Rodney Scott’s Holiday Turkey

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Rodney Scott Turkey Recipe
Photos by Angie Mosier

When you cook a turkey on the pit the way Rodney Scott BBQ does, you don’t end up with a pretty, gold bird like the ones you see on the covers of the Thanksgiving issues of all the food magazines, But Scott believes a smoked, seasoned bird outshines all the pretty ones. Spatchcocking the turkey allows it to cook more evenly and get seasoning throughout the bird. Just try it, and see if you’re converted.

recipe heading-plus-icon


Serves 12 to 16

  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds), giblets removed, spatchcocked
  • 1/2 cup Rodney’s Rib Rub (see below)
  • 4 cups Rodney’s Sauce (see below)
  • Rodney Scott’s Rib Rub
  • ½ cup kosher salt (we like Diamond Crystal)
  • ¼ cup MSG
  • ¼ cup fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Rodney’s Sauce
  • 1 gallon distilled, white vinegar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups sugar

Rodney’s Rub (Makes 2 cups)

  1.  Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Rodney’s Sauce (Makes 1 gallon)

*Chef’s Note: This recipe is for a large amount but because of the ratios and the way it cooks down it is important to make this much—it is not recommended to reduce this recipe by more than half. If you are using it as a “mop sauce” while grilling or smoking, you will need quite a lot with some left for the table. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.

  1. In a small stockpot, warm the vinegar over medium-high heat. After about 5 minutes, when the vinegar reaches 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, just before it starts to simmer, add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemon peels begin to soften and wilt, about 10 minutes more.
  2. Whisk in the black pepper, cayenne, pepper flakes, and sugar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce reaches 190 degrees, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool before using. Once the lemon is removed, the sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks.


  1. Fire up your grill to 250 degrees.
  2. Prepare the turkey by sprinkling rib rub all over both sides of the bird.
  3. Place the turkey on the grill grate skin-side down, close the grill, and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Using a small, clean mop or a basting brush, baste the turkey with the sauce. Flip the turkey so it’s skin-side up and baste the skin side. Cover the grill and cook until the thickest part of the thigh meat measures 160 degrees, another 1 hour 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the turkey from the grill and let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving and transferring to a platter.
  • Created by Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ, Charleston

Leave a Reply

Be the first to comment.