Skip to content
Home » Smoked Spatchcock Chicken with Smokey Barbecue Sauce

Smoked Spatchcock Chicken with Smokey Barbecue Sauce

My go-to technique for making a juicy and flavorful barbecue chicken is the spatchcock.

The chicken will cook more quickly and more evenly if the backbone is removed before placing it on the grill.

Either teach yourself how to spatchcock (or butterfly) a complete chicken, or have your butcher do it for you.

The skin of smoked chicken is frequently tough and unpleasant to chew on. We turn increase the smoker’s heat to make the skin nice and crispy.

Although a smoky barbecue sauce and poultry rub are two of my favorite combinations, you are free to test out other rubs and sauces.

Step-by-step instructions for spatchcocking a chicken

Don’t feel silly if you’ve never heard of a spatchcock or butterfly before. Simply deboning and flattening a whole chicken is what we mean when we talk about spatchcocking.

By doing so, you may increase the total amount of grilling space available, making this approach ideal for usage with a smoker. Additionally, the chicken may be coated with the rub more uniformly.

Moreover, the total time required to smoke the chicken is cut down significantly. They are all significant advantages.

In order to spatchcock a chicken, one must:

  • On a sanitary cutting board, lay the chicken down, breast side up. You may use the gaps in a butcher block to collect the juices.
  • Cut down both sides of the backbone, down toward the legs, beginning at the neck end using a sharp boning knife or poultry shears.
  • Cutting through the ribs will need a little amount of power. Just use your sense of touch and your knife’s edge to make clean cuts.
  • Remove any extra skin and fat from the chicken’s thighs.
  • Turn the chicken over and use the palms of your hands to firmly push down on the flesh to flatten and spread it out. Expect a snapping sound.
  • The chicken’s small bones surrounding the backbone may be exceedingly sharp, so handle with care. Scratches and nicks hurt almost as much as deeper cuts.

The fragile, easily-burned wingtips may also be lopped off. You may either throw away the backbone and the tips of the wings, or keep them to create chicken stock.

To smoke your chicken, you must first prepare it.

If I’m going to be cooking a spatchcocked chicken, I prefer to do it a few hours ahead of time so that I can apply a dry rub and let it sit in the fridge to dry out well before cooking.

Nice, crispy skin requires extreme drying out. In order to remove any excess food or dirt from the chicken, use a couple paper towels to wipe it down on both sides.

Contrary to popular belief, chicken doesn’t need to be washed before cooking. Salmonella and campylobacter are not removed by washing chicken in the sink, so you’re simply spreading them around.

Sprinkling generously with kosher salt, lay the spatchcock chicken out flat on a tray.

One common rule of thumb is to use half a teaspoon of kosher salt per pound.

By rubbing it in

I used some flavorful rub for this dish. It’s a perfect all-around barbecue rub since it’s neither too sweet nor too spicy.

To ensure that the chicken is coated evenly with the rub, I use a rub shaker.

Try several variations of the rub as you see fit. For more ideas, have a look at our collection of smoked chicken rubs.

Checkout More BBQ Spice Rubs

In the kitchen – smoking a chicken: how to prepare and control the smoker.

By taking your time and smoking the chicken over a moderate heat, you may avoid the skin becoming tough and rubbery.

The ideal smoking temperature for this dish is between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which may be achieved by cranking up the smoker’s heat. I’m using my Weber Smoky Mountain to grill this.

Prepare your grill for smoking.

The method of assembly will vary with the kind of smoker you have. The following stages may be used with any kind of charcoal smoker, or adapted to use with an alternative smoking apparatus:

  • To start a fire, fill a charcoal chimney with briquettes and light it.
  • Dump the briquettes into your Smokey Mountain after they have begun to ash over.’
  • Add another half chimney of unlit briquettes to the already-lit coals.
  • At the point when the coals have all begun to ash over, throw in a couple of substantial pieces of smoke wood. Apple is my preferred smoke wood for cooking chicken, but any quality wood will do.
  • To cook the chicken, start with the breast side up. It’s more efficient for me to make two at once and have lots of leftovers.
  • You may use a dual-probe thermometer to check the ambient temperature and the internal temperature of the bird. My new
  • Digital thermometer allows me to keep tabs on the weather from the convenience of my smartphone.
  • If you have one, it’s best to run it without any water in the bowel so the temperature stays nice and high.
  • I had my Smokey Mountain’s air vents wide open, and after reaching a high of 380 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature settled down to around 325.

This method of cooking chicken is one of my favorites since, in contrast to other barbecue methods, the chicken is generally done in less than an hour.

The exact amount of time needed to smoke a chicken will change depending on factors such as the smoker’s temperature, the bird’s size, and the capacity of the smoker.

It took me a little over an hour to get the breast to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

This method of cooking chicken is one of my favorites since, in contrast to other BBQ recipes, it generally only takes about an hour from start to finish.

Exactly how long the chicken will need to smoke depends on the smoker’s temperature, the bird’s size, and the capacity of the smoker.

It took me a little over an hour to get the breast to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Putting the chicken on the table

The chicken is always perfectly cooked when I pull it off the grill and slather it with barbecue sauce just before the internal temperature reaches the recommended 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast.

When paired with chicken, Lillie’s Q’s smokey barbecue sauce is irresistible. Use any sweet BBQ sauce typical of Memphis.

To use the barbecue sauce, just pour it over the chicken and distribute it with a mop or pastry brush.

Return the chicken to the smoker for another 10 minutes to allow the sauce glaze to fully flavor the chicken.

Now that the chicken is cooking, you may choose between many different preparation methods. When serving, I like to cut it into parts, although pulling is OK.

First, I cut the leg off at the knee, and then I cut the drumstick away from the thigh.

Pare off the wing and consume it (try and cut a little of the breast off at the same time to make to give the lucky diner an extra meaty wing).

Remove the breasts whole by cutting along the backbone, and then chop them into bite-sized pieces.

To balance the smokiness and sweetness of the sauce, I like to serve this chicken with smoked mac & cheese and a creamy coleslaw.

If the chicken was salted and smoked at a high enough temperature, the skin should be beautiful and crunchy.

Very delicious and perfectly safe pink meat (the pink color comes from the smoke).

Ingredients You May Need:

  • 4 Pounds of Whole Chicken,
  • Tablespoons of Smokey Barbecue Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons poultry rub


  1. Prepare a clean cutting board by placing the chicken breast-side down. Cut along both sides of the backbone, towards the legs, using a sharp boning knife or poultry shears.
  2. Reduce the chicken’s overall size by removing any superfluous fat and skin from the lower legs.
  3. Turn the chicken over and use the palms of your hands to firmly push down on the flesh to flatten and spread it out.
  4. You should dry the chicken with paper towels.
  5. Use plenty of kosher salt and let sit in the fridge overnight, uncovered.
  6. Sprinkle the barbecue rub all over the chicken, both inside and out.
  7. Prepare your smoker for indirect heat between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Throw in a couple of slices of light smoke wood (apple or cherry are good options).
  8. To cook the chicken, start with the breast side up.
  9. Bring the temperature of the breast to 160 degrees Fahrenheit by smoking it. Nearly an hour.
  10. When the chicken is done smoking, remove it and brush on some barbecue sauce.
  11. Return chicken to smoker and cook for another 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
  12. Cut the chicken into slices and pair it with your favorite barbecue sides or use the meat to make a sandwich.