Rotisserie chicken

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Rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie chicken is a chicken dish that is cooked on a rotisserie by using direct heat in which the chicken is placed next to the heat source.[1]

Electric- or gas-powered heating elements may be used by using adjustable infrared heat.[2] These types of rotisseries have proven quite functional for cooking rotisserie-style chicken.[3] Leftover rotisserie chicken may be used in a variety of dishes such as soup, chicken salad, and sandwiches.[4]

United States[edit]

In the United States, ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens were available in supermarkets and some butcher shops during much of the twentieth century.[5] However, they did not become a widely available option for consumers until the early 1990s,[6] when Boston Market helped popularize the selling of packaged rotisserie chickens.[7][8]

Rotisserie chickens are now highly popular.[4] In 2010, 600 million rotisserie-cooked chickens were purchased by consumers "in U.S. supermarkets, club stores and similar retail outlets."[9] In 2018, over 900 million rotisserie chickens were sold by foodservice outlets and retail stores.[10]

Rotisserie chickens are often lower in price than raw whole chickens. Two explanations are often given to justify this phenomenon. First, some grocery stores may use rotisserie chickens as loss leaders to bring shoppers into the store.[11][12] The logic behind this theory is that if customers come to a store for its rotisseries chickens, they will buy other products while they are there, too.[11][13] Second, rotisserie chickens are often made with poultry that is about to reach its "best by" date.[14] By cooking and selling the chickens, the grocery stores are able to recoup some of their expenditures.[14]

In the U.S., chickens used for rotisserie cooking may be injected with brine to retain moisture.[4] Additional ingredients may be used to add flavor and to brown the chicken, such as oleoresin, yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate, and natural flavorings.[4]

Costco and rotisserie chickens[edit]

Costco is one of the largest producers and vendors of rotisserie chickens in the United States, with one commentator describing it as "the undisputed king of rotisserie chickens."[6] In 2017, Costco sold approximately 87 million rotisserie chickens in the United States.[11] Costco's CFO, Richard Galanti, has repeatedly rebuffed suggestions that Costco might eventually increase the cost of its chickens above $4.99,[15][16] which has been the price of a Costco rotisserie chicken since 2009.[11]

In 2017, Costco broke ground on a new 414-acre facility in Fremont, Nebraska that would include a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant.[16][17] The facility – which is expected to produce around 100 million chickens per year,[16] or roughly 40 percent of Costco's needs[18] – has been reported as costing between $275 million and $400 million.[17][19] The plant is scheduled to open in September 2019.[17]

In other cultures[edit]


Rotisserie chicken has been a popular food in Canada since the 1950s, and is a staple of Canadian pop culture. Two Canadian casual dining restaurant chains, Swiss Chalet and St-Hubert dominate the market for chicken, though the dish is also the central item for other Canadian chains, popular international chains such as Nandos, or individual restaurants. Rotisserie chicken is available at most supermarkets.

Swiss Chalet owns a cable channel that exclusively airs content related to rotisserie chicken, "twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week."[20] It typically airs chickens rotating on a rotisserie.[20] Occasionally, a dancing man appears wearing a costume that looks "like a container of Swiss Chalet's dipping sauce."[20]


Napoleon Bonaparte was a frequent consumer of rotisserie chickens.[21]


The two major supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, both sell chickens cooked in large ovens. A common variation on the local fish and chip shop is one that also sells charcoal chicken, rotated and cooked above charcoal.


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Raichlen 2001, p. 211
  2. ^ Krasner, Deborah (2007). The new outdoor kitchen: cooking up a kitchen for the way you live and play. Taunton Press. pp. 61-62. ISBN 1561588040
  3. ^ Gisslen, Wayne; (et al.) (2006) Professional Cooking, for Canadian Chefs. John Wiley & Sons. 9. 47. ISBN 0471663778
  4. ^ a b c d Benwick, Bonnie S. (October 30, 2012). "The bird that goes around, stays around". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Galarza, Daniela (January 17, 2018). "Why Whole Foods Is Banking on Rotisserie Chicken". Eater. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019. The consumer demand for rotisserie chicken isn’t exactly new. Chains like A&P “always had chickens rotating on rotisseries in large commercial ovens with big glass windows,” writes B. Baker, an Eater reader who grew up in the 1960s and remembers that “customers would come in expressly to pick up a chicken for dinner; there were no Boston Markets, Costcos, or even (in our area) KFCs to purchase a prepared bird.” But according to the Journal, it wasn’t until the ’90s that national chains like Costco and Whole Foods started buying birds specifically to put them on a spit and sell them for less than fresh broilers, turning rotisserie chicken into a lucrative loss leader.
  6. ^ a b Crockett, Zachary (January 11, 2018). "The legacy of the rotisserie chicken: grocery stores' golden goose". The Hustle. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Gasparro, Annie (January 4, 2018). "Rotisserie Chickens: The '90s Gift to Supermarkets That Keeps on Giving". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Klein, Karin (August 15, 2016). "Are Rotisserie Chickens a Bargain?". Priceonomics. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Benwick, Bonnie S. (October 30, 2012). "The bird that goes around, stays around". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  10. ^ Glazer, Fern (October 5, 2018). "Rotisserie chicken catches fire". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d Galarza, Daniela (January 5, 2018). "Why Costco Will Never Raise the Price of Rotisserie Chicken". Eater. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Tuttle, Brad (January 4, 2018). "Here's the Real Reason Costco Will Never Stop Selling $4.99 Rotisserie Chicken". Money. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Holden, Ronald (January 4, 2018). "Brawk! Rotisserie Chickens Get Off The Spit". Forbes. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018. Even if they're used as loss leaders, at, say, $5 apiece, that's still a decent chunk of change. But the assumption is that many shoppers will also pick up a salad, a side dish, and maybe a bottle of wine.
  14. ^ a b Vasko, Cat (March 4, 2014). "Grocery Store Economics: Why Are Rotisserie Chickens So Cheap?". KCET. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019.
  15. ^ González, Ángel (May 28, 2015). "Costco philosophical about keeping chicken prices low". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Romano, Benjamin (September 21, 2018). "Costco takes rotisserie chicken supply chain under its wing". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Taylor, Kate (September 21, 2018). "Costco has a $275 million plan to make sure its rotisserie chicken never costs more than $5". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Gerlock, Grant (October 22, 2018). "Costco Builds Nebraska Supply Chain For Its $5 Rotisserie Chickens". NPR. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Farrell, James (August 27, 2018). "Raising a chicken plant: A look at the players involved in constructing the incoming Costco and LPP plant". Fremont Tribune. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c Dean, Sam (May 17, 2012). "The 24-Hour Chicken Channel". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  21. ^ Blakemore, Erin (June 19, 2015). "Napoleon Had a Thing for Rotisserie Chicken". Smithsonian. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017.


Further reading[edit]