Trader Joe’s Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken

Trader Joe's Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken

I know, how can this taste good, right? But it does. It really does.

I should develop a special Star of Excellence to award for the best products at Trader Joe’s. I won’t because, you know, eh – life, but if I did I would not hesitate to award it to Trader Joe’s Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken.

How did they do this?! It’s astounding – there it is, a big hunk of cold chicken sitting in a little cheap, plastic bin sealed by a flimsy bit of plastic, basting in a dubious looking dark fluid, packaged with an actual twig, sitting in the refrigerated section between shapeless strips of sliced turkey and uninspiring lasagnas. How could this thing, this ordinary thing, be very good? Maybe it could be not bad, maybe it could even be decent, but there’s no way it’s going to be exceptional, right?

Goddamit people! This is what I’m tell you – it is exceptional. I don’t know how the mighty food wizards at TJ’s did it again, but they did it again. They took a cheap chunk of sub $5.00 chicken, the same thing you’ve been sold a 1,000 literal times – at grocery stores, in restuarants, in fast food bags, frozen, grilled, broiled, boiled, cubed, chopped and pathetically garnished in a myriad ways. An no one has ever done it right. No one has cared enough to do it right. No CEO has ever thundered, “You know that chicken with the low profit margin, the one people will buy regardless? I want you to work around the clock until it is goddamn delicious!”

TJ is smashing through this wall of mediocre chicken with his own two bare fists, showering the promised land beyond with wobbly breasts. “NOOOOO MOOOOOORE!” he screams, hurling his besprigged packages to the benighted populous. “HAVE GOOOOOOD CHIIIIIIIIICKEN!”

Look, let’s really get into this.

This chicken, a hefty 12 oz breast, is redolent of fragrant rosemary and lightly infused with the delicious tang of a balsamic vinegar marinade. The basic nature of it’s ingredients only serves to magnifies Trader Joe’s own glory and to further rebuke everyone else in the world. This is an easy recipe guys! Everyone could be doing this!

Balsamic vinegar and rosemary have a long history of working together with chicken, and for good reason. Here they bring a nice, considered touch to the dish, balanced in every dimension – neither too acidic or too musty, too watery or too weak. The sauce is so good you’ll be tempted to lap it up after – and it makes the marinated chicken a taste sensation whether it’s eaten cold and dripping in it’s own juices, or hot and sweaty. Oh, and by the way, that twig in there? Well, as you probably guessed, that’s an actual spring of rosemary packaged in for good measure. The country-side notes of the rosemary sing along with the tasty tang of the balsamic in this very low fat, very healthy dish. Like Trader Joe’s Stuffed Red Peppers, I’m drawn back to it time and time again.

In other words, if you’re stuck in a bad chicken rut, you can’t go wrong with this chunk of clucker.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yeah, I like this one.

Would I Buy It Again: Weekly.

Final Synopsis: Proof that incredible eats can be found for under $5.00 in a cheap plastic tray.

Trader Joe's Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken - Nutritional Facts

Trader Joe’s Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken – Nutritional Facts

13 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Grilled Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Chicken”

  1. Anonymous says:

    So your review on this was like over the top I have to try this. There were two left at TJs this weekend so I thought that’s a good sign people are buying it. But – it looked strange in the container, but I looked beyond that because well I read what you wrote. I do not eat much meat and was actually in the mood for chicken, so I opened it and there were almost 5 pieces which I thought was a good deal for the price. I heated and well yuck. There was no fragrant smell of rosemary or much sauce. I threw the piece I was eating out and then returned the remaining to TJS yesterday for a refund. $5.99 was not going in my garbage. I may have got a bad batch or maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten chicken in awhile, but this is on my not to buy again list.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had it last night and the texture of it is way off. Hard to explain, but not a normal chicken texture at all, so it is off-putting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I know that this was great when the original post was made, but the recipie has changed. What used to be the greatest chicken has become crap. I complained to TJ’s and got the standard reply that they would pass along the complaint to the appropriate department.

    Too bad that they had to screw this up.

  3. Amir says:

    I dunno, we’ve been buying this crap for years, and it’s always been good.

    Wait, did I say crap? I meant – this great piece of chicken….

  4. Bob says:

    I have a habit of dumpster diving, and Trader Joe’s a great place to do so. They throw so much out and I find more than I can eat myself, thankfully I have dogs. I was pretty sure I found a package of this recently, and when my girlfriend brought it to me I noticed it had “expired” in November of 2012. I use quotes as anyone who knows something about food knows no one can predict an expiration date for food, there are only vague guidelines.

