This is the genesis of all barbecued chicken and something everybody loves. We’ve all been served a barbecued half-chicken dinner at a local fundraiser and with the friendly atmosphere and a good cause — it makes for a pretty good meal. But a little brine and some homemade barbecue sauce will make your chicken barbecue something very special and your friends will all be asking you to make it again.
For the brine: Heat 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat until it’s about to simmer. Add the salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or small pitcher and mix in the ice water. Refrigerate until very cold.
Put the chicken halves in a gallon-sized plastic zip bag. Pour the brine over them. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 3 hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare your cooker to cook indirectly at 250 degrees using medium cherry wood for smoke flavor.
Take the chicken out of the bag and rinse well. Dry thoroughly and sprinkle it lightly with the rub. Put the chicken in the cooker and cook for 3 hours. Brush it with the barbecue sauce and continue cooking until each half reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the breast and 180°F in the thigh, about another 1 hour.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Serve the chicken halves with additional sauce on the side.