The Costco Rotisserie Chicken Tip For Getting Only The Meat You Want

Costco definitely caters to big families and small businesses, but that doesn't mean that there isn't space for small households and single folks to get in on the bargains. It seems like everything is bigger at Costco, from 7-pound tubs of Nutella to 4-gallon buckets of mayonnaise, but there are also plenty of items that make a $60 membership worth it for apartment-sized shoppers, including their famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens. While just one chicken can make several different meals for the week, which is perfect for meal preppers, if you can't commit to a whole chicken there's an easy hack: ask someone on duty at the deli to cut a chicken in half or quarters and only buy what you'll eat.

The key to getting the attention of someone working at a Costco deli is to ask for help when things aren't too busy. When the chicken bell rings in the deli department, signaling that a new batch of chickens are ready, there can be a bit of a frenzy as shoppers rush to scoop up fresh birds, especially on weekends. If you can catch the staff after the grabbing is over, most of the time they'll be happy to chop a chicken in half for you.

Shop strategically

There is a lot of lore surrounding Costco's best-selling rotisserie chickens, which have stayed at the same price since 2009. The price has stayed low because Costco views them as a "loss leader," which means they're a product that gets shoppers in the door where they'll likely stock up on other items with better profit margins, according to Vox. Much like their famed $1.50 hot dogs, the chickens have a devoted following. The company sells so many that they even bought their own chicken farm and processing plant in 2019, where they can process as many as 100 million birds a year.

The good news is that even though the chickens are in high demand, they're also always available. In fact, company policy requires that the chickens be replenished every two hours, so if you hit it right — or just shop around for an hour or so until you hear the deli bell ring — you'll probably be able to get your hands on the hot commodities. If you're hoping to get your chicken chopped in half or quarters, however, you'll stand a much better chance of getting the deli's attention if you shop on a weekday when there aren't huge crowds.

Split a chicken with a friend

If you've been to Costco on a weekend, you already know that it's the worst time to shop (unless you're going for the free samples). Saturdays and Sundays are chaotic at the warehouse giant, because everyone has the day off and the same idea — head to Costco to stock up for the week. If you can sneak out to shop on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., you'll have a much easier time navigating the aisles and getting a little special attention from the staff.

Reddit users claiming to be Costco butchers have said that there's a policy that they can't make any custom cuts for their meats, but there are others who say they're happy to accommodate special requests as long as it's not too busy, and it's unclear if there's any policy for the deli. It stands to reason that the butchers don't make smaller cuts because, as a bulk grocery store, they won't sell the remaining smaller portions of meat, so one way to give your Costco employee a little incentive to portion a chicken is to shop with a friend and split it into two containers so that all the chicken still gets sold. Plus, if you shop with a friend you can split other products and get the discount benefits of other bulk deals just like big families do, which will go a long way toward justifying the price of a membership.