From the Archives: The Best Barbecue Chicken

The Best Barbecue Chicken

This barbecue chicken is so good, you'll want to put it on the top of your summer BBQ to-do list. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

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There's grilling, and then there's barbecue. And as we all know, they're not the same thing.

So how do we classify chicken that's cooked slowly over low heat on a covered grill, and basted with barbecue sauce until a delicious lacquer forms over the whole bird? On the one hand, it has things in common with grilling: It's cooked on a grill over indirect heat just until done, without having to wait for connective tissues to break down and tenderize the meat (the latter, a hallmark of classic barbecue). And yet it also has things in common with barbecue: namely, being slowly smoked in a closed grill, and, of course, all that barbecue sauce we mentioned.

Here at SE Headquarters, we think of this as barbecue chicken—that smoke and sauce just does it for us. But even if you disagree and insist that this is grilling, pure and simple, here's the thing: It doesn't matter, because this bird is just damned tasty.