© Fredrika Stjärne

This go-to supermarket staple might be a weeknight lifesaver, but don't overlook it for your party planning needs (especially when it's too hot to turn on the oven.)

Caroline Schnapp
August 23, 2018

Summer isn’t technically over for a few more weeks (thankfully!), so you’ve still got plenty of time to squeeze in a few last warm-weather parties. If you haven’t planned anything for Labor Day weekend yet, don’t worry—we’ve got your back, even if you don’t have a grill (or a backyard).

If you’re only vision of a Labor Day party consists of grilling burgers and hot dogs out in your spacious backyard, cold beer in hand, we’ve got news for you. Yes, your ideal party sounds pretty nice—luxurious even—but it’s not the only way. If you’re like us, apartment-dwelling in a big city, chances are the closest you’re going to get to a backyard is a window, or if you’re especially lucky, a stoop.

Enter your entertaining secret weapon: a rotisserie chicken. It’s widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores, it’s flavorful, always fully cooked, and lends itself to all kinds of summer party-ready dishes, from Chicken Burritos and Rotisserie Chicken Pesto Pasta, to Roast Chicken Panzanella and Chicken Salad with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Honey-Mustard Dressing.

Sure, they're a weeknight lifesaver, but you shouldn't overlook them when you're planning a party—they're versatile, flavorful and feed a crowd. Good at room temperature, they also relieve you from having to turn on your oven if you're trying to keep things cool with a bunch of people coming over.

Whether you're eating in the comfort of your air-conditioned apartment, or bringing your chicken dish out into the open air for a picnic (see here for picnic recipes that are easy to clean up), you won't be disappointed.

If picking up a rotisserie chicken from your supermarket and transforming it into another dish requires more effort or time than you planned for your laid-back party afternoon, you've got options. If you live in New York, for one, you might order a bird from recently opened Poulet Sans Tête—a rotisserie chicken delivery service in the West Village offering chickens in multiple sizes with sides, sauces and desserts. (We'll take two. Delivered directly to our stoops.) 

Or maybe your entertaining style falls more on the opposite side of the spectrum—after all, sometimes you want to really impress your guests and get fancy in the kitchen—in which case you might consider stepping it up a notch with a donabe smoker, which promises the smokey flavors of a backyard barbecue, without requiring you to step outdoors. 

Consider yourself lucky: no matter what the long weekend weather forecast turns out to be, you can feel pretty good about what you’re serving.

See here for more recipes to try with your rotisserie chicken