    So anyways, I needed some chicken for my lentils, and figured this would be at best dog food, or would need to go straight into the trash. But I am pretty sure I once ate this months and months after the expiration date, so I opened it and smelled it, and sure enough, smelled exactly the same as always. Then I poked it with the fork, and yep, pretty much exactly how it should feel. So of course I had to taste it. 18 months past expiration date, tasted about the same. Same taste, almost the exact same consistency, and since I needed some chicken……

    This is far from the first time I’ve done this, and I can usually tell within a bite whether something is really bad or just a bit off. This didn’t even taste a bit off. I didn’t even get a tiny bit of stomach cramps. Full package eaten, with rice and lentils, over two meals. It has been about 12 hours since the first batch, an hour since the second.

    Although I once had some pre packaged garlic bread that was two years old, and some hermetically sealed salmon that was 10 years old, this was possibly the oldest piece of meat I have eaten that was only in the fridge. This fridge may have been off for a few days as well, this was Hurricane Sandy time.

    Maybe this would be a good idea for a blog, each week you eat some seriously out of date food and you can record the results.

    • While I certainly support dumpster diving, I’m not planning on starting up an expired food review blog anytime soon.

      It actually sounds like something you might be uniquely suited to do! It seems like the reviews might run a narrow range though – “This was good – other than being a little expired.” Or “No good – it was totally expired. Really bad stomach cramps.”

      At any rate, let me know if you do start that blog and maybe we can form a blog network or something.

      (P.s. I’m worried for your health. Please be careful with decade old fish.)

    • cheryl says:

      Was this in YOUR fridge for TWO years or did you just buy it at TJS and notice the date was off? I’m a bit confused A. if you are leaving food in your fridge for two years, ah that is just gross. B. If you bought if from TJs and they still had it on their shelves since 2012 well then that is a bit hard to believe. They move this stuff and I worked in Super Target years ago in the deli dept and nightly anything that was going to expire that day got thrown out.

      Now on to my biggest concern. My cousin did the McDonald’s cheeseburger experiment. Left it out for days to see how it would rot. Well 18 days later it didn’t rot and it didn’t smell but she did not eat it, even though she was posting on FB and we all asked her to.

      So if this chicken from TJs is still good 2 years later and you ate it and did not get sick, what in the world is in it to preserve it that long. Chicken is one meat that goes bad immediately in my world.

      Are you sure you didn’t just pick it up and couldn’t see the date clearly?

      And Blog Author (how do I not know your name and I read your blog all the time) please don’t add expired food to your blog.

      • Bob says:

        I am pretty sure this has been in my fridge for a couple years, though I had thought I had dumpstered a package of this recently. Either I was wrong, I ate it already, or it’s hiding in another spot in that fridge.

        Let me try and quickly explain. I have a fridge I use for daily food, one which is where I currently live. I have an apartment next door which I do not go to often, but have a fridge there with mostly frozen food and a few condiments. But my change in living situation happened abruptly a couple years ago, and found myself in a nicer place so I just started staying there, and my business picked up, so I had little free time. Cleaning out an old fridge in a place where I don’t go too often is not a priority, especially since I cleared out all the things that could rot or smell.

        So when I dumpster I do move some things up there if I get too many of a certain thing, until I can feed it to my dogs. I should 40 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese from Duane Reade last year, which was taking up a good portion of the fridge, and which I am also still eating. One out of every 10 packages had some mold in it, the rest are not much worse off than when it was fresh.

        This package is most likely from when I relocated suddenly, they are small thin packages that are easily lost in the back of a large fridge. The year on it was clearly 2012, November to be exact. I did not misread the label.

        I often wonder what kind of preservatives are in things that allow food to last this long, but it’s not shocking at all anymore to me. Though this one did push the limits a bit. I am guessing the vinegar is the thing that kept it fresh for so long. Just so you know, other cultures have all sorts of ways of keeping food fresh for long periods of times, especially meat. Most Americans wouldn’t eat a steak that was cooked that didn’t make it into the fridge the night before, in other places, they don’t always have a fridge so leaving meat out for a few days is not uncommon.

        I am sure an 18 day old McDonald’s burger would taste about the same, there really is little in their food that would ever go bad.

  5. Cindy says:

    OK I get some people like them and some don’t but how did you eat the chicken over pasta, over a salad, was looking for ideas..

  6. Mara G. says:

    We liked this too, very much, but I’m bummed they didn’t decide to use free-range chicken in it.

  7. […] protein of your choice, I used Trader Joe’s Balsamic Rosemary Grilled Chicken, which is probably the best thing […]

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