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!
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 seasoning. Additionally, smoking the chicken at a higher temperature towards the end of the cooking process can help crisp up the skin.
What is smoked spatchcock chicken?
Smoked spatchcock chicken refers to a cooking method where a whole chicken is prepared by removing its backbone and flattening it before smoking it to impart a smoky flavor.
How do I spatchcock a chicken?
To spatchcock a chicken, place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. Flip the chicken over and press it firmly to flatten it.
What temperature should I smoke a spatchcock chicken at?
Aim for a smoking temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C) for a spatchcock chicken. This allows for a slow and even cooking process, resulting in tender and juicy meat.
- 4 pounds whole chicken, preferably air chilled
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika, preferably smoked
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Air dry the spatchcock chicken before smoking
This is the key to tasty, crispy skin! If you have the time, place the spatchcock on a wire rack, coat evenly in 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt (under and over the skin), and refrigerate uncovered for up to 24 hours to remove any excess water from the skin. This will help help make the skin crispy when smoking the spatchcock chicken.
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 110°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 110℉, increase the temperature of the smoker to 400℉. 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!