Raise your hand if you’ve got kitchen twine!
Not many of us out there keep kitchen twine in the cupboard any more. We’ve grown away from the large Sunday dinners with the huge beef roast, pork roast, or roast chicken in favor of quicker, easier meals.
And yet, what can be more impressive and easier than a chicken on the rotisserie? Rotisserie cooking gives you a juicy, flavorful, and healthy roast chicken and is super easy to cook. In fact, even if you use no flavorings and don’t truss, your roast chicken will still look and taste wonderful.
Why truss your chicken?
Trussing your rotisserie chicken makes a good bird into a better bird. It helps to plump up the breast meat and give you an even roast across the entire bird, from thighs to breast. If you think you need twine, you don’t! Here’s how to roast your chicken on a rotisserie without using string.
Prepare the bird
First, remove the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard. These chicken parts, known as the giblets, are usually found in a paper bag inside the abdominal or neck cavity. Be sure to look in both places. No sense cooking a bag of parts with your bird. You can save the neck and toss it, along with the bones left over from the roast, into a large pot with water and make your own chicken broth.
You can use the liver, heart, and gizzard in a gravy, or just saute them in your cast iron skillet for a healthy, tasty snack. Using cast iron has many benefits, so you should definitely be cooking in it!
Before trussing, dry the chicken with a paper towel, making certain you’ve mopped under the wings and thighs, as well as inside the chicken.
Rub oil over the chicken, then tuck your herbs and seasonings in the cavity and under the skin. An easy seasoning is simply to use salt and pepper. You can put a clove of garlic and lemon slices in the cavity as well.
Truss the chicken
Place the dry, seasoned chicken in front of you with the neck facing away from you. Tuck the wings back and under the body of the chicken as if you were putting the arms behind the back. Once bent into place under the body, they will stay in place.
You now have two methods to truss the legs into place.
With both methods, you create a slit in which you will tuck the end of one leg. A membrane covers the inside of the cavity of the chicken. You can cut a small slit into this membrane with a paring knife or other small, sharp knife.
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Alternately, you can cut a slit into one or both of the flaps of skin that hang from the chicken body near the legs and tail.
Whether you’ve chosen to cut this small slit in the membrane or the skin, tuck the opposite leg into the slit, then cross the other leg over the tucked leg. Tuck the end of the second leg behind the first. That’s it.
You can also cut a slit into both sides of the chicken, using those dangling flaps of skin. With this method, cut the small slit into both flaps of skin, then just tuck the leg on the opposite side of the cut into the slit, crossing the legs.
Voila, your chicken is trussed.
Extra tips for trussing
Some cautions to remember are that if the slit is too small, you can enlarge it with the knife, but you want to keep the slit as small as you can to keep the leg from popping out.
Don’t make a hole by cutting an X into the skin, just put the tip of the knife to the skin or membrane and pull down, making only as large an opening as necessary to get the end of the chicken leg through. You may even have to wiggle the leg into position. The larger the slit, the more chance of a leg popping out, and your truss disappearing.
Secure the chicken on the rotisserie skewer and roast. That’s all there is to it! Remember to use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness.
Once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll never return to string again. There’s no tangled twine, no fishing greasy string out of the skin, and the bird is beautiful and unmarred by tracks from the tying.
Chicken, the original white meat
There’s always an excuse to eat more chicken! Check out my recipe for delicious chicken wings. You may also want to read about how to deep fry whole chicken.