When trussing a chicken, it's important to keep each tie tight as you progress around the bird, or you'll have to start again, explains Mark Elia of The Culinary Institute of America. The first step is to take the wings and tuck them behind the back of the chicken. Chef Elia says if you can't remember how to do this, just pretend you're trying to scratch the part of your back you can never reach, and you'll see how your arms mimic the correct position of the chicken wing.
He cuts a piece of butcher's twine (16-ply) to about 24-30 inches long. Then, starting with the tail of the chicken toward you and the chicken breast side up, come underneath the tail with the string, in between the two legs, then drop the string over the legs at the smallest part. Cross under the legs (but not under the tail), and pull the strings tight. This will pull the legs and tail together. Hold the strings with your thumbs, then bring the string around and over the shoulders of the chicken and tie the strings together over the neck, pulling tight and holding. Finally, holding tight with the strings, turn the chicken over and tie it off on the back of the next with a double knot. The finished chicken with have a nice closed cavity with no strings showing.
For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.