Trussing a chicken can be a daunting yet one of the most important aspects of preparing a roasted chicken. Once you’ve mastered the technique, however, it makes the whole experience a seemingly easy and tasty one. A properly trussed chicken ensures an even cook throughout the whole bird while making it a beautiful centerpiece for the dinner table. And after you’ve learned how to carve a chicken I guarantee you’ll be roasting chickens every chance you get.
When it comes to trussing a chicken there seem to be two philosophies: classic/traditional vs modern. The traditional or classic way to truss a chicken makes for that picturesque bird you see gracing the covers of food magazines around this time of year. The problem I found with this technique is that it doesn’t produce the best tasting chicken. As you can see, the entire bird is compacted into itself. Because of this tight trussing, certain parts of the legs and thighs are not as exposed to the oven heat. The breasts are more likely to overcook before those internal thighs pieces cook, making the end product less tasty as a whole. And you are roasting a whole chicken, after all— Why waste all of that precious time and delicious meat on a trussing issue? Have no fear: I have a better approach! One that cooks every part of the bird evenly and gives you a magazine-worthy golden chicken to serve to your family and friends.
- Start with the chicken’s legs pointed toward you with the breasts up, and place a 4′ length of kitchen string underneath his back. (This may seem like a lot of string, but it’s better to work with a lot of length and trim at the end, than find you’re coming up short.)
2. Bring the string straight up and over his wings (into his “armpits”).
3. Cross the string in front and back down, pulling the neck skin down as you do so. This step keeps that skin from riding up during the roasting process, protecting the top of the breasts so they don’t dry out.
4. Bring the strings down (after the crisscross around the neck), over the wings (to keep them secure), over each drumstick, and cross the string again around the keel bone. Pull it and hold it tight before moving to the next step.
5. Loop each string under the respective leg and over the top, pulling tight enough to draw the legs outwards.
6. Flip the chicken over and tie a triple knot.
Voila! The perfectly trussed chicken ready to be roasted! Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time. It will get easier with each bird. And think of all that yummy chicken you can practice on!