Crispy skin. Juicy meat. Golden-brown color. A perfectly roasted chicken is the key to weeknight dinner glory. But how best to achieve these Instagram-worthy results? While roasting a chicken is simple in theory, pitfalls do arise. Sections of the skin get soggy and fail to brown, for example, and the breasts often cook faster than the legs. Trussing the chicken — that is, tying it with butcher’s twine — is a good place to start to avoid these problems. Cooks have done this for years to make the bird easier to handle and to help cook it better.
The traditional technique for trussing isn’t actually the best way, according to our friends from ChefSteps. They wrote in this week with a new method for trussing. Check out the short video demonstration below, then scroll down for step-by-step directions.
1. Place the chicken on its back, with the legs facing toward you.
2. Slide a piece of twine under the back of the chicken, between the wings and the thighs.
3. Pull both ends of the twine up under the chicken’s armpits, then pull them over the wings.
4. Cross the string around the top of the breasts, making sure the skin is secure.
5. Bring the ends of the twine back toward yourself, running them along the breasts and above the wings and thighs.
6. Cross the ends of the twine, pulling tightly up and under the crown of the bird.
7. Loop the ends of the string under the legs, then over the top of the legs, cross, and tighten. The thighs should pop up a little.
8. Flip the bird onto its belly and finish by tying the strings in a knot around the tail. Snip off the ends.
9. Cook your chicken on its back, with the legs elevated.
10. When you remove the twine from the bird, follow the indentations from the twine to guide your knife for a perfect carve.
ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. The site is currently offering free online classes called Cooking Sous Vide: Getting Started and Burgers, as well as a $10 class called Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics.