Barbecued chicken isn’t, really: It’s grilled rather than smoke-roasted at low temperature. But it requires a similar attention to technique. You’ll want to move the pieces around on the grill to keep them from burning, and flip them often as well. Cooking barbecued chicken benefits from a basting technique used by the chef and outdoor cooking maven Adam Perry Lang, who thins out his sauce with water, then paints it onto the meat he’s cooking coat after coat, allowing it to reduce and intensify rather than seize up and burn.
1 cup barbecue sauce (see recipe)
6 to 8 chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs) skin-on, bone-in, about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Build a fire in your grill, leaving one side free of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds), you are ready to cook. (For a gas grill, turn one of the burners down to low or off, lower cover and heat for 15 minutes.)
Meanwhile, combine barbecue sauce with 1 cup water and stir to combine. Set aside.
Sprinkle the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper, then put them on the grill directly over the coals and cook for about 15 minutes, turning once every 5 minutes or so, and brushing with the thinned barbecue sauce. When the chicken skin starts to crisp and darken, move the pieces to the cooler side of the grill and let them cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until a peek inside shows that the meat no longer has any red at the center.
Move the chicken back onto the hot side of the grill and baste with sauce again, turning the meat a few times. Remove to a warmed platter and serve.