This is a three-part segment on how to smoke a chicken. Post No. 1 deals with how to truss a bird. Also all photos are by my lovely and talented wife this time.
Why truss? First off, it looks nice. Before you go getting snobby, presentation is important.
Of course trussing also allows the meat to cook more evenly, and when smoking meat, even cooking is very important. Trussing also keeps any flavor elements in the meat during brining and cooking. I will deal with both these steps in the next two posts. Long story short, when it comes to smoking birds, trussing is important.
So in the above photo we have all the needed objects to start. Flavor items for the cavity, butcher’s twine, scissors and the bird. The amount of twine needed to truss is roughly five times the length of the bird in question. Don’t worry you can always cut off the excess.
I like to season the cavity before brining. This time I am using an orange, salt, pepper and rosemary, but the sky is the limit for aromatics.
Once the cavity is seasoned tuck the wing tips behind the breasts. Don’t worry, they stay in place once pushed underneath.
This is the heart of the knot. The easiest way to tie it is to start the middle of the twine under the butt tip of the bird. Then take each side up and around a leg above the meat making a circle around the bone. Then bring the twine back across the open cavity creating the above pattern. By pulling both strands tight the legs and bottom flap will come together closing up the cavity.
Now flip over the bird and bring the twine across the body making an X. Keep an even pressure on the strands of twine to keep the cavity closed.
Loop each strand around a wing tip and bring the twine across the wing top to hold it against the bird. If you let too much slack in the twine while doing this the bottom cavity will re-open. If so, flip the bird back over and repeat from original knot.
Once the wings are trapped flip over the bird again and tie tightly across the top of the breast. When done, the legs and butt of the bird will tuck into the main body and the breast will be the center of gravity, resting forward.