Is Rotisserie Chicken a Good Choice?
April 29, 2015 45 Comments
This is my mug shot of a rotisserie chicken. As you can see, I didn’t shoot its best side.
I know the vegetarians out there are like, “enough already with chicken,” but I want to talk about this affordable, pre-cooked option that many rely on to make their weeks easy (and it is healthier than most fast food).
I did a brief survey of rotisserie chickens in my town and what I found surprised me. First, I went to my local Stop-n-Shop where I found the lovely bird above. My concerns about rotisserie chicken are:
- How much sodium is added to the chicken?
- How long is it on the “Hot Table”?
- Is this chicken antibiotic free?
There is no nutrition facts label on prepared foods in supermarkets but that is going to change in December 2015.
The hot table is important because the FDA requires that retailers should hold cooked poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F or higher as measured with a food thermometer. That is HOT! I am concerned with the taste and texture of the chicken when it sits at this temperature.
Finally, I like to buy the best chicken that I can afford. That isn’t always an organic chicken but I am for antibiotic free birds.
The Stop & Shop Chicken cost $5.99.
- For the flavored chicken – it was 490 mg of sodium for four ounces (20% of your daily value) – yikes!
- The chicken is on the hot table for THREE hours
- The staff member had no idea about the provenance of the chicken. “They arrive here ready to cook.”
The chicken I bought was actually burnt. Obviously, it had spent too long on the hot table. When I reviewed the ingredients – sucralose was one of them. Why would you put artificial sweetener on a chicken?
The real shocker was when the employee told me that a homeless person kept trying to store her winter gloves in the hot table to get dry. Oh man.
Then I went to Whole Foods because I wanted to know if their chicken was any better. It is an expensive option but I am willing to pay the price for a better chicken.
The Whole Foods regular (not organic) chicken was $9.99 but you could get 2 for $15.
- They had no nutrition facts for me to see. They did have a chicken that was not touched by anything (no flavors or brine) and they were sold out of them at 11 AM. They told me that they would hold one for me if I called.
- The chicken is on the hot table for FOUR hours.
- Chicken is antibiotic free and all sorts of other good stuff, though they couldn’t tell me the name of the farm. They said, “local sources”.
Neither store could tell me the temperature of the hot table or had a thermometer monitoring it. I think that is important given the food safety issues of a lower temperature.
My advice for rotisserie chicken is:
- Ask the deli when the chicken was placed out. Do not buy chicken that has dried out and burned from too long on the table. Duh.
- Buy the ones without the rubs or flavors to keep the sodium and weird ingredients in check.
- If you have a Whole Foods near by – 2 cooked chickens for $15 isn’t a bad price.
Do you buy rotisserie chicken? What do you look for?
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