How to: Truss a Bird

This holiday season if you only do one thing besides eat, learn how to truss a bird (chickens, turkeys, hens, ducks, whatever poultry you’re cooking) for better cooking and presentation.  It can feel overwhelming when looking a written description (and this one even comes with pictures):

  • Place about three feet of butcher’s twine under the chicken, just behind the wings. Pull the twine over and around the wings.
  • Then, by crossing the twine underneath the tip of the breast, pull the wings snug against the bird.
  • Wrap twine over and then under the legs and pull the legs tight while pushing towards the thighs to remove slack.
  • Flip the chicken over and cross the twine over the tail of the chicken. Pull tight, then tie off with a knot and trim the extra twine.

Oof, what?  Chicken’s have tails??  Don’t freak out like I did.  There is nothing wrong with those instructions, but unless you’ve seen it done before, they are just a little too technical. I am not embarrassed to admit it, I learned to roast and truss a chicken from Emily Fleischaker of Buzzfeed.  These .gifs below make it so much easier to grasp:

Put the center of the twine under the tail.

Cross the ends then loopback under around the legs and pull the string tight to bring the legs together.  ** This .gif is showing you both where to put the twine in step one and then how to wrap the legs together in step two. Consider yourself advanced and do it all at once! 

Flip your chicken over. Bring the twine around the sides, tucking in the wings.  **When the legs are pulled together by the string in step 1 a natural space is made for the wings to fit close to the body. The string will keep them there and help prevent burning.

Pull the twine tight and tie a knot at the neck, but loop the string through the knot twice (this is called a butcher’s knot).  Her guide hand does kind of cover it, but if you look closely she pulls the string through twice before tying off.

Then tighten.

Cut off excess twine.

Flip and you’re trussed!


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