Posted by / Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Truss and Roast the Perfect Chicken

I cannot think of many things more comforting or something that makes the house smell better than roasting your own chicken. There are many variations and most are quite simple, however, there are a few simple rules that I feel each recipe should follow to make your yardbird stand out from the rest. You can cut corners but I am writing a post that I feel is the perfect roasted chicken.

The chicken — whole, organic, free range, fed organic feed, and contains no antibiotics or growth hormones. Rinse the whole chicken and pat to dry well with paper towels. We want the chicken as dry as possible when going in the oven.

I like sage with chicken from the essence it gives while cooking — and also to achieve that faint but unmissable hint of flavor while eating, it is a step I never skip. 5-6 fresh leaves directly under the skin on the breast should do. This also gives an eye appeal to the chicken when done and can be your new best kept secret.

Sprinkle and rub 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt in and on the chicken — this can be done after you truss the chicken. Add one whole lemon (quartered) into the chicken cavity.

Next we are going to truss (or hog tie) this bird. Trussing allows all parts of the chicken to cook evenly as it brings the legs and wings in close to the body.

First let's talk kitchen cleanliness and safety. When handling raw chicken let's make sure everything is out and within reach that you are going to use or have someone around to help you. The last thing you want is to handle raw chicken then realize you left the kitchen twine in the drawer.

Start by cutting about a 3 foot piece of twine. Tie the legs securely together and then bring the twine around to the front of the chicken, bringing the wings in close and tight.

Bring the string back around to the back of the chicken and tie a knot so the chicken is now one tight ball. Cut any excess string and wash anything that came in contact with the raw chicken in hot soapy water.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (yes we want it hot) and place the bird on a roasting rack in a pan. When the oven is at the desired 450 degrees place pan in a center rack of the oven. Leave it be, only to rotate the pan half way through the 50-60 minute cooking time.

Remove from oven and turn the bird, allowing any juices in the cavity to drain, setting rack and chicken aside.

Note: If you plan to make a gravy, drain juices into a saucepan, then add 1 cup of chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of butter to the saucepan. I will detail the gravy and a recipe for the breast in another post later this week.

After you cut and remove the twine, you can slice the chicken and eat, passing the gravy as you serve. 

I mentioned the visual beauty of the sage coming through the crispy skin once cooked, as you can see above. So there you have it — my version of the perfect roast chicken.

What's your tried and true method?

E.A.T. local E.A.T well


  1. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! I have never roasted a chicken, but I have always wanted to! Thanks for a great and manageable looking recipe! I love the sage, it does make it look so much more tasty!

    1. Thanks Tara! Let me know how your first roasting goes! You can easily make 3 meals out of on chicken which I will try and detail this week!

  2. I love roasted chicken, especially when I get a free range bird from the farmers' market. While I don't truss as pretty as you, I get the chicken tied up tight and rub lots of salt and pepper into the skin. I agree that a hot oven is key and I usually leave my bird in for almost 1 1/2 hours to make sure everything is cooked through. About 45 minutes into the cooking process, I place a sheet of aluminum foil over the chicken to keep the skin from browning too much. The crispy chicken skin is to die for.

    1. We are certainly on the same page with that crispy chicken skin!

  3. I love roasting chicken with rosemary and onions stuffed into the cavity. I like to chop some fresh rosemary and either mix it with butter and put under the skin or rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the rosemary on top of the bird. If I can get fresh thyme, I'll add that too:)

    1. I meant to sign that,


    2. Good stuff Berni! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Yum! This looks really simple and tasty.


"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.



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