How Long To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken?

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Last Updated on December 6, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

To smoke a spatchcock chicken, you’ll need to smoke it for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours at a temperature of 250°F to 275°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Spatchcock chicken is a delicious and versatile dish that is perfect for smoking.

Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice smoker, knowing how long to smoke a spatchcock chicken is essential for achieving that perfect smoky flavor and juicy, tender meat. In this guide, we’ll explore the optimal smoking time and temperature to ensure your spatchcock chicken turns out perfectly cooked every time.

We’ll also discuss some tips and tricks for seasoning and preparing your chicken before it hits the smoker. So, let’s get ready to fire up the smoker and create a mouthwatering spatchcock chicken that will impress your friends and family.

Benefits Of Spatchcocking

Spatchcocking, also known as butterflying, is a simple yet highly effective method of preparing poultry that offers a plethora of benefits. This technique involves removing the backbone of the bird and flattening it out to create a more uniform cooking surface. Not only does spatchcocking result in a faster cooking time, but it also ensures that the meat cooks more evenly, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful outcome.

Increased Surface Area For Smoke Absorption

One of the major advantages of spatchcocking a chicken is that it provides an increased surface area for smoke absorption. By flattening the bird out, the meat becomes more exposed to the smoke, allowing it to develop a delectably smoky flavor throughout. This results in a more robust and well-rounded taste that truly enhances the overall culinary experience.

Faster Cooking Time

When you spatchcock a chicken, it reduces the cooking time significantly. The flattened shape allows for more even heat distribution, resulting in a speedier and more efficient cooking process. This not only saves time in the kitchen but also ensures that the chicken maintains its moisture and succulence, guaranteeing a tender and juicy end product that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

More Evenly Cooked Meat

Spatchcocking also promotes more evenly cooked meat. When you flatten out the chicken, the thighs and breasts are more level, allowing them to cook at the same rate. This eliminates the common issue of dried-out breast meat and undercooked thighs, ensuring that every bite is consistently delicious and perfectly cooked.

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Factors Affecting Smoking Time

The time it takes to smoke a spatchcock chicken is influenced by various factors, including the type of smoker, the temperature, and the size of the bird. Generally, it can take approximately 1 to 1. 5 hours at a temperature of 275°F to 350°F, but this may vary depending on the specific circumstances.

Smoking a spatchcock chicken is a delicious way to infuse rich, smoky flavors into the tender meat. The length of time it takes to smoke a spatchcock chicken can vary depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help you achieve the perfect smoked chicken every time.

Size Of The Chicken

The size of the spatchcock chicken is a critical factor that influences smoking time. Larger chickens will require more time to smoke, as the heat and smoke need to penetrate through the thicker meat. Alternatively, smaller chickens will generally cook more quickly. When determining smoking time, it’s essential to consider the weight and thickness of the chicken to ensure thorough cooking.

Smoking Temperature

The smoking temperature plays a significant role in determining how long it takes to smoke a spatchcock chicken. Higher temperatures will expedite the smoking process, resulting in a shorter cooking time. On the other hand, lower temperatures will lengthen the smoking time but can create a more intense smoky flavor. Adjusting the smoking temperature based on your desired outcome will directly impact the overall smoking time.

Type Of Smoker Used

The type of smoker used also affects smoking time. Different smokers, such as electric, charcoal, or pellet, may have varying heat distribution and smoking capabilities. For example, a pellet smoker may offer more consistent heat, resulting in more predictable smoking times, whereas a charcoal smoker might require closer monitoring and potential adjustments. Understanding how your specific smoker operates will help you gauge the smoking time more accurately.

By considering the size of the chicken, smoking temperature, and type of smoker used, you can effectively estimate the smoking time for a spatchcock chicken. Adjusting these factors based on your preferences will allow you to achieve a perfectly smoked chicken with rich, nuanced flavors.

Recommended Smoking Times

When smoking a spatchcock chicken, it’s crucial to get the cooking time just right to ensure juicy, flavorful meat with a perfect smoky finish. Here are the recommended smoking times for different sizes of spatchcock chickens:

General Guidelines For Different Size Chickens

When smoking a spatchcock chicken, the size of the bird will determine the smoking time. Here are the general guidelines:

Small: 1 To 1.5 Hours

For a small spatchcock chicken, with an average weight of 3 to 4 pounds, the recommended smoking time is 1 to 1.5 hours. This ensures that the chicken is thoroughly cooked while retaining its juiciness and tenderness.

Medium: 1.5 To 2 Hours

If you are smoking a medium-sized spatchcock chicken, typically weighing 4.5 to 6 pounds, the recommended smoking time is 1.5 to 2 hours. This allows the smoke to permeate the meat, infusing it with rich, smoky flavor while ensuring even cooking throughout.

Large: 2 To 2.5 Hours

For a larger spatchcock chicken, weighing between 6.5 to 8 pounds, the recommended smoking time is 2 to 2.5 hours. This extended time allows for the smoke to penetrate deep into the meat, resulting in a succulent, smoky masterpiece.

Monitoring Chicken Doneness

When smoking a spatchcock chicken, monitoring the chicken doneness is crucial to ensuring a perfectly cooked and delicious dish. Monitoring the internal temperature, skin crispness, and allowing for a proper resting period are important steps in achieving a mouth-watering spatchcock chicken.

Use Of Meat Thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is the most reliable way to monitor the doneness of your spatchcock chicken. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, avoiding contact with bones, to ensure an accurate reading. The chicken is ready when the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), indicating that it is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Checking Skin Crispness

Aside from internal temperature, the skin crispness is also a sign of a well-smoked spatchcock chicken. A perfectly smoked chicken should have a golden-brown, crispy skin. Keep an eye on the skin’s color and texture during the smoking process. If the skin is not crispy enough, you can increase the temperature or smoking time to achieve the desired crunchiness.

Resting Period

After the spatchcock chicken reaches the ideal internal temperature and the skin is sufficiently crispy, it’s essential to allow for a resting period. Remove the chicken from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful chicken.

How Long To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken?


Frequently Asked Questions For How Long To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken?

What Is A Spatchcock Chicken?

A spatchcock chicken is a whole chicken with the backbone removed, flattened for quicker, even cooking.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken?

Spatchcock chicken takes about 1. 5 to 2 hours to smoke at 250°F until it reaches 165°F internal temperature.

What Wood Chips Are Best For Smoking Spatchcock Chicken?

Use apple, cherry, or hickory wood chips for a milder, sweet flavor that complements the chicken.

Should The Chicken Be Brined Before Smoking?

Brining the chicken enhances flavor and moisture, making the meat juicier, but it’s optional for smoking.

Can I Use A Gas Grill For Smoking A Spatchcock Chicken?

Yes, you can turn one side of the gas grill to low for indirect heat and place the chicken on the other side for smoking.


Smoking a spatchcock chicken takes approximately 60-90 minutes at 350°F. By following these guidelines, you can achieve a perfectly juicy and flavorful dish. Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F. Experiment with different wood chips for unique smoky flavors.

Enjoy your delicious spatchcock chicken!

About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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