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How to truss a turkey

UPDATED October 6, 2022: If you’re in charge of the turkey this Thanksgiving, here’s a quick and easy way to make it perfect for the big debut at the table: truss it. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert chef, cooking the perfect turkey for your holiday meal can be intimidating. The Hamilton Beach® Test Kitchen is here to help! Start with this handy how-to guide and learn to beautifully truss a turkey like an expert.

The turkey is often the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. Give it the attention it deserves by trussing it before roasting. With just a few twists of some cooking string, you can create a bind that prevents overcooking and gives your turkey that perfect shape — worthy of the cover of a food magazine.

What does ‘trussing a turkey’ mean?

Trussing a turkey is basically tying up the legs and wings to tighten the bird’s shape. Trussing allows for optimal roasting and creates a more pleasing presentation. Without trussing, the legs can flop to the side and may not cook evenly.

How to truss a turkey like a professional

Creating a juicy, flavorful bird that looks lovely on a serving platter is easier than you think; just follow this turkey trussing how-to from the Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen.

Start with a thawed turkey.

The last thing you want is a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving morning, so be sure to give your turkey the proper time to thaw safely in the refrigerator. Plan for one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey.

Add your aromatics and seasonings.

Stuff it before you truss it! Whether you’re using a combination of fresh herbs, onions and apples, or other seasonings, place it in the cavity of the bird before you tie up the legs.

Tuck the wings.

Move the wings so they’re tucked behind the turkey. This not only provides a stable base for the turkey, it also prevents the wings from overcooking. Plus, it can help cover the neck opening and prevent stuffing from spilling out.

Tie the legs.

Using kitchen or butcher string, crisscross the string over the legs. Then, bring the string down under the side of each leg, pull it tight over the top, and tie a knot.

Season and brush with oil.

The final step before the oven is to season the turkey. Whether your turkey recipe calls for dry brine, herb compound butter, or olive oil, salt, and pepper, do this as your last step before placing the turkey in the oven or roaster oven.

More Thanksgiving tips:

How to cook a turkey in a roaster oven

How to carve a turkey

How to take a turkey’s temperature


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