Monday, January 12, 2009

Cooking Tip - How to Truss a Chicken or Turkey

How to truss a bird.

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How to Truss a Chicken or Turkey

Trussing a chicken or turkey helps it to hold its shape together better and cook more evenly, making for a nicer looking bird and one that is easier to carve. There are lots of ways people do this, and some get rather complicated! To me, this way is the easiest and personally, I'm all for easy!

But remember, this is just a basic diagram - you may find it easier to tie if you wrap the twine around the feet several times - do what feels best for you. You are basically just trying to tighten it all together, so use this as a guide and adapt it for yourself.

To start you'll need some twine, so cut a piece of cotton twine that is about two arm's length long and soak it in some water; set it aside. While that is soaking, rinse the bird well, inside and out, and set it in the roasting pan, or on a tray or platter to avoid transferring any juices to your cutting board or counter top. Pat dry with paper towels until the chicken is thoroughly dried. Season the inside cavity with desired herbs and aromatics.

Now you're ready to truss.

Lay the center of the twine underneath the tail and cross it over, tightening.

Keeping it tight, pull each end of the twine up underneath the back of the thighs and legs and then bring it over the top of the meaty part of the legs.

Draw the twine straight outward, wrap under the feet, wrap over, then under again.

Draw the feet tightly together and cross the twine and knot.

Bring the twine back down to the tail and wrap around it again.

Draw it all together very tightly, tie into a knot or two and then a bow.

If you're roasting it, this is time you want to butter him up - AFTER you truss, not before!

Now you'll want to tuck the wing tips.

Turn the bird so the legs are away from you and the neck and breast are closest to you. Grab the wing tip and press it directly down toward you, across the breastbone and tuck it up underneath the breast.

See how the tip of the wing is now tucked up under the breast?

Repeat on the other side. Now you are ready to roast!

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  1. Have you ever cut the backbone out of the Turkey, and pressed the whole bird as flat as you can? I've been reading strategies to keep it moist, and this is supposed to make it cook more evenly.

    Thanks in advance for reading my question

    1. Hi Michele! I have certainly done it with chickens but no, not with a turkey. I just prefer to roast my holiday turkey traditionally. Anytime you break down a turkey whether you spatchcock it flat or cut it into pieces it will definitely cook faster than roasting it whole.

  2. Replies
    1. It's so easy Elizabeth you won't believe it! Lay some aluminum foil on a big sheet pan to work on, then you simply use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the backbone completely out, turn the chicken over and press down on it to flatten. Done!


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