Best Grocery Rotisserie Chicken
The store-bought Rotisserie chicken is kind of like today’s version of the TV dinner of the 1950's because it is convenient, but also fills our need to eat real food!
Food Marketers keep telling us we don't have time to make our food (are they saying if we don't buy their plastic, salt-laden food, we would just shrivel up and die?). I say we do have time and can make most of the food we order in the time it takes to be delivered (see Meals for One!). There are ready-made foods, though I will concede to the rotisserie chicken. The fact is as a NYC girl, I will not make this--firstly, because I don't own a rotisserie and second, I know it won't taste as good.
So I hit the major grocery stores in the city. I looked at flavor, juiciness, texture, size, reheat quality and price points. The winner is D'Agostino rotisserie chicken ($7.99) followed by Whole Foods ($8.99) (which looks better but doesn't taste better) and Gristedes ($8.99). With all chances of variability being equal-D’Agostino’s rotisserie is the most moist and juiciest, with better flavor, although smaller in size than the other two The last two contenders were tougher and tasted like they were not as slowly cooked as the D’Agostino’s-- because the cartilage I love to chew on was still hard (hey there is calcium in bones!)
Another plus of rotisserie chickens: they are economical! You can make 2-3 meals, depending on size of bird, and it reheats well. But eat the breast first because that tends to toughen in a microwave, reheat the legs and thighs do not and stay moist. It can be pulled, made into chicken salad (second day breast meat is best for this, see recipe), into sandwiches, and all you need is a side (see healthy sides video) to have a balanced meal. Put rotisserie chicken in fridge immediately and do not let it cool down on counter first to reduce risk of foodborne illness.
For those of you that live by a "chicken breast is healthier" manifesto--this is absolutely not true and not to mention boring! The leg and thigh of bird is the most nutrient dense, carrying most of the iron. What about the fat you ask?! Who cares! Ounce per ounce, there is not much more--so move on from that idea and get down with the dark meat!