What Is Rotisserie Chicken and Why Is It Cheaper Than Raw Chicken?

Rotisserie chicken is a grocery store workhorse. Picking the kids up from soccer practice and need a quick dinner everyone will enjoy? Get that rotisserie chicken. Looking for something cheap and easy that you can eat standing over the sink so you don’t have to do dishes? Rotisserie chicken! But what exactly is rotisserie chicken? What is in rotisserie chicken that makes it taste so good? How long does rotisserie chicken last in the fridge? Let’s solve all of these rotisserie chicken mysteries!

What is rotisserie chicken?

So, what makes a chicken rotisserie? What’s the big difference between a rotisserie chicken and a roasted chicken? It’s all in how it’s cooked. A rotisserie chicken is cooked on a contraption called a rotisserie. A rotisserie is basically something that turns meat over an indirect heat source. Rotisserie is a lot like spit-roasting. Have you ever seen those old cartoons where there’s a whole pig on a stick being turned over an open fire? It’s a lot like that. Grocery stores have big rotisserie devices that can hold and rotate dozens of chickens at a time. 

What is in rotisserie chicken? 

Rotisserie chicken ingredients can vary from place to place, but most inject a brine into the chicken to retain moisture and then use a dry rub similar to something that would be used on a roast chicken. Garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper, and paprika are all common ingredients in rotisserie rub. However, since many places make these chickens at a large scale and they need to last a while, they may also use some preservatives and enhancers like oleoresin, yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate, and natural flavorings.

Why is rotisserie chicken a grocery store staple? And how is it so cheap?

It’s no secret that you can go into a Kroger, Publix, or Costco and buy a cooked, ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken that is actually cheaper than an uncooked chicken. How is that possible? Well, many grocery stores famously sell rotisserie chickens as a loss-leader. That means the chickens may be priced cheaper than it costs the store to buy and make them as a way to entice people into the store. The thinking is that once they’re in the store, they’ll buy more stuff. And it works! Anytime I go buy a rotisserie chicken, I also pick up some sides, some drinks, and cat litter. I have a lot of cats.

How long can you keep that rotisserie chicken in the fridge? 

The USDA suggests keeping your rotisserie chicken leftovers in the fridge a maximum of four days. But if it looks or smells bad after a day or two, throw that sucker out. Grocery stores may use chickens that are near the sell-by date to make their rotisserie chickens. So these aren’t something you want to hang onto forever. But, if you’re like me, you’ll eat a whole rotisserie chicken in one go while standing over the sink, waiting for your kids to call. At least I have my cats!

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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