Picture of How to Truss a Chicken
Trussing a chicken (or any other bird) ensures that the legs and wings are firmly fastened against the body. This helps the chicken maintain its shape and cook evenly without drying out any of the extremities.

This basic form of trussing is dead easy, and takes less than a minute once you know how. The Instructable has enough pictures to make sure you nail it on your first try.

I used to think trussing was a bunch of fiddly nonsense, but once we started quick-roasting chickens in the oven it became an absolute necessity - the entire bird comes out perfectly in under 45 minutes when properly trussed. Check out the quick roast chicken Instructable, and use it as an excuse to give trussing a shot.
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Step 1: Gather tools and ingredients

Picture of Gather tools and ingredients
You'll need:

- one chicken (or other bird)
- a clean (and cleanable) surface to work on (I use the interior of the butcher paper the chicken came in)
- a piece of clean natural kitchen twine, long enough to loosely wrap around the entire chicken without touching1, at least 30 inches (cotton, hemp, etc - nothing that will melt, discolor, or otherwise isn't fit for contact with food or heat)
- soap and water to clean yourself up
- bleach to clean any bits of counter contaminated with raw chicken

1 The first few times you do this, start with a longer piece than you think necessary; you can always cut the extra ends off.

Step 2: Loop Around Front

Picture of Loop Around Front
Place the chicken breast-side up, and run the center of the string under the neck in the front of the bird.

Consider the neck more of a guideline - you don't have to actually loop it under the neck (it may have been cut off too short anyway) but just be sure to get your string in that vicinity so it's far enough down.

Bring the string up towards the wings and legs.
thomashawke2 years ago
I think Thomas Keller's way turns out better, with the wings underneath.
pkmn4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Meragness pkmn4 years ago
Goodhart5 years ago
So, in essence then, this makes the wings and legs as bulky or massive as the rest of the bird, and helps it cook more evenly this way (I realize your intro says this, but I am trying to see why).

That is, if no filling is inserted (as I have heard that stuffing a chicken can cause uneven or poorly / slowing of distributed cooking).

I really am not as familiar with cooking whole birds as I should be, I've only really done it twice; one chicken, one turkey - both open, the turkey had a few veggie in it's middle.
canida (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
Untrussed, the wings/legs are isolated and stick out so hot dry air flows around all sides. Trussed, they're less exposed. Also, the legs help prevent the breast from drying out.
Goodhart canida5 years ago
BTW: Nicely written up ...