How To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken On A Pellet Grill

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to cook a whole chicken, smoking it on a pellet grill is the way to go. And if you want to take that experience to the next level, try spatchcocking your chicken before smoking it.

Spatchcocking, or removing the backbone and flattening out the bird, allows for more even cooking and crispy skin all around. But how do you smoke a spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think.

With just a few simple steps and some basic equipment, you’ll be enjoying juicy, flavorful smoked chicken in no time. So grab your favorite rub and let’s get started!

Preparing Your Chicken For Smoking

Preparing Your Chicken for Smoking is the most crucial step in achieving a mouthwatering spatchcock chicken. It’s like preparing for battle – you need to have everything ready, or else you’ll end up with a disastrous meal.

First things first, make sure your chicken is completely thawed and at room temperature. This ensures even cooking and prevents the meat from drying out.

Next up, it’s time to spatchcock your chicken. Don’t be intimidated by this term; it merely means removing the backbone of the bird and flattening it before smoking. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone from neck to tailbone, then repeat on the other side. Finally, remove the backbone completely and flatten out the chicken by pressing down on the breastbone until you hear a crack.

Once your chicken is spatchcocked, it’s time to season it. You can use a dry rub or marinade of your choice. However, keep in mind that less is more when it comes to seasoning poultry as they already have an inherent flavor that shouldn’t be overshadowed.

Rub or brush your seasoning all over your chicken and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before smoking to allow time for absorption.

Selecting The Right Wood Pellets For Flavor

When it comes to smoking a spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill, the type of wood pellets you use can make all the difference in the flavor of your final dish.

There are a variety of wood pellets available, each with its unique taste profile. Some popular options include hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry.

Hickory is an excellent choice for those who love bold and smoky flavors. It pairs well with beef and pork but can also add depth to poultry dishes like spatchcock chicken.

Mesquite has a distinct sweet and tangy flavor that works perfectly with grilled meats.

For a milder taste, apple or cherry wood pellets are great options that provide just the right amount of sweetness.

When choosing your wood pellets, keep in mind that different brands may have varying levels of smoke intensity. It’s always best to start with a small amount and gradually increase until you achieve your desired level of smokiness. Remember to also consider the cooking time as some woods burn faster than others.

With the right wood pellets selected for your spatchcock chicken recipe, get ready to impress your guests with a deliciously smoked meal!

Setting Up Your Pellet Grill For Smoking

As you prepare to smoke your spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill, it’s essential to set up your grill correctly. Think of your pellet grill as a blank canvas waiting for you to create a masterpiece. Ensure that you have all the necessary equipment and ingredients before starting.

Firstly, clean your pellet grill properly. You don’t want any leftover grime or debris impacting the flavor of your chicken.

Once cleaned, light up your pellet grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the grill heat up for about 10-15 minutes while you prepare your chicken.

Next, set up your smoker box with wood pellets of choice. Applewood or hickory are popular options when smoking chicken. Fill the box with enough pellets that will last for the entire smoking process. Place the smoker box in its designated spot and put the grates back into place.

With these steps in mind, you’re now ready to start smoking your spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill! Remember to monitor the temperature closely and adjust accordingly throughout the cooking process for optimal results. Happy smoking!

Monitoring Temperature And Cook Time

Once you have spatchcocked your chicken and prepared it for smoking on your pellet grill, it’s important to monitor the temperature and cook time. This will ensure that your chicken is cooked evenly and thoroughly, with no risk of any undercooked or overcooked parts.

To do this, you should use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken regularly. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat (without touching any bones), and wait until the thermometer gives you an accurate reading. You should aim for a temperature of around 165°F (75°C) in all parts of the chicken before taking it off the grill.

In addition to monitoring temperature, you should also keep an eye on how long your chicken has been cooking for. A typical spatchcocked chicken will take around 1-1.5 hours to cook on a pellet grill at around 350-375°F (175-190°C).

However, factors such as wind, humidity, and outdoor temperature can affect this time, so be sure to keep checking on your chicken throughout its cooking time.

Adding Flavor With A Rub Or Marinade

I’m gonna show you how to smoke a spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill, but first let’s talk about adding some flavor with a rub or marinade.

Rubs are a combination of dry spices, herbs and seasonings that you can apply to the chicken before smoking it.

Marinades, on the other hand, are liquid mixtures you can use to marinate the chicken in for a few hours before smoking it.

Both methods will add great flavor to the chicken, so it’s up to you which one you prefer.


Are you ready to take your spatchcock chicken to the next level? Look no further than a flavorful rub!

Rubs are an essential component in smoking meats, as they provide a depth of flavor that can’t be achieved with just salt and pepper. Whether you prefer sweet, spicy, or savory, there’s a rub out there for everyone.

When selecting a rub for your spatchcock chicken, consider the flavor profile you’re going for. A classic BBQ rub typically includes brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder. If you want something with a little more kick, try a Cajun rub with cayenne pepper and thyme. And for those who love citrus flavors, a lemon herb rub made with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme is sure to impress.

To apply the rub, simply pat it onto both sides of the chicken after seasoning it with salt and pepper. Be sure to let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing it on the pellet grill. This will allow the flavors from the rub to penetrate the meat more deeply.

Once smoked to perfection on your pellet grill, your spatchcock chicken will be bursting with delicious flavor thanks to that perfect blend of herbs and spices in your chosen rub!


Now that we’ve talked about using rubs to add flavor to your spatchcock chicken, let’s dive into another flavorful option: marinades.

Unlike rubs, which are dry seasoning blends, marinades are liquid-based and typically include an acid (like vinegar or citrus juice) and oil, along with herbs and spices.

