And whereas most shoppers will merely go for the cooked rotisseries from no matter grocery retailer they usually frequent, we needed to see whose chickens stood out from the flock.
The logistics for this style check have been a bit extra sophisticated than for others we’ve achieved. To begin with, many grocery chains are regional, so along with a number of nationwide manufacturers, we scooped up samples from the main chains within the Washington area.
Whereas variations abound, together with lemon-pepper, barbecue and herb-bedecked, we opted for probably the most conventional, plainest model that every retailer supplied.
There was potential for variation: How recent have been the chickens? How lengthy was their commute to our workplace, the place we did the check? We aimed to standardize issues as greatest we might, arranging pickups by a number of staffers at about the identical time (sure, a spreadsheet was concerned) and stashing the chickens in insulated luggage upon their arrival, a course of we hoped would greatest mimic a client’s expertise with them. And it’s attention-grabbing to notice that the freshness didn’t appear to matter — one in every of our colleagues waited because the grocery-store employee pulled the chickens out of the oven, and that hen nonetheless wound up on the very backside of our record.
Even earlier than lifting a fork, we found that not all rotisserie chickens are created equal. There’s a huge distinction in measurement — our samples ranged from 4 kilos, 5 ounces (Costco) to a petite 1 pound, 10-ouncer from Meals Lion (under, we record the load as we measured it, not as described on the packaging). Costs range wildly, too, as do the dietary components, all supplied by grocers. Individuals watching their salt consumption would possibly need to be aware of sodium quantities particularly. In some instances, it was tough to find the dietary info, a course of that required inquiring on the deli and even calling customer support. In a single case, it couldn’t be discovered. The general efficiency of those birds was equally everywhere in the map — we had a transparent winner, an apparent loser, and a fairly murky center.
Easy methods to use rotisserie rooster as a shortcut to simple weeknight dinners
To guage the sector, we requested eight tasters to pattern every, ensuring they tried white and darkish meat and a few pores and skin, and to award every a rating of 1 to 10, considering taste, texture and total attraction — which means every had a possible for a excessive rating of 80.
So which rotisserie guidelines the roost?
The feel was an enormous (and unanimous) turnoff for our tasters. “Mealy,” “mushy,” “pasty,” and “chalky” have been among the many unappetizing adjectives ascribed to this entrant, which was the definitive low scorer on this feathery sweepstakes. There was little by means of taste, both, with one describing a “yellow-bland nothing” and one other likening it to child meals “with a slight metallic taste.” And it provoked some outright jeers: “I inadvertently said ‘I hate this’ while swallowing,” stated one taster.
($7.99/1 pound, 9 ounces/$5.11 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (4 ounces): Energy: 190; Complete Fats: 14 g; Saturated Fats: 4 g; Ldl cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 420 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 17 g
9. Complete Meals lemon herb
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Your information feed might be full of studies of huge droughts. This rooster, which many tasters discovered to be severely parched, would possibly discover itself proper at house on the night information of late. “Another day, another dry chicken breast,” lamented one. Additionally they dinged it for an absence of seasoning, with one calling it “tragically bland.”
($9.99/2 kilos, 8 ounces/$4 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 180; Complete Fats: 12 g; Saturated Fats: 3.5 g; Ldl cholesterol: 60 mg; Sodium: 160 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 15 g
Some folks discovered this to be one other dry specimen (“like the surface of Tatooine,” within the phrases of 1 Star Wars aficionado). And it was the newborn of the bunch, size-wise. However not less than one taster discovered it extra interesting than they initially thought: “looked pretty sad but actually didn’t taste terrible.” Just a few needed slightly extra seasoning from this to make it a stronger contender. “Is salt really, really expensive?” one puzzled.
($6.99/1 pound, 9 ounces/$4.47 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 160; Complete Fats: 11 g; Saturated Fats: 3 g; Ldl cholesterol: 55 mg; Sodium: 360 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 14 g
7. Kirkland seasoned (Costco)
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That is the rotisserie rooster to beat — the membership membership’s roasted poultry has attained iconic standing, sustaining its low value as a loss chief (Costco subsidizes the $4.99 price ticket to entice consumers to additionally buy bulk portions of protein bars and tube socks) and attracting devotees alongside the best way. It’s far and away the plumpest of the bunch. Our tasters weren’t unanimous on this one, with one declaring it her favourite (“not too salty, the dark meat has some flavor”), others discovered it inoffensive (”nondescript however strong”) and a pair have been decidedly not followers (“stringy” within the phrases of two tasters). Nonetheless, in case you are in search of heft and worth, this may be the rooster you’re looking for.
