If you’ve never smoked a spatchcock chicken, then you’ve definitely been missing out on one of the best ways to cook a whole chicken! Not only does it allow for more smoke to penetrate the meat, but it cooks quicker and more evenly. Try smoking a spatchcock chicken next time and you’ll never look back. Happy smoking!
- 4 pounds whole chicken, preferably air chilled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper, optional
Preheat the smoker
Preheat smoker to 225°F. Most pellet grills don’t need it, but you can add a pan of water in the corner of the smoker to keep moisture inside. If using a Traeger with the Super Smoke setting, turn it on as well.
Mix together seasonings
In a medium sized bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (if using).
Spatchcock the chicken
Place the chicken breast side down. Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken’s backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. Rub the chicken all over with the seasoning mixture, over and under the skin.
Smoke the spatchcock chicken
Place spatchcock chicken in the smoker breast side up and smoke at 225°F until it hits an internal temperature of 120°F in the thickest part of the breast, approximately 45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. I recommend using an internal meat thermometer to easily keep track the temperature.
Once the smoked spatchcock chicken hits the target temperature of 120℉, increase the temperature of the smoker to 375℉. Continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160℉ in the thickest part of the breast. The smoked spatchcock chicken will continue to cook once removed from the smoker and eventually reach a final temperature of 165℉ in the breast. Remember, always cook to temperature and not time!
Rest the smoked spatchcock chicken
Remove the smoked spatchcock chicken from the smoker and transfer it to a carving board. Let it rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute back into the meat and not run out when slicing. There's no need to tent it with foil as it will make the skin soggy.
Serve the smoked spatchcock chicken
Once the chicken has rested for at least 20 minutes, carve it and serve. Enjoy!
How do you get crispy skin on smoked spatchcock chicken?
Air drying! If you have the time - before seasoning the spatchcock chicken - sprinkle with Kosher salt and place it on a wire rack in the refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours to remove any excess water from the skin. This will help help make the skin crispy when smoking the chicken.
If you didn't have time to air dry the chicken in the refrigerator, add a tablespoon of baking powder to the butter mixture.