Why You Should Buy The Heaviest Rotisserie Chicken Every Time

A whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a convenient and delicious grab-and-go meal that requires no prep work and minimal cleanup, so it's no wonder they can be found at almost every grocery and warehouse store nowadays. They are so popular that when you hear a bell chime at Costco, it means a new batch of fresh birds has just emerged from the ovens, and is ready for pickup.

With so many options available, it's important to make the most judicious choice possible when shopping for a rotisserie chicken. Typically, we start by browsing the options to find the best-looking bird. One with plump, crisp skin and even coloring is always a great sign. However, even if a bird looks beautiful, the real test for optimal freshness and taste is to simply pick it up. In the end, take home the heaviest chicken you can find, because its weight indicates that the meat is still tender and juicy.

Why the weight of the chicken matters

The weight of the rotisserie chicken is significant because the longer it sits under the intense heat lamps, the more moisture it loses, resulting in both weight loss and dried-out meat. However, these heat lamps are important, as they serve not only to keep the birds warm for dinner, but also to maintain them at a food-safe temperature. 

Sometimes, there are visual clues that the meat has begun to lose its moisture. If the skin is shriveled instead of taut, that is not a good sign. Also, if the legs or wings have already splayed and detached from the breast cavity, that is an indication that the meat might dry out faster than usual in those areas.

When you have a few to choose from, pick up one in each hand to gauge the heaviest one in the group, and select that one for your meal. Some grocery stores put time stamps on the packaging of each chicken, but even this can sometimes be less reliable than simply assessing different options yourself.

How to serve and store a rotisserie chicken

One of the reasons rotisserie chickens are so popular is their incredible versatility. They can be the centerpiece of a meal, and the leftovers can transform into a plethora of other delicious dishes. The tender meat, when plucked from the bones, can be used in everything from hearty casseroles and salads to nachos and enchiladas. Even the carcass can contribute to an incredible batch of homemade chicken broth, and there's a great time-saving hack to debone a whole rotisserie chicken using a simple plastic bag. With this convenient and cost-effective protein, nothing should go to waste. 

Should there be any remaining leftovers, proper storage is crucial. Rotisserie chickens can last in the fridge for about four days if stored in an airtight container, and should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Beyond that, it might be time for another trip to the grocery store to pick out the best chicken for your next meal.