This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Special equipment: wood or charcoal burning cooker
Set up a charcoal or wood-fired grill according to manufacturer’s directions. Coals/wood should be banked to one side so that you have a direct and indirect method of cooking on your cooker. If using wood, any type of hardwood is preferred, but fruit wood can also work. Preheat to 300 to 350ºF.
Clean and pat dry both chicken halves. Lightly coat one half chicken with half of the oil and rub on the skin and meat to coat. This will help the seasoning stick to the chicken. Repeat for the other chicken half.
Mix the pepper, salt, garlic, onion and paprika in a bowl until evenly blended. Apply a liberal amount of seasoning on both the skin and meat of each chicken half. You will most likely have some seasoning left over that can be used for another cook as long as you don’t contaminate it with chicken juices.
Once seasoned, place the halves skin-side up opposite the fire and close the cooker. They should not be directly above the fire as you want them to smoke. Smoke the chickens for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on hot your cooker is running. If you are running colder (300ºF) this will take closer to 45 minutes. If you are running hotter (350ºF) this will take closer to 30 minutes. Smoke until the skin of each half chicken has a nice brown smoky color.
When the brown smoky color is achieved, it is time to start grilling. Using a set of tongs, transfer each half chicken directly over the coals, rib cage-side down. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes with the lid off. Then flip each piece so the skin side is toward the heat for 5 to 7 minutes with the lid off. With about a minute left, brush a quarter of the BBQ sauce onto each half and then flip, using the tongs, so they are rib cage-side down. Brush the remaining BBQ sauce onto the skin side of the chicken halves. Close the lid and grill for another 5 to 7 minutes. This will allow the sauce to really adhere to the chicken and take on some smoky flavor.
The chicken is done when the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 160 to 165ºF.
Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This chicken is best served with your favorite coleslaw, rice or grilled vegetables.