Why You Should Always Buy Rotisserie Chicken Last At The Grocery Store

A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store can be a great time saver that's delicious and affordable. Odds are it'll be tender and flavorful, and they often ring in under $10, per NPR. Grocery store chickens are really convenient on nights when you need a quick meal and don't have time to cook a main dish. They're also a fantastic option to use when a dish calls for shredded chicken, like this recipe for easy baked nachos or a lemony chicken orzo soup recipe.

Making a proper rotisserie chicken at home is tough, so the convenience of being able to buy one at the store is remarkably helpful. But when doing so, what are some safety measures that you should take into account? After all, you're purchasing something that's already been cooked and is sitting in a section of the store. Here's some sound advice that could help you enjoy that rotisserie chicken purchase to the max.

Get your other items first

If you're walking into the grocery store with a long list that includes a rotisserie chicken, get your other ingredients first. According to Fox Los Angeles, there is a food safety "danger zone" you could enter when purchasing a pre-cooked chicken. Birds that have been sitting out can become unsafe to eat if their temperature is below 140 degrees Fahrenheit because bacteria can grow. It's best to have the chicken be the last thing you put in your basket, so it stays hot. Many chickens at the store will have labels explaining when they came off the rotisserie.

You also want to make sure you choose the hotter ones, according to food safety consultant Jeff Nelken (via Fox Los Angeles). These chickens have been receiving the most heat. Once you buy the chicken, you don't want to leave it out for too long, so it should be consumed or refrigerated within two hours (one hour if it's a hot day). "The Rachael Ray Show" website notes that if you want a juicy chicken you should pick the heaviest one as its juices haven't evaporated yet. According to Today, when you do prepare to eat, if the meat looks white, it's a sign the chicken was cooked fully, but pink areas could be undercooked. Use these tips when shopping for a cooked chicken to help make sure your meal will be tasty and safe to enjoy.