The chickens you see at the rotisserie counter, and in famous-chef cookbooks, often look especially neat because they're trussed before roasting. This isn't done purely for its aesthetic effect. It also has practical benefits. Trussing compacts the bird, restricting the flow of hot air into the cavity, which in turn reduces the risk of overcooking the breast meat. Trussing a chicken conventionally with twine takes time and a certain level of skill, but you can achieve a similar effect with no string at all.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Paper towels
- Salt and pepper
- Onion, lemon, garlic cloves or other aromatic ingredients (optional)
- Sharp knife
Snip open the chicken's packaging and carefully drain any juices into your sink, then transfer your bird to a cutting board and finish unwrapping it. Remove the giblets and neck, if they're present, and blot the bird dry with paper towels, inside and out.
Turn the chicken so its neck end faces you. Grasp a wingtip and fold it downward, then slide it underneath the chicken's neck to place it in a sort of culinary half-nelson. Repeat the same process with the other side, then rotate the chicken on your cutting board so the body cavity faces you.
Season the chicken's cavity with salt and pepper, then fill it -- if you wish -- a peeled, halved onion, a halved lemon, peeled garlic cloves or another aromatic ingredient that will provide flavor as it blocks airflow to the bird's interior.
Grasp one of the loose flaps of skin that can be found on either side of the bird's cavity. Use the tip of a sharp paring or boning knife to make a small slit in the skin. Take the knobby end of the drumstick from the opposite side, and slide it through this new opening. Repeat the process, making a slit on the opposite side and using it to restrain the top of the other drumstick. The bird is now trussed, for practical purposes.
Season the exterior of the chicken and roast it, as you normally would. To carve the bird, simply cut through the thin bands of skin holding each drumstick in place and then bend them down with your carving fork, so you can sever the hip joint with your knife. At that point, the chicken can be carved normally.
Tips & Warnings
- Many cooks like to rinse their chickens under cold water, under the misapprehension that they're rinsing off potentially hazardous bacteria. In truth, all this does is spread them throughout the bird, and usually spatter them around your sink and kitchen as well. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service now specifically advises against doing this. You should also disinfect the sink with bleach or a strong cleanser after draining the chicken's juices, to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
- Photo Credit robynmac/iStock/Getty Images
How to Truss a Chicken
You need to know how to truss a chicken if you want the chicken to keep its shape while roasting. It is...
How to Truss a Turkey
It's not necessary to truss a turkey before roasting, but taking the time to do so can ensure the bird cooks evenly...
How to Tie & Truss a Chicken for a Rotisserie
If you are preparing to roast a chicken on a rotisserie, consider trussing it beforehand. Although it is not necessary to truss...
How to Tie a Rotisserie Chicken
Rotisserie chicken allows you an alternate cooking method and brings variety to a dinner menu when the same type of meat is...
How to Sew Up a Turkey After Stuffing It
Once you've completed the messy job of stuffing a turkey, you're faced with the dilemma of how to keep all the stuffing...
How to Truss a Cornish Hen
Cornish game hens are an inexpensive way to eat well. Simple to cook, the Cornish hen is compatible with a variety of...
Tips for Cooking Twine
Cooking twine, also known as kitchen twine or butcher's twine, is a kitchen accessory that has many different applications. When a recipe...
How to Skewer Chicken for Satay Thai Recipe
Learn how to skewer chicken for satay with expert cooking tips in this free Thai cuisine video clip.
Trussing the Wings of a Christmas Turkey
Learn how to truss the wings of a Christmas turkey recipe in this free holiday video on cooking a Christmas turkey.
Trussing a Chicken Tips & Techniques
Learn how to truss a chicken for oven cooking in this free cooking video on how to prepare and cook chicken recipes.
Tying Legs & Wings for Rotisserie Chicken Recipe
Learn how to tie the legs and wings together for rotisserie chicken with gravy with expert cooking tips in this free comfort...