Make sure the whole chicken is rinsed under running water. Cut chicken into quarters, brush with vegetable oil and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and pepper flakes on both sides. Set aside.
A clean grill is a happy grill. Make sure old ashes are discarded and grates are brushed clean. Add wood charcoal and ignite. When charcoal has burned to white ash, add chicken quarters skin side down. The process now is to render as much grease from the skin without burning the skin or causing the grease to flare-up on the fire and burn the skin. Take your time and be attentive to what is on the grill.
At this point, add water soaked hickory chips (a small handful at a time) to the edge of the fire. This will start the smoking process. Seal in the smoke with a lid or the top of the grill. Remember to keep an eye on the chicken and turn when skin is rendered about 8 to 10 minutes. If the smoke dies down, add another handful of hickory chips.
Grill and smoke chicken for about 15 additional minutes making sure the meat is cooking evenly on both sides. Then begin basting each piece of chicken with barbeque sauce. Don't be afraid to swipe on the barbeque sauce heavy and keep turning each piece to prevent burning in 1 area of the grill.