wood selection influences the smoke flavor of the chicken.

Why Spatchcock Chicken is the Perfect Method for Smoking

Spatchcocking a chicken is the secret to achieving evenly cooked, juicy, and tender meat when smoking. By removing the backbone, you allow the chicken to lay flat on the smoker rack, ensuring that all parts of the bird cook at the same rate. This eliminates the risk of ending up with dry chicken and guarantees a moist and flavorful result.

Spatchcocking involves cutting out the backbone with kitchen shears and breaking the breastbone to flatten the chicken. This technique not only ensures even cooking but also allows for more smoke penetration, resulting in deliciously smoky flavors throughout the meat.

The Benefits of Spatchcocking:

  • Even cooking: Flattening the chicken helps it cook uniformly, preventing dry areas and creating a consistently juicy texture.
  • Reduced cooking time: With the bird spread out, the increased surface area allows for faster cooking.
  • Crispy skin: The exposed skin caramelizes and crisps up, adding a delightful crunch to every bite.
  • Enhanced smoke flavor: The open layout of the spatchcocked chicken allows the smoke to envelop the meat, infusing it with rich smoky notes.

Incorporating this method into your smoking routine guarantees that every bite of your spatchcock chicken will be moist, flavorful, and perfectly cooked.

Spatchcock Chicken

Comparison of Cooking Methods:

Method Even Cooking Juicy Meat Crispy Skin
Spatchcock Chicken
Whole Chicken
Chicken Pieces

The table above illustrates the advantages of spatchcocking a chicken when it comes to cooking results. Compared to cooking a whole chicken or using individual chicken pieces, spatchcocking ensures even cooking, juicy meat, and crispy skin, making it the optimal choice for smoking.

Tips for Preparing the Spatchcock Chicken for Smoking

To ensure a delicious and flavorful smoked spatchcock chicken, proper preparation is key. Follow these tips to get your chicken ready for the smoker:

1. Rinsing:

Start by rinsing the spatchcock chicken under cold water. This helps remove any lingering remnants from the process of removing the backbone. This step is crucial for maintaining cleanliness and ensuring the chicken is safe to eat.

2. Drying:

After rinsing, pat the chicken dry with paper towels until it is completely dry. Removing excess moisture from the skin helps achieve a crispy texture during smoking. Ensure that the chicken is thoroughly dried to enhance the overall cooking process and result.

3. Olive Oil:

Next, rub the entire chicken, both inside and outside, with olive oil. This step not only adds moisture to the meat but also helps the skin crisp up and develop a beautiful golden color. The olive oil acts as a carrier for the seasonings and ensures an even distribution of flavors.

4. Seasoning Rub:

Now it’s time to apply the seasoning rub. Use your favorite dry rub and generously coat the chicken, making sure to cover all surfaces. This includes getting the seasoning between the skin and breast meat for maximum flavor infusion. The seasoning rub adds a delicious blend of herbs and spices to enhance the taste of the chicken.

Here’s an example of a simple yet flavorful seasoning rub for your spatchcock chicken:

Ingredients Amount
Paprika 2 tablespoons
Garlic powder 1 tablespoon
Onion powder 1 tablespoon
Dried thyme 1 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Black pepper 1 teaspoon

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle the rub generously over the chicken, ensuring to coat it evenly. Feel free to adjust the seasoning amounts according to your personal taste preferences.

preparing spatchcock chicken image

With these preparation tips, your spatchcock chicken will be ready to go on the smoker and will turn out tender, moist, and bursting with flavor!

Choosing the Right Smoker for Smoking Spatchcock Chicken

When it comes to smoking spatchcock chicken, having the right smoker can make all the difference in achieving that delicious smoky flavor. There are several options to consider, each with its own advantages. Let’s explore some of the best choices:

Pellet Smokers

If you’re new to smoking or prefer a user-friendly option, pellet smokers are a great choice. These smokers, such as the Camp Chef 36 smoker or Traeger 780, use wood pellets as fuel and offer precise temperature control. With just a push of a button, you can set the desired temperature and let the smoker do the work. Pellet smokers provide a steady and consistent heat source throughout the cooking process.

