Dish DeathMatch: Cockfight Edition
The rotisserie chicken is an easy grocery go-to. Chicken is one of the most popular foods in the United States, and rotisserie birds are eminently succulent and eminently edible.
So, it’s worthwhile to give those ubiquitous chickens a closer look. It’s time to consider a little cockfight, a battle of the birds, pitching a mega-grocer against a community grocer: big-chain Kroger versus Clintonville’s Weiland’s.
In one speedy afternoon sweep, rotisserie chickens were collected from both grocers, taken home, and plopped on a platter for the taste test.
The first subject for testing is the Kroger specimen: like all rotisserie poultry, the bird is bronzed, shiny and succulent. Priced at $4.99, it’s a cheap, healthy meal for two or three big eaters. It tastes like chicken.
That is, it tastes like chicken until you try the Weiland’s bird.
The Weiland’s bird is just as shiny. It looks a good deal more relaxed that the Kroger bird (see photo, the laid-back chicken on the left came from Weiland’s). At $7.99, the bird doesn’t seem to be much bigger… and it tastes like chicken; real honest chickeny-chicken.
Here’s where things get interesting. After tasting the Weiland’s bird, a bite of the Kroger bird doesn’t taste like chicken at all. The Kroger meat tastes like a disturbing mouthful of chemicals. (This observation is coming from someone who frequently settles for the Kroger bird.)
A quick look at the Kroger packaging offers some clues about the flavors. Listed ingredients include sodium phosphate, malic acid*, and a host of other un-pronounceables. Turns out, those extra ingredients taste exactly like they look: chemically.
Dish Deathmatch/Cockfight Edition: the victory goes to Weiland’s. The real clucks are worth the extra bucks.
To do your own taste test, you can score a Kroger chicken at any of its Columbus locations. Weiland’s Gourmet Market can be found at 3600 Indianola Avenue. It’s open weekdays from 10am until 7:30pm. Saturdays: 9am until 7pm, and Sundays: 11am until 5pm.
*Random food trivia: the name for the persistently sour malic acid has no relationship to the term “malice”. Instead, the acid is named for its natural occurrence in apples, for which the Latin term is “malum”.