A few weeks ago, I hosted a rotisserie chicken taste test that Fiesta won, hands down.
In this week’s food section, we published that story, with a little more information about how these ready-to-eat chickens became so popular and why they are cheaper than an uncooked whole chicken.
On Wednesday morning, my inbox and voicemail at work started to blow up.
Here’s a sampling:
I just read your article on rotisserie chicken. Is there any reason you omitted Randalls? I feel that most articles lean toward HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods. Just wanted to express that there are other stores in Central Texas.
Read with interest your article on tastiest chickens this morning. So sorry you did not include Randall’s in your appearance, price, and taste test. They are the best ones and we have tried all the others except Fiesta. A couple of undercooked chickens from Central Market. We enjoy the Randall’s chicken’s on a weekly basis.
There was this voicemail that implied I have it out for Sam Walton:
I just read your article that you wrote about rotisserie chicken. It’s funny that I’ve eaten every one that you bought, but the best one in town is at Sam’s and you didn’t even bother to include it. You didn’t include Walmart either. Is that because you have a problem with Walmart and Sam’s? It’s just not right.
I love hearing from readers, even if they don’t like what they see in the food section, but I thought I’d address this question with a follow-up to explain what I’ve been telling each of these readers: I don’t have it out for Randalls, Sam’s Club and Walmart. I also missed Trader Joe’s and Wheatsville. I don’t think Aldi and Natural Grocers carry rotisserie chickens, but you can start to see where I’m going: There are a lot of stores in Austin, so many that it’s hard to get to them all in one day.
It took two hours to buy five of the chickens that we tested, and one of them came from a co-worker who has a Costco membership. I shop frequently enough at the Walmart near my house to know that it’s not a place where people pop in to buy a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work. I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership, but not because I have it out for Mr. Walton. I just don’t buy enough bulk items to require a club membership anywhere.
(To further persuade you that I don’t hate Walmart: I am a huge fan of Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark., whose admission is always free, thanks to Walmart. We’ve been nearly half a dozen times since it opened in 2011.)
However, I do wish I’d stopped by Randalls when I was at Central Market on Westgate on the day of the taste test. That reader is right: I don’t cover Randalls enough. I do tend to lean toward HEB, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts and the other stores in my coverage. I try to get to Randalls now and then, but they aren’t leaders in grocery innovation, they don’t carry many local food products and they aren’t rolling out new house brand products in response to the food trends that I cover, so shopping there doesn’t yield very many story ideas.
On a personal note, I find the prices higher at Randalls than other grocery stores, so I’m less inclined to do my own shopping there, but I will try to make more professional visits, including to try the rotisserie chicken that another caller swears is the best.
What other chickens did I miss? Have you tried the Fiesta chicken see we broadcast our taste test? I’ve love to hear your thoughts in the comments.