A consistent, inexpensive comfort food, rotisserie chicken continues to have a strong appeal for diners and chefs alike.
According to the National Chicken Council, rotisserie chickens sold this year are expected to approach 900 million. The Council estimates that 200 million of those birds will be sold at foodservice outlets; the rest at retail.
To keep diners interested, chefs are elevating the slow-roasted poultry by preparing it with bold flavors and serving it with unique side dishes and dipping sauces.
“As we look at menu trends in general, we realize that we need to keep flavors seasonal and also bring bolder flavors to our guests to meet the varying adventurous palates that demand unique flavors,” said Tony Fialho, the new director of culinary innovation at Golden, Colo.-based Boston Market.
To that end, early in the summer Boston Market launched Bourbon Bacon Rotisserie Chicken with creamy Parmesan corn and roasted garlic mixed greens. For fall, the chicken chain is now offering a new Roasted Garlic and Herb Rotisserie Chicken paired with seasonal sides of cinnamon apple streusel and loaded roasted potatoes.
“We’re already hard at work in developing our next must-have flavors, especially those that are influenced by vibrant, globally-inspired recipes, to elevate the guest dining experience,” Fialho said.
Doughbird Pizza and Rotisserie in Phoenix keeps the prep of its slow-roasted free-range rotisserie chickens classic, but gets creative with accompanying sauces.
“The combination of succulent roasted chicken with hearty sides and creative hand-stretched pizzas was inspired by some of my favorite childhood memories of my family gathered around the table,” said Sam Fox, Doughbird’s founder. “I wanted to enhance those family favorites by adding a variety of house-made sauces, adding a kick of flavor to every last bite.”
Doughbird diners can order a half or whole bird with one side and a choice of sauce. Among the boldly flavored house-made sauces are horseradish crème fraîche, sweet pineapple teriyaki, umami sauce (a creamy sauce made with yuzu, soy, garlic, Parmesan cheese and red miso), and the most-popular, jalapeño pesto, a traditional basil Parmesan pesto with the addition of fresh chiles. Sides skew more toward the simple, with choices including sautéed broccoli, cauliflower mash, mac & cheese and mashed potatoes.
Other dishes at Doughbird that feature its rotisserie chickens include a Rotisserie Chicken Pot Roast — served with braised heirloom carrot, roasted onion, corn on the cob and cremini mushrooms with chicken jus over whipped potatoes — and Thai Chicken Curry. Additionally, new Rotisserie Chicken Pot Stickers are set to debut this Fall.
Pie Tap Pizza Workshops and Bar in Dallas offers diners a choice of sides and sauces to go with its half or whole rotisserie chickens that are similar to those at Doughbird. For example, it offers a jalapeño pesto, a horseradish crema and bourbon barbecue sauce, as well as cauliflower mash and boccolini with mushrooms.
The rotisserie inspired two other menu items at Pie Tap: A pizza topped with rotisserie chicken, bourbon barbecue sauce, bacon, red onion, pepperoncini, cilantro and smoked mozzarella; and a sandwich made with rotisserie chicken, avocado, bacon, pesto mayonnaise, tomato and fontina served between slices of sourdough.
Brider in Denver offers half or whole herb-rubbed and brined rotisserie chickens cooked in a Rotisol from France in a choice of four styles, including fried rice with egg, crispy garlic and ginger, sesame and kimchi; and madras curry, jasmine rice, coconut and naan.
Inspired by a Thai street food staple she grew up eating, chef and veteran restauranteur Sheree Sarabhaya opened Kai Yang, a new Thai Rotisserie Chicken concept in Montclair, N.J.
Her signature dish is the kai yang (which translates as “grilled chicken”) platter. To make the dish, Sarabhaya marinates chicken overnight with a sauce that contains Maggi (similar to soy sauce), sugar, fish sauce and oyster sauce, then stuffs and rubs it with a mixture of ginger, lemon grass, cilantro, garlic and black pepper, before roasting. Platters are served with sweet chile and tamarind dipping sauces, papaya salad and sticky rice and a choice of either laab kai (spicy minced chicken), moo ping (spicy grilled pork skewers) or nuea yang (spicy sliced grilled beef).
“Our cooking process is fairly simple but precise and carefully executed,” Sarabhaya said. “The flavors used play well with the dipping sauces that accompany the dish.”