How to Truss your Thanksgiving Day Turkey

By Chef Vincent Tropepe

1. Position the Wings

Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders to lock them into place and protect them from scorching. The positioning of the wings also helps stabilize the bird on a platter. Next. You’ll tie the ankles of the legs together to cover the cavity and create a holiday-worthy presentation. Pick one of these methods for how to truss a turkey:

2. Hold the Legs In Place Using a Hock Lock

Most turkeys come with a plastic, or sometimes metal, contraption that holds the two legs together. You know…the piece that you always cut and pull out so you can stuff the cavity. This is called a “hock lock” and it’s meant to stay in place during the cooking to hold the legs in place. So if you’re baking your stuffing outside the turkey (always a smart idea), you can rest easy. You don’t need to truss the turkey if you have a hock lock—it’s already done for you.

3. If Your Turkey Doesn’t Come with a Hock Lock, Use String

Or, you can simply use twine, kite string, or unwaxed dental floss to hold the legs together. If you’re using this method, follow these steps for how to tie a turkey:

  1. Cross the turkey’s “ankles” (the ends of the drumsticks) one over the other.
  2. Wrap twine around them and make a regular (overhand) knot to secure them.
  3. For an even tighter knot, make a regular knot, and before tightening it, wrap one end through the loop a second time, then tighten it. That turkey ain’t going anywhere.

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