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Culinary Arts

How to Truss a Chicken With Chef Thomas Keller

Written by MasterClass

Jan 17, 2019 • 1 min read

Chef Thomas Keller’s roast chicken recipe is a one-pot dish, but it involves multiple steps: brining, air-drying, trussing, and roasting. Trussing the bird will help the chicken brown more beautifully and evenly for a flavorful, juicy roasted chicken.

In order to truss a chicken, you will need:

  • A whole chicken, wishbone removed
  • Butcher’s twine (or kitchen twine)
  • A clean, flat surface, like a cutting board
  • Paper towels (optional, if you have previously brined the chicken)

How to Truss a Chicken

Chef Thomas Keller’s method for trussing a chicken is as follows:

  1. Take a piece of butcher’s twine and snuggle it underneath the pope’s nose, like a sling. The pope’s nose, or pygostyle, is the protruding flesh at the posterior end of a chicken.
  2. Cross the twine over both leg joints. The leg joints are located above the ends of the drumsticks.
  3. Slide the twine underneath the legs, creating a wrap. The twine should now form a figure eight surrounding the legs.
  4. Slip the twine under the chicken breast and pull back. When you pull back, the legs should nestle towards the breast side in a tidy package.
  5. Pull horizontally across, then pull back towards yourself, in a motion parallel with the wing tips.
  6. Using your thumbs, pull the breast skin down towards the cavity. Make sure the skin is smooth and taut.
  7. Wrap the twine through where the center, where the neck is cut.
  8. Make a slipknot, pull the ends of the twine tight, and you have a fully trussed chicken!


How to Remove a Wishbone

Chef Keller prefers removing the wishbone before the chicken cooks. This step, while not necessary, allows for more precise and efficient carving once the chicken is roasted.

  1. Locate the V-shaped wishbone in the center of the chicken’s breast plate.
  2. Pull back the breast meat and slide your knife tip across the wishbone.
  3. Repeat on both sides of the wishbone.
  4. Slide your thumb and index finger up to the tip, where the wishbone meets the breastplate.
  5. Snap the wishbone loose and gently peel out.