The $5 Costco Buy That Inspired Samin Nosrat’s Most Famous Recipe

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

When Samin Nosrat’s cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (and her Netflix series of the same name) first came out, the recipe heard ’round the world was her ingenious Buttermilk Chicken. After watching Samin joyfully cook her way through a simple-yet-complex chicken tutorial, fans of the show and book started making buttermilk marinated chicken on repeat. Soon enough, gorgeous images of golden-brown roasted chickens started taking over our Instagram feeds as well.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

When Kitchn made Samin’s book our very first Cookbook Club pick, we weren’t surprised to find that the chicken was one of the most popular recipes among our readers too. As our Features Director, Ariel Knutson, says, “It’s so easy! All you need is chicken, buttermilk, and (good) kosher salt to make the best damn roast chicken of your life.”

This week, we learned some of the backstory behind Samin’s most famous recipe via Twitter and had to share.

“I’ve been obsessed with rotisserie chicken for basically my entire life. Started with grocery store/Costco chickens as a kid, then as a cook loved working the spit over a wood fire, which is where I made my first buttermilk chicken!” Samin tweeted in response to “The Convenient Truth of Rotisserie Chicken,” a piece by Cathy Erway for TASTE.

Erway’s piece is a brilliant deep dive in to the history and backstory of seemingly omnipresent grocery store rotisserie chickens — a beloved shortcut of many home cooks around the country — and gives significant real estate to Costco’s $4.99 version, which is flagged as “illogically cheap and ecologically dubious.”

In her tweet, Samin gives a nod to Costco’s rotisserie chickens. (It’s not the first time she’s admitted to loving a Costco favorite either — not too long ago, she revealed that she loved Kirkland Signature olive oil!) Then we learn via the same tweet that when she became a professional chef she was responsible for working the spit over a wood fire (our guess is at Chez Panisse!), where she made her very first buttermilk chicken. Given the popularity of her perfectly roasted chicken, we’re thrilled to learn the recipe’s humble origins.

Samin is thoughtful to point out the ethics of cheap meat — the nuance of which should not be overlooked or understated. For more info, read the full piece on TASTE here.