Trussing a chicken is the process of tying up a chicken before roasting, grilling, or any other method of cooking a whole chicken. Learning how to Truss a Chicken is necessary to get your chicken done evenly and to prevent the bird from drying out.
Once you get the hang of trussing, you will be able to use this method for turkey, cornish hen, duck, and other fowl. Trussing is especially useful if you are making a rotisserie chicken.
You will learn the full trussing method and also an easy way to tie up chicken legs and tuck the wings. You’ll also find out how to truss a chicken without kitchen twine.
Why Is Trussing Important
- The roasted chicken will cook evenly. The chicken breasts are more lean and delicate. The leg quarters (thighs and legs) are fattier. With this makeup and the position of the breasts at the top of the bird, you are at risk of the breasts drying out and getting done much faster than the leg quarters.
- Tying up the legs and the wings, especially the wing tips, prevents them from drying out and over-browning during cooking.
- Almost entirely closing the caving of the chicken by tying the legs, prevents air from circulating inside the cavity which will result in juicier meat.
- A trussed chicken is so much easier to handle. If your recipe calls for transferring your chicken to and from a grill, smoker, roaster, skillet or resting surface. you will really appreciate having a compact bird to handle. It is also crucial if you are making a rotisserie chicken.
How to Tie a Chicken
Standard Trussing Steps
- Cut a long piece of kitchen string (about 3 feet). I have used this kitchen string for many uses and love it!
- Place the chicken on a work surface, with the legs pointing away from you. Slide the middle of the string underneath the tail and back. Bring both ends up and over the legs, then crisscross the string between the legs and wrap it around the foot end. Pull the string tight until the legs are up and tight to the body.
- Pull the string down to the work surface and over the top of the wings. Flip the chicken over, pulling the string over the top. Wind the string three times around itself and, with the string under the neck, pull it very tight. Tie a knot in the string and cut off excess.
- Turn the chicken over, tuck the wing tips down behind the body and push the breast tip into the cavity. Your chicken should now be nice and compact.
While completely trussing the chicken doesn't take long, sometime a simpler method is all that is needed. These following steps will give you good results.
- Cut a piece of butchers twine 1 foot long. Holding both ends of the string, place the string between the tail and the foot end of the legs. Bring both ends up and over the legs, then down and crisscross the string between the legs. Pull the string tight and and wrap it around the foot ends. Tie a knot in the string. Cut off any extra string.
- Tuck wing tips underneath the body and the rest of the wing. Your chicken will be more compact, but not as firm as a complete truss.
Tying Chicken Legs Without String
- In the center of the excess skin around the cavity of the chicken, cut a slit that will be big enough to fit both foot ends of the legs.
- Cross the legs and put them inside the slit you just made.