How to Truss a Chicken

Truthfully I never truss poultry.

The theory behind trussing is that birds, in their natural, irregular shape, do not cook evenly: the slender, exposed limbs, the wings and the legs, cook faster than the breasts.  This is true, no doubt, but the legs, made of dark meat, need to reach a higher temperature than the breasts to be cooked through.  By leaving the legs un-trussed and exposed, they reach their higher finishing temperature at pretty much the same time as the breasts.  For this reason the only thing I do to prepare a bird for roasting is bend the wingtips and tuck them behind the bird’s back.

At any rate, Thomas Keller holds trussing as a fundamental skill, so I thought I’d show you how to truss a chicken for the sake of completeness.  It’s very simple.

Position the bird breasts up, with the tail away from you.  Bend the wing tips against their will and tuck them underneath the bird, as shown below.

A chicken, on its back

Tucking the wings under the chicken

A chicken with its wings tucked in

Cut off a piece of twine roughly three times the length of the bird.  Put the centre of the twine underneath the tail of the bird. Draw the two ends towards you and cross them so that they pull the ends of the drumsticks together, like so:

Looping twine around the chicken's tail and legs

Tuck the twine back under the ends of the drumsticks and pull it tight around the sides of the bird.

Pulling the twine tight when trussing a chicken

Tie the twine together under the stub of the neck.

A trussed chicken

That’s it.  You now have a nice, compact, uniform bird.