Better-Than-Fried Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey

Rogue Cookers

Doug Scheiding

I always used to fry turkeys. I started looking for another option due to the safety reasons. I tried an infrared fryer, and the results were just not quite what I was after. What I’ve decided: an injected, spatchcocked (butterflied), smoked turkey is the best way to go. This turkey cooks evenly, soaks up incredible smoke flavor, and is juicy—never dry.


Whole turkey, 14-16 lb
Head Country Championship Seasoning, Original
Head Country Championship Seasoning, High Plains Heat
Seasoned butter injection, 16 oz (I like Tony Chachere’s)
Jalapeno seasoned butter injection, 16 oz (I still like Tony Cachere’s)
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Original Spray




4 hours


I prefer young fresh turkeys from my local butcher. However, if your turkey is frozen, just thaw slowly in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Remember: freeze fast, thaw slowly. Be sure to remove the neck and giblets, and if you get your turkey from your local butcher, have him or her cut the backbone out for you and skip doing it yourself.

To spatchcock (or butterfly) the turkey: First, you will need a good-quality pair of kitchen shears. On a large cutting board or countertop wrapped in aluminum foil, turn the turkey so the backbone is facing up, with the legs closest to you. Cut along both sides of the backbone as far as you can, then rotate the bird. Continue cutting along the sides of the backbone until you can break the entire backbone free. Use the shears to trim any excess skin. Turn over the turkey and push down on the breast to flatten. (Hint: There are multiple videos on YouTube demonstrating this technique).

Move the turkey to a large aluminum pan—one that measures 16×12 works. Mix the two containers of butter injection. Inject 3 tubes in each leg, 1-2 in the thighs, 1-2 tubes in the wings, and the rest in the breast area. Be sure to use all of the butter injection.

Add a medium coat of Head Country Championship Seasoning in Original, then switch to High Plains Heat on both sides.

Move the turkey to a grill preheated to 325-350 degrees F, with the breast toward the back. Use additional rub to cover any spots that may have rubbed off during the move from the kitchen to the grill.

Lightly spray the skin with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray every 30 minutes.

After 2 hours of cooking, rotate the turkey 180 degrees so the breast faces the front of the grill. Wrap the wing tips and the ends of the legs with aluminum foil.

Continue to spritz lightly every 30 minutes. Pull the turkey when a probe thermometer in the breast (not near a bone) reaches 165 degrees. Don’t be alarmed if the legs read 175 or higher.

Let the turkey rest for about 10 minutes. Carve—legs, wings, then breast)—and enjoy.