Thanksgiving is about family, being thankful, and enjoying a big turkey meal. This year, we’re adding a fun twist to the usual turkey by making a Spatchcock Cajun-Injected Smoked Turkey. This way of making turkey isn’t just quicker than the usual oven roasting, but it also makes the turkey taste amazing.

The special thing about this recipe is how we prepare the turkey. We cut out its backbone and press it flat, which helps it cook more evenly and faster. The best part, though, is the Cajun injection. It’s a mix of tasty ingredients that we put right into the turkey. This makes every bite juicy and full of flavor. And instead of roasting in an oven, we smoke the turkey. Using pecan wood adds a nice smoky taste that goes great with the spices.

From starting with a frozen turkey to cutting it into pieces to serve, we’ll go through each step carefully. This recipe is great for anyone, even if it’s your first time making a turkey like this. Let’s get into how to make this fantastic turkey that’s sure to impress everyone.sliced spatchcock cajun turkey

Why is spatchcocking the turkey important?

Spatchcocking, or removing the backbone to flatten the turkey, is a vital step for a few reasons. It allows the turkey to cook more evenly and quickly, as the flattened shape exposes more surface area to the heat. This method is particularly advantageous when smoking, as it ensures every part of the turkey, from breast to leg, receives equal treatment from the smoke and heat.spatchcock turkey

Is it necessary to use a smoker? Can I cook it in an oven?

This recipe is designed for smoking, which imparts a unique flavor that an oven can’t replicate. However, if you don’t have a smoker, you can roast the spatchcocked turkey in the oven. Keep in mind that you won’t get the same smoky flavor, but the turkey will still be delicious thanks to the spatchcocking and injection techniques. Please see the list below for smoking times if you plan on going that route

  • 8-12 lbs (Small Turkey): About 2 hours 40 minutes to 5 hours.
  • 12-16 lbs (Medium Turkey): About 4 hours to 6 hours 40 minutes.
  • 16-20 lbs (Large Turkey): About 5 hours 20 minutes to 8 hours 20 minutes.
  • 20-24 lbs (Extra Large Turkey): About 6 hours 40 minutes to 10 hours.



  • A Turkey (See chart above for sizes)

For the Cajun Injection:

  • Butter (1 stick, melted)
  • Chicken broth (1 cup)
  • Lager beer (1/2 cup)
  • Hot sauce (1/4 cup)
  • Lemon (juice of 1 lemon)
  • Cajun seasoning (2 tablespoons)


  • Store bought cajun seasoning

For Smoking the Turkey:

  • Pecan wood chunks (for the smoker)


Thawing the Turkey: Begin by placing the frozen turkey in your refrigerator for three days to allow for a slow and even thaw. After this period, move the turkey to a room temperature environment for an additional 18-24 hours to complete the thawing process. This gradual approach is crucial for safety and quality. Once fully thawed, remove the turkey from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels to eliminate excess moisture, preparing it for cooking.

Spatchcocking the Turkey: The next step is spatchcocking, which involves removing the backbone to allow the turkey to lie flat and cook evenly. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut out the backbone, then flip the turkey breast-side up. Press firmly down on the breastbone until it cracks and the turkey flattens. This technique not only reduces the cooking time but also allows for more uniform cooking.

Making the Cajun Injection: To add flavor and moisture to the turkey, prepare a Cajun injection mixture. In a bowl, combine one stick of melted butter, one cup of chicken broth, half a lager beer, a quarter cup of hot sauce, the juice of one lemon, and two tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Whisk these ingredients together. Using a kitchen syringe, inject this flavorful mixture into various parts of the turkey, such as the breast, thighs, drums, and legs.cajun injection

Seasoning the Turkey: Once injected, ensure the turkey is completely dry by using paper towels. Begin seasoning by flipping the turkey to season its underside generously with Cajun seasoning. Then, flip it back over to evenly season the skin side. This step ensures that every part of the turkey is flavorful.

Smoking the Turkey: To cook the turkey, preheat your smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and add pecan wood chunks for a smoky flavor. Place the turkey in the smoker, cooking it for about 20-25 minutes per pound. Use a drip pan placed underneath the turkey to catch drippings; these can be used later to enhance the turkey’s flavor. Monitor the turkey’s internal temperature, aiming for 158 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast. Once achieved, remove the turkey, wrap it in foil, and allow it to rest for 20-25 minutes. This resting period lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring it’s moist and flavorful.smoking a turkey on the hasty bake

Carving and Serving: After resting, carve the turkey by breaking it down into quarters and then slicing it as desired. This well-prepared, flavor-infused turkey is now ready to be enjoyed with family and friends!

Below is a printable recipe card!

seasoned turkey

Cajun Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • A Turkey See chart above for sizes

For the Cajun Injection:

  • Butter 1 stick, melted
  • Chicken broth 1 cup
  • Lager beer 1/2 cup
  • Hot sauce 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons


  • Store bought cajun seasoning

For Smoking the Turkey:

  • Pecan wood chunks for the smoker


Thaw the Turkey:

  • Place the frozen turkey in the fridge for 3 days for a slow thaw.
  • After 3 days, move it to a room temperature environment for 18-24 hours to complete thawing.
  • Remove the turkey from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels.

Spatchcock the Turkey:

  • Use kitchen shears or a knife to cut out the backbone of the turkey.
  • Flip the turkey over so it's breast-side up and press down on the breastbone to crack it and flatten the turkey.

Prepare the Cajun Injection:

  • In a bowl, mix 1 stick of melted butter, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 lager beer, 1/4 cup hot sauce, juice of 1 lemon, and 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning.
  • Whisk the mixture thoroughly.
  • Use a kitchen syringe to inject this mixture into the turkey's breasts, thighs, drums, and legs.

Season the Turkey:

  • Dry the turkey thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Flip the turkey and season the underside with Cajun seasoning.
  • Flip it back over and season the skin side with Cajun seasoning.

Smoke the Turkey:

  • Preheat the smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit with pecan wood chunks.
  • Smoke the turkey for 20-25 minutes per pound. (Adjust the time based on the size of your turkey.)
  • Place a drip pan underneath the turkey to catch drippings.
  • Cook until the internal temperature reaches 158 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and wrap it in foil.
  • Let the turkey rest for 20-25 minutes.

Carve and Serve:

  • Break down the turkey into quarters.
  • Carve the turkey and serve.
Keyword easy smoked turkey, easy smoked turkey recipe, easy thanksgiving turkey recipe, smoked turkey recipe, thanksgiving turkey recipe
As our Spatchcock Cajun-Injected Smoked Turkey adventure comes to a close, we hope you’re excited to bring this incredible dish to your table. This recipe not only promises a deliciously moist and flavor-packed turkey but also offers a fun and engaging cooking experience. Whether you’re gathering with family or friends, this turkey is bound to be the star of your feast, filling the air with its enticing aroma and making your holiday gathering even more memorable.


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