How-To: Truss A Chicken or Cornish Game Hen

A roast chicken or Cornish game hen is a simple, delicious dinner. Every cook should have her favorite method for roasting a whole bird memorized. Next time you’re preparing a poultry feast, try our method for easy trussing, no butcher’s twine required.

What is trussing?

Trussing is a method of tying up a chicken into a neat little package. Typically it’s done using butcher’s twine. A chef uses twine to tie the legs and wings closer to the body of the bird. Trussing a chicken can improve the appearance of the roasted bird, and can help it cook more evenly.

Why do chefs truss chickens (and Cornish game hens)? 

One of the challenges of roasting a chicken is ensuring that it cooks evenly. When a chicken is lying flat on a tray, the wings and legs tend to fall away from the bird. These small pieces of sections are exposed to more air, and will cook more quickly than the rest of the bird. Trying the legs and wings closer to the body of the bird can help the chicken cook more evenly and prevent the tips of the wings from burning. A trussed chicken also looks neat and pretty when presented whole. 

Do I need to truss a chicken (or Cornish game hen)? 

Trussing a chicken or Cornish game hen isn’t strictly mandatory, but with the no method we use, it’s so easy that there’s no reason not to.

What do I do if I don’t have butcher twine?

I’m glad you asked! Watch the video above to see our chef demonstrate a method for trussing a chicken with no twine. 

How to truss a chicken with no twine 

Using a knife, locate the extra skin flap around the cavity of the bird. Using scissors or a knife, make a small incision in the skin flap. Use your finger to widen the hole. Repeat on the other side of the cavity. 

After both incisions have been made, take hold of one of the drumsticks. Pull it across the body of the chicken and tuck the end of the drumstick through the hole that you created. Repeat with the other drumstick so that the legs are crossed and tucked closely against the bird.

Finally, take hold of the wings of the bird. Push them up and back, as though the chicken were stretching its arms over its head. Push the tips of the wings behind the bird and tuck them into place. This will keep the meat from drying out. 

trussed roasted chicken

Now that you’ve mastered this technique, try our recipe for simple roast chicken.