Why do you have to tie up a bird before you cook it? You don’t, but it helps to cook the bird a little more evenly, and it’s a fun skill to pull out out at thanksgiving.
The whole idea here is that you’re trying to create a uniformly dense object that absorbs heat evenly. Everything should be tucked in so it doesn’t get damaged. Much like riding a roller-coaster.
Like most prep techniques, there is more than one way to truss a chicken. This is the way that I like doing it. The only items that you’re going to need are some butchers twine (about 3’), and a chicken.
1. Flip the bird breast side down. Turn the wings back on themselves. This is going to prevent burnt wing tips.
2. Flip the bird breast side up and turn it so the legs point toward you. Take your twine and place it under the legs.
3. Lift the twine and cross above the bird.
4. This is the toughest part. You want to take the crossed twine and move it from on top of the breast to on the table in front of the bird. Make sure that the “X” moves from the breast to in between the legs.
5. Take both ends of the twine and pull. If the “X” looked like the picture in the previous step then the legs should cinch up nicely when you pull the ends.
6. While holding ends tightly flip the bird over so that the breast is on the cutting board.
7. Lay the twine over the wings and tie a knot on the table in front of the bird.
8. Keep your hands, and the knot, close to the table surface while pulling the knot tight. The idea here is that you want the knot to lock up below the shoulder ridge so the twine doesn’t slip up over the bird and come loose.
9. Once that final knot is tight, trim the excess twine and you’re done.
It might take a few tries to get it to the point where you’re really comfortable with the whole process.
That’s it. Just remember to remove the twine before you carve the bird.