Offset Smokers

If you’re a seasoned pitmaster and crave that authentic smoky flavor, offset smokers are worth considering. Brands like Oklahoma Joe’s offer a wide range of offset smokers that allow for traditional smoking techniques. These smokers use a separate firebox, which creates indirect heat and smoke that envelops the chicken. Offset smokers require more attention and skill to maintain a consistent cooking temperature, but the rich flavor they produce is well worth it.

Charcoal Grills and Propane Grills

If you already own a charcoal grill or propane grill, you can easily turn it into a smoker. Charcoal grills provide a smoky flavor and can reach high temperatures quickly, while propane grills offer convenience and precise temperature control. Both options require the use of smoking wood chips or chunks to add that essential smokiness to your spatchcock chicken. Just make sure your grill has a lid to trap the smoke and keep the heat consistent.

Ultimately, choosing the right smoker or grill for smoking spatchcock chicken comes down to personal preference and equipment availability. Consider factors like ease of use, flavor preferences, and the level of attention you’re willing to dedicate to the smoking process. Now that you know your options, it’s time to get smoking and enjoy a delectable spatchcock chicken infused with irresistible smoky goodness!

Comparison of Smokers

Smoker Type Advantages
Pellet Smokers – Easy to use
– Precise temperature control
– Set it and forget it convenience
Offset Smokers – Authentic smoky flavor
– Produces incredible taste
– Traditional smoking techniques
Charcoal Grills and Propane Grills – Versatile options
– Can use existing equipment
– Provides smoky flavor with wood chips or chunks

choosing the right smoker

Achieving the Perfect Smoke Flavor for Spatchcock Chicken

The choice of wood plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect smoke flavor for your spatchcock chicken. Different types of wood impart distinct flavors to the meat, enhancing its taste and aroma. Experimenting with various wood choices can help you find the one that complements your taste preferences best.

When it comes to smoking spatchcock chicken, popular wood choices include:

  • Hickory: Known for its strong, smoky flavor, hickory wood adds a robust taste to the chicken.
  • Pecan: Pecan wood produces a mild and sweet smoke that pairs well with poultry, giving the chicken a rich flavor.
  • Mesquite: Mesquite wood offers an intense and distinctive smoke flavor that can add a bold and slightly earthy taste to your spatchcock chicken.
  • Fruit woods: Woods like apple and cherry provide a delicate and slightly sweet smoke flavor, adding a subtle fruity note to the chicken.

If you’re using a pellet smoker, another excellent option is competition blend pellets. These specially formulated pellets are designed to provide a balanced and flavorful smoke profile that enhances the taste of your spatchcock chicken.

Remember, the choice of wood is a personal preference, so don’t be afraid to experiment and discover your favorite flavor combination. Whether you prefer a bold and smoky taste or a milder and fruitier flavor, the right wood choice can take your smoked spatchcock chicken to the next level.

Wood Type Flavor Profile
Hickory Strong and smoky
Pecan Mild and sweet
Mesquite Intense and distinctive
Fruit woods (apple and cherry) Delicate and slightly sweet

Cooking and Smoking Times for Spatchcock Chicken

It is essential to cook spatchcock chicken to the right internal temperature for a safe and delicious result. To achieve juicy and tender perfection, follow these cooking and smoking times:

  1. Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  2. Place the spatchcock chicken breast side up on the smoker rack.
  3. Smoke the chicken at 225°F for 45 minutes to infuse it with smoke flavor.
  4. Increase the temperature of the smoker to 425°F.
  5. Continue cooking the spatchcock chicken at 425°F until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  6. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature accurately.

On average, cooking the spatchcock chicken at 425°F after the initial smoke takes about 45 minutes to reach the desired internal temperature of 165°F. However, cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.

Temperature Duration
Preheating 15 minutes
Initial Smoke (225°F) 45 minutes
High Heat Cooking (425°F) Approximately 45 minutes
Total Cooking Time Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes

Resting and Serving the Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

After removing the smoked spatchcock chicken from the smoker, let it rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Resting helps maintain the moisture of the meat and makes it easier to carve.

If desired, you can brush barbecue sauce on the chicken during the last 15°F of cooking to add extra flavor.

Serve the smoked spatchcock chicken with your favorite side dishes to create a delicious and satisfying meal. Whether you prefer classic barbecue sides like coleslaw and cornbread or want to try something different like roasted vegetables or a refreshing salad, the options are endless. Pair this juicy and flavorful chicken with your preferred side dishes to create a mouthwatering feast.

Side Dish Description
Classic Coleslaw A creamy and tangy cabbage salad that complements the smoky flavors of the chicken.
Cornbread A traditional Southern staple that adds a touch of sweetness and texture to your meal.
Roasted Vegetables Seasonal vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers, roasted to perfection for a healthy and vibrant side.
Refreshing Salad A crisp and refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette.


In conclusion, if you’re looking for the best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe that delivers juicy and tender perfection with crispy skin every time, look no further. By following the simple steps outlined in this recipe, you can create a mouthwatering spatchcock chicken that will impress your family and friends.

Spatchcocking the chicken is the key to achieving even cooking and preventing dryness. Removing the backbone and cooking the chicken flat on the smoker rack allows for consistent heat distribution and ensures that every bite is succulent and flavorful.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different wood flavors and dry rubs to customize the taste according to your preference. Whether you choose hickory, pecan, mesquite, or fruit woods, each wood imparts its unique smoky aroma that enhances the overall flavor of the chicken.

So, get your smoker ready, prepare the spatchcock chicken using our simple tips, and enjoy the incredible results of this foolproof recipe. With a little practice, you’ll master the art of smoking spatchcock chicken and create a dish that will leave everyone craving for more. Bon appétit!

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What is the best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe for juicy and tender perfection?

The best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe involves removing the backbone, laying the chicken flat on the smoker rack, and cooking at a smoking temperature of 225°F followed by 425°F. This method ensures juicy, tender meat with crispy skin every time.

Why is spatchcock chicken the perfect method for smoking?

Spatchcock chicken allows for even cooking by removing the backbone and laying the chicken flat on the smoker rack. This eliminates the risk of dry chicken and ensures juicy and tender meat.

How do I prepare the spatchcock chicken for smoking?

To prepare the spatchcock chicken for smoking, rinse it under cold water to remove any leftover bits, pat it dry, rub it with olive oil, and season it with your favorite dry rub.

What types of smokers are suitable for smoking spatchcock chicken?

Pellet smokers, offset smokers, charcoal grills, and propane grills are all suitable options for smoking spatchcock chicken. Choose the one that best suits your preferences and equipment availability.

What wood flavors work well for smoking spatchcock chicken?

Hickory, pecan, mesquite, and fruit woods like apple and cherry are popular choices for achieving the perfect smoke flavor in spatchcock chicken. Competition or trophy blend pellets are also great options for pellet smokers.

What are the cooking and smoking times for spatchcock chicken?

Preheat the smoker to 225°F and smoke the chicken breast side up for 45 minutes. Then, increase the temperature to 425°F and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, which usually takes around 45 minutes.

How long should I let the smoked spatchcock chicken rest before serving?

Let the smoked spatchcock chicken rest for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the smoker to allow the juices to redistribute. This helps maintain the moisture of the meat and makes it easier to carve.

Can I brush barbecue sauce on the smoked spatchcock chicken?

Yes, if desired, you can brush barbecue sauce on the smoked spatchcock chicken during the last 15°F of cooking to add extra flavor.

What is the conclusion of the best smoked spatchcock chicken recipe?

By following the steps outlined in this recipe, you can achieve a juicy, tender, and perfectly smoked spatchcock chicken every time. Experiment with different wood flavors and dry rubs to customize the flavor to your liking.


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