Marinating your spatchcock chicken before smoking it can impart even more flavor and tenderness to the meat. The acid in the marinade helps break down the proteins in the chicken, making it more tender, while the herbs and spices infuse it with delicious flavor.

When selecting a marinade for your spatchcock chicken, consider the flavors you enjoy. A classic garlic and herb marinade is always a crowd-pleaser, while a teriyaki or soy sauce-based marinade can add an Asian-inspired twist. And for those who love heat, a spicy chili-lime marinade will definitely kick things up a notch.

To marinate your spatchcock chicken, simply place it in a large resealable bag with your chosen marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight). When ready to smoke, remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry before seasoning with salt and pepper.

In conclusion, whether you choose to use a rub or a marinade (or both!), adding additional flavors to your spatchcock chicken will take it from good to great. Experiment with different spices and herbs to find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds!

Achieving Crispy Skin With Proper Technique

To achieve crispy skin on your spatchcock chicken, proper technique is key. While the pellet grill will do most of the work for you, there are a few things you can do to ensure the skin comes out perfectly crisp.

Firstly, make sure the chicken is completely dry before placing it on the grill. Any moisture on the skin will prevent it from crisping up properly. Pat it down with paper towels and let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Next, brush the skin with oil or melted butter to help promote browning and crispiness. Be sure to season the chicken generously with salt and pepper as well.

To further enhance the crispy texture, try these additional tips:

  • Add a sprinkle of baking powder to your seasoning mix for an extra crunch.
  • Cook the chicken at a higher temperature for the first 15-20 minutes to jumpstart the browning process.
  • Finish off by placing the chicken under a broiler or directly over high heat for a few minutes to really crisp up that skin.

With these techniques in mind, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly crispy spatchcock chicken every time.

So fire up that pellet grill and get ready for some deliciously crunchy goodness!

Serving And Enjoying Your Smoked Spatchcock Chicken

Once your spatchcock chicken has been smoked to perfection on your pellet grill, it’s time to serve and enjoy!

Start by carefully removing the chicken from the grill and placing it on a cutting board. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

To carve the chicken, use a sharp knife and cut along the breastbone, removing each breast half in one piece. Then, separate the thigh and leg sections from the body. Cut each thigh in half at the joint and slice each breast into thin pieces.

Arrange the chicken on a platter with any desired sides.

Now that your smoked spatchcock chicken is perfectly plated, it’s time to dig in! Take a bite of juicy meat and savor the delicious smoky flavor. Enjoy this tasty dish with family or friends, and don’t forget to pair it with your favorite beverage for a truly satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will It Take To Smoke A Spatchcock Chicken On A Pellet Grill?

Wondering how long it will take to smoke a spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill?

Well, the answer might surprise you. While many factors can affect cooking time, such as the size of the bird and the temperature of your pellet grill, generally it takes anywhere from 1-1.5 hours to smoke a spatchcock chicken to perfection.

But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s an easy task – smoking a spatchcock chicken requires precision and patience, but trust us, the end result is worth every minute.

Can I Use Any Type Of Wood Pellets For Smoking A Spatchcock Chicken, Or Are There Specific Ones That Work Best?

You can use any type of wood pellets for smoking a spatchcock chicken, but some work better than others.

For example, fruitwood pellets like apple or cherry give a sweet and mild flavor that complements the chicken’s natural taste.

On the other hand, hickory or mesquite pellets offer a bolder and smokier flavor that can overpower the chicken if not used in moderation.

Ultimately, the choice of wood pellets depends on personal preference and the desired outcome.

Do I Need To Brine My Spatchcock Chicken Before Smoking It On A Pellet Grill?

Brining a spatchcock chicken before smoking it on a pellet grill is like putting on sunscreen before heading to the beach.

Just as sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays, brining your chicken protects it from drying out and losing flavor during the smoking process.

By soaking your chicken in a salty solution for a few hours before grilling, you ensure that every bite is juicy and flavorful.

So, while you may be tempted to skip this step in the cooking process, trust us – you’ll thank yourself later for taking the time to brine your spatchcock chicken before smoking it on your pellet grill.

How Often Should I Check The Temperature Of My Chicken While It’s Smoking?

While smoking any type of meat, it is important to keep a close eye on the temperature. For a spatchcock chicken, it’s recommended to check the temperature every 30 minutes to ensure that it is cooking evenly and reaching the desired internal temperature.

Using a reliable meat thermometer will help you achieve this goal. Be sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching any bones for accurate readings.

By checking the temperature regularly, you can prevent overcooking or undercooking your spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill.

Can I Smoke Other Meats Alongside My Spatchcock Chicken On The Pellet Grill, Or Should I Cook Them Separately?

You can definitely smoke other meats alongside your spatchcock chicken on the pellet grill, as long as they require similar cooking times and temperatures.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that different meats may require different levels of seasoning or marinades, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

Additionally, you may want to consider spacing out the meats on the grill to ensure even cooking and avoid any cross-contamination.

Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference and experimentation to find the best approach for smoking multiple meats at once.


In conclusion, smoking a spatchcock chicken on a pellet grill is a delicious and fun way to enjoy this classic dish.

The cooking time can vary depending on the size of your chicken, but you should plan for around 1-2 hours at a temperature of 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it comes to wood pellets, you can use any flavor that you prefer, but some popular options for poultry include hickory, apple, and cherry.

Remember to check the temperature of your chicken regularly and remove it from the grill once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to smoke other meats alongside your spatchcock chicken – just be sure to give them enough space on the grill.

So fire up your pellet grill and get ready for some mouth-watering smoked spatchcock chicken!