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2 whole chickens split, backbones removed
1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for pre-seasoning
2 Tbs. light brown sugar
2 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. cracked black pepper
Note: When serving chicken to a group, especially when other meats are involved, plan on one whole bird for four people. Have your butcher split the bird and take the backbone out.
Place chickens skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season skin lightly with salt and refrigerate overnight. This will pull moisture out of the skin and dry it out, resulting in a crispier skin when grilled.
About one hour before cooking, prepare a charcoal fire in grill to a medium-hot level. The temperature of the closed grill should read about 350°F.
Combine salt, sugar, paprika, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and blend thoroughly. Season both the bone and skin sides evenly with the seasoning blend.
Place chickens, skin-side down, directly over the coals. Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Flip chickens, close lid, and grill for 15 more minutes. Insert a meat thermometer in a thigh of each. If chickens have not reached an internal temperature of 160°F, continue to cook them in the covered grill, turning occasionally until they do. Remove chicken from grill and allow to rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.
When ready to serve, remove the thighs and legs from the breasts. Cut through the joint between the legs and thighs. Slice the wings away from the breasts. Place the chicken on a large platter by itself or with other grilled meats and serve immediately.