($4.99/4 kilos, 2 ounces/$1.21 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 140; Complete Fats: 7 g; Saturated Fats: 2.5 g; Ldl cholesterol: 55 mg; Sodium: 460 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 19 g
6. Signature Cafe conventional (Safeway)
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Tasters detected a touch of welcome natural seasoning right here, however this specimen is simply approaching middle-of-the-road territory. “Good flavor but overall not at all memorable,” stated one. “Would be fine in something saucy or cheesy,” faint-praised one other. The pores and skin appeared to pull the scores down, although, with unimpressed tasters dubbing it “flabby,” “rubbery” and “slightly slimy.”
($7.99/1 pound, 12 ounces/$4.57 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 160; Complete Fats: 9 g; Saturated Fats: 3 g; Ldl cholesterol: 100 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 20 g
The extent of salt appealed to many tasters, and some notably singled out the darkish meat for reward (“rich flavor and juicy”). However some discovered the salinity slightly overpowering, with one calling it a “salt lick,” and one other lamenting that it instantly despatched him for a gulp of water. Just a few thought it was a bit overcooked, however this was one other one folks thought may very well be serviceable in the suitable context. “Passable for many uses, not plain,” stated one.
($9.99/2 kilos, 11 ounces/$3.72 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 180; Complete Fats: 9 g; Saturated Fats: 2.5 g; Ldl cholesterol: 95 mg; Sodium: 440 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 20 g
4. Member’s Mark seasoned (Sam’s Membership)
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A soft measurement and inoffensive taste and texture landed this rooster within the higher tier, even when it didn’t win it many effusive plaudits. It’s just like the type of music taking part in in your dentist’s ready room, seemingly picked by an algorithm to be unobjectionable to most ears. “I wouldn’t be upset if someone served this to me,” stated one. “Nothing about it makes me angry,” was one other echo of its attraction. “Moist breast meat, good browning on the skin, not overly salted,” stated one fan.
($4.98/3 kilos, 4 ounces/$1.53 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 140; Complete Fats: 7 g; Saturated Fats: 2.5 g; Ldl cholesterol: 75 mg; Sodium: 430 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 19 g
3. (tie) Wellsley Farms (BJ’s Wholesale Membership)
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This hen appealed to the attention straightaway, with our photographer figuring out it as probably the most visually interesting of the lineup. “Nice grilled color,” stated one, though one other stated the inside didn’t stay as much as the packaging’s promise: “the flavor of the breast meat doesn’t match the looks.” Muted seasoning didn’t hassle our extra salt-averse tasters, although. (“I would rather skew that way,” stated one.) A number of discovered the breast meat a contact dry, however others discovered the moisture degree “decent” and “just fine.”
($4.99/3 kilos, 3 ounces/$1.57 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 180; Complete Fats: 11 g; Saturated Fats: 3 g; Ldl cholesterol: 80 mg; Sodium: 320 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 19 g
3. (tie) Sprouts Farmers Market unseasoned
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Salt with a aspect of rooster? This was voted the saltiest bird-testant, although tasters have been divided over whether or not that was factor. “This one has allll the salt that was missing from the others,” in response to one. And most thought the meat was comparatively moist, a attribute that one speculated may be attributable to being pumped stuffed with brine. Some tasters discovered starker variations between the darkish and chicken, the latter being saltier and unexpectedly a bit higher textured.
($9.99/1 pound, 14 ounces/$5.33 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (4 ounces): Energy: 170; Complete Fats: 11 g; Saturated Fats: 3 g; Ldl cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 420 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 18 g
2. Nature’s Promise basic (Large)
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Two tasters detected a nice observe of smoke on this man’s taste panel, though one other merely clocked a thriller “odd aftertaste.” And it acquired excessive marks for interesting seems. “Evenly bronzed, back from a beach vacation in the Mediterranean, surely,” in response to one admirer. “Nice golden color,” stated one other. Our critics largely agreed that the juiciness issue distinguished each the darkish and chicken, with a quantity labeling it “moist and tender.”
($6.99/2 kilos, 11 ounces/$2.60 per pound)
Vitamin info not obtainable
To be honest, this hen had a major … wing up, because the big-box model’s “traditional” selection was clearly, upon inspection, rather more closely seasoned than the others. Discernible bits of rosemary and different herbs flecked its pores and skin and penetrated into the flesh. A number of tasters dug the black pepper notes that have been prevalent (“Omg pepper!” was a pattern quote). One famous, although, that the aggressive seasoning would possibly restrict its versatility — “it might take over,” one surmised. It was additionally greater in energy and fats than all of the others we sampled, which could have helped pack in some taste. Nonetheless, total, it gained factors for having equally moist darkish and chicken and a prevalent (and, not less than on this batch of chickens, elusive) poultry taste, along with that backyard of herbs. “Actually tastes like chicken that was cooked by someone who likes to eat rotisserie chicken,” praised one.
($6.97/3 kilos, 1 ounce/$ 2.28 per pound)
Vitamin info per serving (3 ounces): Energy: 250; Complete Fats: 19 g; Saturated Fats: 6 g; Ldl cholesterol: 85 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 19 g