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How To Truss A Chicken

First Posted: 11/04/2011 11:22 am Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

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.

Watch this video to learn how to truss a chicken.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Mark Elia from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to truss a chicken.

The first step in trussing a chicken is to take the wings and just tuck them behind the shoulders. If you're not quite sure or don't remember how to do this, just try to scratch that part of your back you can never reach - and that's where it belongs, right there. Once the wings are tucked in behind the head they should stay there with no problem.

What we would use to truss the chicken is a standard 16-ply butchers twine that you can get from your local butcher or your local grocery store. You want a piece about 24 to 30 inches long; that'll give you just a little bit more than you need, in case you make a mistake.

You'll start with the back of the chicken towards you. Even off your piece of string from a center point, like so. Come up underneath the tail, but in between the two legs. This is where you'll make your first cross. Then drop the strings down over the legs at the lowest part, and cross again under the legs - but not under the tail. At this point you're going to pull your strings tight, and what this does is this pulls the tail and the legs together to keep everything inside, for our presentation as well as for our stuffing.

You don't want to let go at this point; you have to have a lot of tension on the string. Hold the string with your thumbs and push up down low - you want to keep the strings down low - and with your index fingers, push down on the top of the shoulders of the chicken. Cross in front of the neck in one simple tie, like you were tying your shoelaces. Pull tight, and hold. If you let go at this point, everything will come loose and you'll have to start all over again. Holding tight with the strings, turn the chicken over, spin him around, and tie off on the back oh his neck with a double knot - and you're finished.

What you're looking for here is a nice closed cavity, good presentation, and no strings showing. When this bird comes out of the oven, there'll be no white lines when the string is removed.


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