15 Secrets of the $4.99 Costco Rotisserie Chicken
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

15 Secrets of the $4.99 Costco Rotisserie Chicken

Do you know all the facts about this much-loved Costco product?
15 Secrets of the $4.99 Costco Rotisserie Chicken
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

For many loyal Costco members, a visit to the big-box store isn’t complete without purchasing its famous rotisserie chicken (and perhaps a visit to the food court). At just $4.99 per bird, the deal is nearly impossible to beat — and it tastes as nice as the price. The cult-favorite chicken is large, affordable and convenient for feeding the family (or yourself) in a pinch. Though the price is widely known, there are some things about Costco’s popular poultry that you might not know.

It weighs 3 pounds

It weighs 3 pounds
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For just $4.99 you get a fully cooked and seasoned, ready-to-eat 3-pound bird.

Its unit price is $1.67 per pound

Its unit price is $1.67 per pound
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The national cost of chicken breast averages $3 per pound, but one entire pre-cooked chicken from Costco is just $4.99, which breaks down to $1.67 per pound.

Costco loses money by selling it on the cheap

Costco loses money by selling it on the cheap
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Costco loses an estimated 30 to 40 million dollars a year by sticking to a $4.99 price point. But the low-cost meal keeps members happy and foot traffic high.

There’s a reason it’s so inexpensive

There’s a reason it’s so inexpensive
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There’s a slight chance that you’ll make the trek to Costco only to buy the chicken, but can you make it to the register without grabbing other items first? Costco might be losing money on its rotisserie chicken, but the product gives customers an incentive to come in and, in turn, stimulates them to buy more profitable items on the way out. This type of product is what’s called a “loss leader.”

It’s shipped to Costco pre-seasoned

It’s shipped to Costco pre-seasoned
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This is common with almost all supermarket rotisserie chickens, which are shipped from a supplier pre-seasoned with special spice blends and ready to put on the spit to cook.

It’s gluten free

It’s gluten free
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Some supermarket chickens contain gluten in seasonings and marinades. Costco avoids using anything that contains gluten in its rotisserie birds.

It has its own fan page

It has its own fan page
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Fans of the Costco rotisserie post recipes and share ideas on how to use the chicken on a dedicated Facebook page with about 17,000 followers.

It’s injected with a saline solution

It’s injected with a saline solution
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Each Costco chicken is reportedly injected with a saltwater solution in order to brine it; that’s how the meat stays so juicy. It’s high in sodium, but don’t let that scare you away. Salt can actually be quite good for you.

It isn’t full of antibiotics

It isn’t full of antibiotics
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In 2015, Costco announced its plan to gradually eliminate the use of meats containing antibiotics. The company’s current policy is to limit their suppliers use of antibiotics to only the prevention, control and treatment of disease meaning your chicken wasn't pumped full of antibiotics to make it grow larger.

The ingredients aren’t as terrifying as you might think

The ingredients aren’t as terrifying as you might think
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Even Dr. Oz says this may be “one of the healthiest processed foods out there.” The ingredients listed on the label of a Costco rotisserie chicken are: whole chicken, water and seasonings (salt, sodium phosphate, modified food starch, potato dextrin, carrageenan, sugar, dextrose, spice extractives).

Some of those words might make you scratch your head, but they’re generally considered safe. The sodium phosphate is used to keep the meat moist and to prevent spoilage, and the carrageenan, which is derived from red seaweed, also helps prevent spoilage.

Each serving contains 138 calories

Each serving contains 138 calories
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For each 3.5-ounce serving of the Costco chicken, there are 138 calories, 347 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of fat and 17 grams of protein.

Costco sells 60 million chickens a year

Costco sells 60 million chickens a year
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Costco sells a mind-blowing 60 million chickens each year on average.

Costco sells 164,383 whole birds every day

Costco sells 164,383 whole birds every day
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If you do the math, Costco sells approximately 164,383 rotisserie chickens every day during the regular calendar year.

Costco grows and processes its own chickens

Costco grows and processes its own chickens
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Costco has built a massive campus of buildings in Nebraska to grow and process its chickens, and when it’s fully operational, it will be able to process 2 million chickens per week, or an astonishing 100 million per year. Shockingly, this will only account for one-third of the chicken (both raw and cooked) sold by Costco.

You can make multiple dinners with a single chicken

You can make multiple dinners with a single chicken
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While one single chicken for a week's worth of dinners might be a stretch, you can definitely make the most of this Costco chicken by planning your week and enjoying it in one of these brilliant ways to use up leftover chicken. It’s no wonder the rotisserie chicken made our list of 23 cult-favorite Costco foods you need to add to your cart.

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