December 7, 2023


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Don’t Worry About Costco Rotisserie Chicken’s 2-Hour Shelf Life

3 min read

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Cher’s new gelato brand, Cherlato.

There’s such an air of intrigue surrounding Costco’s stalwart rotisserie chicken that any new discovery about (or charge against) it seemingly riles the entire United States of America. Produced en masse and sold at a loss, we also stay awake wondering, sometimes, how the retailer pulls it off. The latest development to weasel its way into the news cycle: The golden birds allegedly boast a shelf life of a mere two hours. Don’t panic! Seriously! This is counterintuitively a good thing, experts say, when read with respect to good ole’ context. We love context.

Also this week, Bad Bunny chose none other than Carbone, of New York rigatoni fame, as the locale of his latest music video. Some restaurants in California are docking customers who throw up at bottomless brunch by charging a vom fee—definitely fair, but I also feel a pang of sorrow for that one brunch-goer who thought they could house just one more mimosa before their gag reflex suggested otherwise. Lastly, people are “theorizing” that Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube account is run by Gen Z, given its slangy vernacular. Scandalous!

Read more about Costco rotisserie chicken and other food news around the internet below.

She’s booked, she’s busy, she’s elusive: She’s Costco’s famed $4.99 rotisserie chicken, which apparently sits on shelves for only two hours at a time—in other words, only has a “shelf life” of two hours. According to David and Susan Schwartz, a couple who have spent seven (!) years researching the wholesale retailer, Costco swaps the incumbent chickens with new ones after two hours because they don’t “taste as good” after that point, the Costco megafans recently told Insider. The demoted chicken gets repurposed in other dishes like soups and salads. An hours-long shelf life may sound dicey, but the Schwartzes say it’s a thoughtful practice: “They do the right thing when no one’s looking,” Susan said. (Costco didn’t respond to Insider’s ask for comment.) I applaud Costco’s diligent commitment to tasty poultry, but I’m a little skeptical of how effective this cycle is. Why do some chickens on the shelves still taste soapy? Shouldn’t the preservative-laden chicken theoretically stay fresh for days, even? Should the shelf life be one hour? Costco’s rotisserie chicken remains one of the most enigmatic foods of our time. 3.9/5 delicious for the mystique. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

It’s well-known that celebrities love Carbone, the New York (and Miami, and Dallas, and Las Vegas) hot spot that made rigatoni alla vodka a way of life. It’s also known that world-dominating trap and reggaeton artist Bad Bunny is a vocal Carbone fan, as he references so eloquently in his verse on Coco Chanel, his 2023 collab with Eladio Carrión: “mucha pasta, Carbone, fettuccine.” His love for Carbone was made all the more evident in his recent music video for Monaco, fresh off his Friday album drop, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana. Opening with a moody skyline shot of a fictionalized New York City where both the Twin Towers and the One World Trade Center feature prominently in the skyline, the video then leads us through the infamous restaurant itself. Bad Bunny—Don Benito, if you will—is welcomed with open arms, and debuts his freshly shaven head. Platters of saucy pasta and sloshing glasses of wine abound. As the self-appointed staff Bad Bunny correspondent, I have a few questions: Is Benito a fan of the spicy rigatoni, or does he take the road less traveled by? Can the new album live up to the magic of his previous knockout, Un Verano Sin Ti? Will I ever get a Carbone reservation? 3.5/5 delicious. —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor

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