Spatchcock Chicken Smoked with Smokey Barbecue Sauce

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Spatchcocking is my preferred method of cooking BBQ chicken.

By eliminating the backbone, you can lay the chicken out flat on the grill, allowing you to apply the rub more evenly and cook it quicker.

You may simply learn how to spatchcock (also known as butterfly) a complete chicken yourself or have your butcher do it for you.

The skin of smoked chicken is often rubbery. We raise the temperature of the smoker to get exquisite crispy skin.

I prefer to end with a smoky barbecue sauce and a poultry rub, but you may experiment with various rubs and sauces.

How to spatchcock chicken

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard the terms spatchcock or butterfly. A spatchcock chicken is just a method for removing the backbone and flattening the bird.

This approach is ideal for smokers since it increases the surface area of the grill. You may also apply a more equal layer of rub on the chicken.

You also cut down on the time it takes to smoke the whole bird. All of these are significant advantages.

To spatchcock a chicken:

  1. Place the whole chicken, breast side up, on a clean cutting board. It’s best to use a butcher block with cracks to capture the juice.
  2. Begin at the neck end and cut along both sides of the backbone towards the legs with a sharp boning knife or poultry shears.
  3. To cut through the rib bones, you will need to apply some force. Feeling with the knife should allow you to slice effortlessly.
  4. Remove any extra fat or skin from the chicken’s leg end.
  5. Flip the chicken over and firmly push down with your hands to flatten and spread out the flesh. There should be a crack.

Handle the chicken with great caution because the little bones near the backbone may be razor sharp. Cuts are little, but terrible!

You may also sever the wingtips, which are delicate and easily burned. Save the backbone and wing tips to create your own chicken stock.

If you don’t want to deal with spatchcocking, we have a terrific whole smoked chicken recipe for you.

Preparing your chicken for the smoker

I prefer to spatchcock my chicken a few hours before cooking it so that I can apply a dry rub and let it in the fridge to dry out completely.

To acquire great crispy skin, make sure the skin is as dry as possible. Wipe the chicken down on both sides with paper towels.

Ignore the frequent recommendation to wash chicken. Rinsing chicken in the sink will not eliminate any hazardous salmonella or campylobacter, so you will be spreading any germs around your sink.

Spread the spatchcock chicken out flat on a tray and generously season with kosher salt.

each pound, 2 teaspoon kosher saltUse 1 as a basic rule of thumb.

Applying the rub

I used PloyBoys BBQ Bovine Bold rub for this dish. It’s a terrific all-purpose barbecue rub that isn’t overly sweet or spicy.

To obtain a uniform application of rub on the chicken, I use a rub shaker.

Feel free to play about with the rub. For some ideas, go through our selection of smoked chicken rubs.

The cook – how to set up and manage your smoker for barbecue chicken

Smoking chicken low and slow is the best technique to ensure rubbery skin.

To make this dish, preheat your smoker to 300°F. This is being cooked on my Weber Smokey Mountain.

Get your smoker setup

The precise setting will be determined by your smoker. Use these procedures for any charcoal smoker, or change them to suit your needs. You may also try our recipe for smoked chicken on a pellet grill.

  1. Light a charcoal chimney filled with briquettes.
  2. Dump the briquettes into your Smokey Mountain when they start to ash over.
  3. Pour half a chimney’s worth of unlit briquettes on top of the burning coals.
  4. Once all of the coals have begun to ash over, add 2-3 large chunks of smoke wood. I like apple with chicken, but any excellent smoking wood would suffice.
  5. Place the chicken breast side up on the grill. I usually do two things at once so that I have lots of leftovers.
  6. Set up your dual probe thermometer to measure both the air and the chicken temperature if you have one. I’m using my new ThermoWorks Signals thermometer, which allows me to monitor temps from my phone.
  7. To achieve a great hot temperature, leave the water bowel empty if you have one.
  8. I kept the air vents on my Smokey Mountain largely open, and after reaching 380F, the temperature settled at 325F.

I like preparing chicken this way because, unlike other barbecue recipes, the dish is generally finished in under an hour.

Exact smoking time may vary depending on your smoker’s temperature, the size of the chicken, and how full your smoker is.

It took me just over an hour to get the breast to 165F.

Finishing and serving the chicken

I like to remove the chicken and add barbecue sauce just before it reaches the safe done temperature of 165F in the breast.

Lillies Q produces a delectable smokey barbecue sauce that pairs well with chicken. Any sweet Memphis-style BBQ sauce will do.

Simply brush the barbecue sauce over the chicken with a mop or pastry brush.

Return the chicken to the smoker for around 10 minutes to let the delectable sauce coating to work its magic.

Now that the chicken is done, you have a few alternatives. For serving, I prefer to chop it into parts, although pulling it is also OK.

I detach the drumstick from the thigh by slicing the drumstick and thigh.

Cut the wing off (consider cutting a piece of the breast off at the same time to offer the fortunate customer an extra meaty wing).

Carefully cut along the backbone to remove each breast intact, then slice into even pieces using a sharp knife.

To cut through the smoky, sweet sauce, I serve this chicken with smoked macaroni & cheese and a creamy coleslaw.

If the smoker was hot enough and you seasoned the chicken, the skin should be beautiful and crunchy.

The meat will be very juicy and a safe light pink hue (the pink color comes from the smoke).

Try these other smoked chicken recipes

  • Easy Smoked Chicken Breast
  • Smoked Chicken Maryland
  • Smoked and Fried Buttermilk Chicken Thighs
  • Wings smoked with garlic and parmesan sauce
  • Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken


Should you put BBQ sauce on chicken before grilling?

Most grillers will apply the sauce first, then baste the chicken with it while it cooks. This is a frequent technique, however it might result in your chicken being burned. You want the chicken to gently cook to perfection before adding the sauce in the last 10 to 15 minutes.

How long does it take to smoke a Spatchcock chicken at 275?

Preheat the Traeger grill to 225-275 degrees F. Grill the chicken breast side up, spreading out the legs so it sits flat. Smoke the chicken for 3-4 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove off the grill and set aside for 15-20 minutes to rest before slicing and serving.

Should I baste chicken while smoking?

Basting the chicken with mop sauce as it smokes keeps it moist and adds flavor.

Do you put BBQ sauce before or after smoking?

When do you apply the barbecue sauce? It’s often assumed that the sauce is applied during the final 15 minutes or so of smoking.

Can you put BBQ sauce on raw chicken and cook?

Yes, raw chicken thighs can be marinated in barbecue sauce. Once in the oven, all of the nasty germs will be baked away, and the thighs will be absolutely safe to consume.

Is it better to smoke a chicken at 225 or 250?

The ideal temperature for smoking chicken is about 225 degrees. To ensure uniform cooking, preheat your smoker.

What is the best wood to smoke a spatchcock chicken?

The best wood to use is

When it comes to chicken, my favorite woods to utilize are hickory, pecan, mesquite, and fruit woods like apple and cherry. When smoking chicken, competition or trophy mix pellets are also excellent choices.

How long to smoke a 7 pound chicken at 250?

A entire chicken takes around 3-5 hours to smoke, or 45 minutes per pound at 250 degrees F.

What temperature do you add BBQ sauce to chicken?

When cooking chicken, the goal is to obtain an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check to ensure that all of the pieces are cooked. After the chicken has finished cooking, add the previously indicated sauce.

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