The bane of barbecued chicken is dry breast meat. Half chickens cooked on the grill turn out this way because the breast cooks before the thigh. We have had chefs tell us the dark and white meat must be separated to cook properly. This recipe avoids that by moving the breast meat further from the heat, and allowing the bird's juices to steam the breast meat as it cooks. Plus, pastured chicken breast meat seems more resistant to drying out than factory chicken. This recipe is so easy, you can truly "set it and forget it."
It can be made on either a gas or charcoal grill. A Weber charcoal grill is recommended. It is best, whether gas or charcoal, to BBQ the chicken with hickory chips pre-soaked in water. You can use a cast iron smoker box in a gas grill, or add the chips directly to the coals on a charcoal grill.
Warm the grill. Cook over indirect heat. Use Weber charcoal baskets on each side of the lower grate, or turn off the gas grill’s center burner. Add the soaked hickory.
Cook the chicken for 1 to 1½ hours. It is done when the drumstick feels loose on the thigh. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for ten minutes. Then cut the meat off the carcass. The skin should be crispy and the meat should fall off the bones. You can add your favorite barbecue sauce at this point. We feel the chicken’s flavor speaks for itself, with a little salt.
P.S. Thanks to our friend Bob Rhea, a Weber savant, for teaching us how to cook chicken this way!