With its wide range of cooking possibilities and its bargain price of $4.99, it can be hard to find a more legendary Costco product than rotisserie chicken. The warehouse club has managed to sell more than 100 million slow-cooked poultry every year since 2020. Even Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has described the popular food item as “our old reliable.”
So while the most popular products have their detractors, many customers agree that picking up a rotisserie chicken is a must on any Costco run. But according to some members, not all Costco rotisserie chickens are created equal.
A recent post on the Costco subreddit asked if there was a secret to choosing the best rotisserie chicken of the lot, and users were quick to share several helpful tips.
For those who like a browner, crispier chicken, it may be a balancing act between finding a chicken that has good color but hasn’t reached the point of burnt or dryness. Many users said that they usually rely on the appearance of the chicken to find the best option.
“I just look at the color. I have to have an even, slightly dark brown color. It’s just what looks visually appealing to me,” one commented.
For people planning to eat the chicken right away, it’s best to look for containers without too much steam inside so the chicken skin has a chance to still be crispy, another user said.
Meanwhile, some Costco members attest that lighter-colored chickens are the best option.
“I’m probably in the minority here, but I picked the lighter chickens. I think they’re [juicier]. I find the darker ones are much drier,” one user commented.
For those who want the best of both worlds between color and juiciness, another Costco customer suggested looking for roast chickens that are nicely browned but still have juices in the bottom of the tray.
“If you don’t see juice in the bottom of the pan, it’s going to be overcooked and dry,” the user wrote.
Size is also an important factor. According to a Redditor, smaller is better.
“I always choose a smaller one which is below normal price,” the user commented. “I know everyone loves big chicken but little birds are so much tastier.”
On the other hand, larger chickens may offer better value for those who have multiple people to feed or want to get more meat from the bird. In order to quickly find the biggest rotisserie chickens in a Costco selection, several Reddit users suggested scanning all the containers to find a chicken that touches the plastic top.
Overall, finding the best rotisserie chicken mostly comes down to personal preference. By thinking about what they consider an ideal rotisserie chicken and spending time on a Costco trip sorting through what’s available, customers are more likely to find the best option.
“Basically, everyone has a different idea of the perfect chicken,” commented one “Roast Chicken employee,” i.e., Costco Deli employee, “and they’re all willing to spend a few minutes browse until they find the perfect combination of size and color.”
Zoe Strozewski is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Learn more about Zoe
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