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What does Costco do to their cooked chickens to make them taste so good?

SocksManly Oct 8, 2010 08:13 PM

I have to assume, perhaps wrongly, that the whole chickens they sell 3 to a bag are the same chickens they sell cooked using their big rotisserie machine.

I buy both fresh and cooked chickens from them regularly, and I gotta say, the ones they cook always blow mine away. I get the best results at home using my big Ronco rotisserie, but, just not the same.

Do they brine their cooked chickens I guess? They're always so salty and juicy all the way through. Anyone know the secrets?

To the ADMINS.. I'm posting this in the Toronto board because maybe, just maybe, Costco America does things differently. Okay? :) Now go ahead and move it like I know you're going to anyways.

  1. monku Oct 8, 2010 08:17 PM

    They're brined first then roasted.

    1. duckdown Oct 8, 2010 11:22 PM

      I always find those supermarket chickens salty.. not alot of flavor other than salt, and they're especially bad when you try eating it cold right out of the fridge

      1 Reply
      1. re: duckdown
        spech Oct 11, 2010 11:15 AM

        I totally agree. I'm still looking for alternatives...

      2. Kagemusha Oct 9, 2010 06:32 AM

        I'm guessing brined. Bought the clan turkey there yesterday in Mississauga and saw 'em racked up in the BBQ "green room" ready for the spit. They were obviously draining upright en masse.

        1. jayt90 Oct 9, 2010 10:25 AM

          I don't think they brine them, as that would be extra labor and time. The label indicates rub ingredients, and it might be from a regular supplier like McCormack's.
          They use a combination roaster/steamer which you can see over the counter. I think it is a Waring, and I've seen it used at Sobey's. The chickens are on shelves, and do not rotate.
          If you are curious, ask the staff at the counter when the chickens are being packaged. I doubt if they will talk about the brand of spicing, but they'll give you basic information. I suspect the bursts of steam are the key to fast roasting, just like bakers using partial steam for baguettes.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jayt90
            monku Oct 9, 2010 11:01 AM

            They're brined.
            You can almost taste the sweetness from the sugar.
            Nutrtional information for a 3 oz. serving (85 grams) there is .5 gram of sugar.

            1. re: monku
              jayt90 Oct 9, 2010 11:25 AM

              Most rubs contain sugar and salt. To find out they're brined, you'd have to ask someone who works in the area.

              1. re: jayt90
                monku Oct 9, 2010 11:38 AM

                A quick search, but I will verify in more detail.

                "Berkeley A Chicken Worth Its Salt
                Re: your piece on Costco's rotisserie chicken ("BayWrap," March 17). After observing many of these birds going through the checkout stands at my nearest Costco (El Cerrito), I purchased one. True, it was the most moist chicken I'd ever had. How moist was it? It was "strange" moist to me. It tasted all right -
                the salty taste was throughout the breast meat, but the texture was the strange part. I thought they had either brined the bird for too many days (6, 000 chickens a week soaking in brining solution), or they had injected it with a salt solution.
                On my next visit I asked the young man who was working the rotisserie chickens whether Costco injected the birds with salt water. He said yes. Whether they actually do that or not I don't know. But from what I understand, it's impossible to thoroughly penetrate the thick breast meat with salt no matter how much salt one rubs on the skin. So I found it interesting to read that Costco's president said, "... it's just some salt." Curious.
                Sally Moore
                Berkeley Great Camps Nostalgia"

                1. re: monku
                  EWSflash Oct 9, 2010 03:44 PM

                  Maybe they brine them in a vacuum chamber. Seems draconian, but I think I know what Monku means about "strange moist", I've thought that too. And last time I ate it my fingers and feet swelled up, and I'm NOT sensitive to sodium at all. They're really, really full of some kind of sodium, however they do it. Sometimes they're tender almost to the point of being mushy.

          2. The Professor Oct 9, 2010 03:52 PM

            I'm quite sure they are brined...most supermarket roasted chickens do seem to be, and some are better than others. The brine is of course mostly salt, with some seasonings or essence thereof...and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was some phosphate in the brining broth as well.

            I would agree that the ones from Costco (at least the Costco near my home) are quite good. Not ANYWHERE near as good as home made, but in a pinch, they are fine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Professor
              ipsedixit Oct 9, 2010 04:00 PM

              I believe all supermarket chickens (be they Costco or otherwise) are brined.

            2. b
              baseballfan Oct 9, 2010 04:30 PM

              I happened to be at a Costco in Northern CA yesterday and overheard a gentleman ask the worker manning the rotisserie if the chickens were brined. The worker replied that they are injected but he did not know with what. He also said that they were done off site and arrived at the store ready for the rotissserie. Not sure if this is different in Canada.

              3 Replies
              1. re: baseballfan
                Pigurd Oct 9, 2010 11:19 PM

                the texture tastes like brined chicken, so i assume it is brined.

                1. re: baseballfan
                  jayt90 Oct 10, 2010 01:00 PM

                  I asked a worker in the chicken area today, and she confirmed the above: A brine pack is injected into the breast area at the packing plant. All the workers do on site is put the chickens in the oven; no rub is applied.
                  You can look at the ingredient list to see what is in the injected liquid.

                  1. re: baseballfan
                    fcblue Sep 14, 2012 09:34 AM

                    Costco in Northern Cal buys their chickens from Foster Farms and are Pre-Seasoned at the plant and the seasoning is Top Secret! They do inject chickens with a simple brine and it also makes them bigger! Its a Topical Seasoning Ingredients, Maltodextrin, partially hydrogenated soybean and or cottonseed oil, spices, rice flour, tapioca dextrin, salt, modified food starch, flavorings..! There you go..

                  2. RetiredChef Sep 14, 2012 10:25 AM

                    Salt, lots of it and sugar, along with injecting the birds with extra fat(oil) but it's mostly the extra salt. All of the salt lovers I know like Costco chickens while those who don't love salt find them just meh or worse, way too salty.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: RetiredChef
                      fcblue Sep 14, 2012 03:03 PM

                      Believe it or not I still buy one every once in a while...! Fast dinner! I guess 2 million other customers buy them! That's in 2011 wish I had those sales... Thanks for your reply..

                      1. re: fcblue
                        RetiredChef Sep 15, 2012 11:28 AM

                        And McDonalds has billions and billions served on the same concept - fat and salt sell.

                      2. re: RetiredChef
                        cstr Sep 15, 2012 05:19 AM

                        their chicks are brined in a salt/sugar solution, that's brining, it allows the chicks to be juicy and flavorful.

                      3. Jpan99 Sep 15, 2012 05:37 AM

                        It's fat, fat, fat. I tried one once because a friend raved about them. I immediately noticed how much fat there was on the chicken, more than on any I had ever roasted. Fat is flavor. It was one greasy chicken.

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