Do-it-yourself roasted chicken

Many folks grab a rotisserie chicken as a quick last-minute dinner decision. My investigation into these chickens shows that they can be a good financial decision dependent upon where you’re purchasing them and the net weight. Nutritionally they are higher in sodium than a home roasted chicken or comparable sized single-person frozen entrees or most restaurant meals. Depending upon the rest of your meals that day, the rotisserie chicken may quickly put you over the recommended daily amount of sodium.

It’s easy to roast a chicken at home if you have two hours. The “active” time needed is minimal. When you choose “do-it-yourself” you have control over the type of seasonings and the amount of added sodium. In addition to the sodium content, some people say that the seasoning in a rotisserie chicken may add “too much” flavor for some palates. You’re in control of this when you do-it-yourself.

Plan on roasting a chicken on the weekend when you’re home doing other chores. Refrigerate the whole chicken for a meal or two during the week. Financially this could save you money, especially if you can find the roasting chickens or whole fryers on sale. Another thought, while you have the oven on to bake the chicken, what else could be cooking at the same time? Baked potatoes? Baked squash? Baked apples?

Planning and preparing meals ahead can save you both time and money. Encourage the kids to help. This also gives them a “buy in” for what is being served, they may be more inclined to eat it if they helped plan and prepare it.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

A tale of two chickens: cost comparison

After the meat man at a box store revealed that the raw weight of their rotisserie chickens was always greater than 4.82 pounds, I purchased a seasoned rotisserie chicken ($4.99). I also bought a 5 pound raw whole fryer chicken ($.99/pound) from which I removed some fat and the giblets (about 5 ounces). My goal: to determine if already cooked chicken was “a good deal”.

I roasted the raw chicken @ 20 minutes a pound (1 hour and 40 minutes) seasoned with fresh herbs. After cooking this chicken weighed 3.16 pounds. The rotisserie chicken package listed the net weight as 3 pounds, but my scale showed closer to 3.5 pounds.

When deciding if a rotisserie chicken is a good deal, remember that you only get about half the net weight in edible meat. When disassembled (no skin, bones or giblets) both chickens had almost the same amount of meat with slightly more rotisserie chicken. In this example, the price of the cooked chicken meat alone was about $2.75 per pound. In another section of the same store I found cooked chicken breast meat for salads or fajitas @ $4.99 a pound. In this situation pound for pound the rotisserie chicken was (cost-wise) a “good deal.”

All rotisserie chickens are not created equal. The price and weights of a roasted chicken can vary greatly from store to store. Another consideration: added ingredients or seasonings. More on that in my next blog post: “Is it simply a roast chicken?”

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University