Chicken is one of the most versatile meats you can put on the grill or in the smoker. Easy to cook and capable of taking on almost any flavor, it also has the added attraction of being low fat and able to take most any seasoning.
When it comes to grilling most people either grill skinless breasts or parts. When grilling chicken breasts it is important to work with an evenly thick piece of meat. Pound your skinless, boneless chicken breast to a uniform thickness so that you can get it cooked through the middle without drying it out on the ends. Since chicken breasts are virtually fat free that are a great healthy food, but you need to prevent drying. To do this it is best to use a marinade on your chicken breasts. Uniformly thin and marinated skinless, boneless chicken breasts should be grilled hot and fast.
When grilling other chicken pieces, like legs and thighs or even chicken breasts with the skin and bone still on need to be grilled slower. As the fats in these heat up and drain out you are going to get flare-ups. To prevent this lower the temperature and let the chicken grill slowly. Take it to the next step and grill indirectly and you won't have to worry about flare-ups while still getting great grilled chicken (see Grilling Chicken Step by Step).
When people talk about barbecue chicken they are typically talking about grilled chicken with a good thick sauce. You can make great chicken easily with a grill and any sauce you prefer. As when grilling any other chicken pieces you want to keep it the temperatures low (around 300 to 350 degrees F). When you add sauces, particularly sweet sauces you want to do that towards the end of the cooking time and drop down that temperature so that the sugars don't burn. Sugar burns at 265 degrees F. so you want to stay below this temperature.
You can greatly extend the versatility of chicken with a smoker. Slow smoked chicken is a great meal that deserves greater attention than it gets in the barbecue world. Whether you want a whole tea smoked chicken, smoked chicken breasts or shredded barbecue chicken, smoking adds great flavor and in much less time than whole pork shoulders. Smoking chicken is a great way to learn the ins and outs of smoking and to improve you skill at a reasonable price.
When you want to cook a whole chicken you can simply place it on the grill, cooking indirectly and let the chicken roast. If you really want to take it to the next level I recommend that you try either Rotisserie Chicken or Beer Can Chicken. These are easy to do and virtually foolproof if you keep an eye on your grill (which you always should).
The true versatility of chicken can only be expressed in the incredible multitude of recipes. In my archives of chicken recipes you should be able to find a recipe for every taste and every mood from Tandoori to Jamaican Jerk Chicken.