Whether you’re making sausage, stuffing vegetables into a turkey, or just bundling a bunch of herbs for your meat, you’re using a particular thread developed for food preparation which is called a kitchen string or a butcher’s twine.
The most troublesome situation is running out of it at the last minute. Luckily there are some alternatives you can consider to replace them at home.
In this article, I will list down the best substitutes to butcher’s twine that you can easily find in grocery stores or even in your household.
What Is Butcher’s Twine?
Butcher’s Twine is most typically utilized in the preparation of meat. It is handy to have on hand for trussing, securing, or tying off a packet of herbs inside a bird or a piece of meat.
The purpose of the twine is to maintain the regular shape of the meat and to make sure that each side is cooked evenly. What’s more, not only can a butcher’s twine help you to roll up and stuff spices in the meat easily, but it can also be used to hang your meats for curing.
It is not like any other string that you know and uses for art craft or for sewing because it is made from 100% cotton that is specifically designed for culinary.
They are also made mostly from natural fibers, which make them heatproof. Unlike the regular strings that can burn when heated, the butcher’s twine is oven-safe and doesn’t melt even when exposed to high temperatures.
Best Substitutes For Butcher’s Twine
Besides being heatproof and oven safe, butcher’s twine cotton material does not transmit the flavor, color, and aroma to the food when cooking, which is why it is preferred by most people.
When cotton twine is not available, linen twine is the second-best option since it holds the meat easily. However, it could be hard to find in grocery stores. But you still can consider the following alternatives.
For instance, if there is no butcher’s twine available, toothpicks will suffice. Even if you don’t use them in the same way as a regular butcher’s twine, toothpicks or wooden skewers can serve the same function when cooking.
It should work out fine if you will just stick them through anything you’re trying to hold in place.
Thread some toothpicks along the seams of a stuffed item to keep the filling from dripping off if you need something to close the opening.
But before you use them, make sure to soak them in the water first to avoid them from burning either when grilling or baking in the oven.
2. Wooden Skewers
Wooden skewers can likewise be used as a substitute for a butcher’s twine. When using wooden skewers, the concept is just the same.
All you need is to soak them in water for at least 20 minutes to avoid scorching them. Furthermore, if you use toothpicks, it’s a good idea to keep track of how many you used so you would also know how many you’ll need to remove after the dish is cooked.
You don’t want someone biting on a piece of wood by accident.
3. Aluminum Foil
Aluminium foil is another popular alternative to kitchen twine. Aside from the fact that it is cheap, it is also proven useful for a variety of purposes.
Aluminium foil does not only work with chicken but you can also use it to roll up and cover other types of protein like fish, beef, and lean meats for sausages.
Aluminium foil may be used to tightly wrap your meal. Alternatively, you can create twines out of aluminum scraps and wrap your food solely in specific regions.
Remember that aluminium foil is thin and may not be able to keep your stuffed turkey together. But it can, however, be helpful to wrap other meats.
If you need to tie up a chicken or any other sort of bird, you may easily cover the wing tips with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. You could even pull the end of the wings into or behind the chicken.
4. Dental Floss
Another good replacement for the butcher’s twine is dental floss. We all know that we should only use tools and items that are food approved and certified whenever we cook, but dental floss is an exception to this rule.
Although it is commonly used for hygiene purposes, it can also be used in certain cooking situations.
Unlike the butcher’s twine which could be difficult to find sometimes because of its availability, dental floss is always available either in the grocery store or in the drugstore.
If you use dental floss every day, you may notice that it has two types â€“ the one that is waxed and the other that is not.
Choose the unwaxed and unflavored one so that there would be no wax, flavor, color, or any other chemical that could go to your food while it’s being cooked.
Use the dental floss as if you are using a butcher’s twine. But be careful because unwaxed dental floss is thinner and less strong than waxed, which means that it could break easily if stretched too tightly.
What’s more, aside from being used as a binder to meats and herbs, dental flosses can also be used to make clean cuts in your cakes and cheeses.
Although dental floss may not be the best alternative to use in place of the butcher’s twine, it can still suffice as long as you use it properly and carefully.
5. Baking Paper(Parchment Paper)
Baking paper can similarly work well like aluminum foil. Only that it is perfect to use on your oven and it won’t stick to your pan regardless if it’s burned or not.
Just like aluminum foil, you can wrap your meal as securely as possible in the baking paper and it will most likely hold everything inside it with ease.
Even if you use a marinade, the baking paper will help cover the seasonings altogether and make the dish more tender and tastier.
You can also cut your baking paper into thinner strips and use it to wrap your rolls in places where you think they could be uncovered.
The baking paper also has the advantage of not allowing your food to burn. Heat is not a problem for parchment paper. In fact, it can withstand extremely high temperatures.
This is due to the silicone treatment, which not only makes it non-stick, but also resistant to heat.
You may think that cheesecloth is only used for making cheese, but food experts know it; it has several purposes including using it as an alternative to butcher’s twine.
Just like aluminum and baking paper, you can use the cheesecloth in any way you want. Whether you want to wrap your meat or cut it into strips and use it as a string, the choice is yours.
Just like a butcher’s twine, cheesecloth helps your meat or poultry to be kept firmly in place. So if ever you will poach it or braise it, you can assure that your meat won’t expose.
What’s also good about it is that it maintains the moisture of the meat it covers. The longer hours the meat cooks, the more tender and juicier it will be. Cheesecloth does not also burn, instead, it traps moisture, which makes your meat wet but not dark.
7. Oven Bags(Roasting Bags)
Oven bags(Roasting Bags) are used to roast different kinds of meat, poultry, and vegetables. Made from foodâ€“grade Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), these cooking bags are resistant to high levels of temperature.
You can get a variety of cooking bags from various manufacturers in local stores, with or without the seasoning included. There are cooking bags for vegetables and meats, and whatever type you need, you can find it in the grocery store.
These bags will not only keep your food in position, but they will also keep it distinct from any other components you may have in the oven.
For example, if you want to roast your meats to a specific flavor, using a cooking bag will separate the flavor of the meat from the other veggies. This goes the same for herbs and spices.
8. Silicone Cooking Bands
Trussing poultry with cooking bands or wrapping roasts, whether bought from the store or handmade, works wonderfully. Silicone Cooking bands come in a variety of sizes and are constructed of silicone, which we all know are highly resistant to heat.
Good To Know
Silicone cooking bands made of food-grade silicone are usually safe to use in freezers, deep fryers, microwave ovens, and even dishwashers.
You’ve even probably seen them used to tie fruits and veggies together or to lock a succulent piece of steak.
To keep the meal in place, cooking bands stretch out like rubber bands. Smaller bands can be used with parchment sachets or little amounts of stuffed meats.
What’s more, a band can also be made by folding an aluminum foil sheet into a strip. To secure a roast or tiny packet, you can wrap a foil around it. Foil is ideal since it is safe to use in the oven and retains its form after being folded and crumpled.
9. Green Onions
For instance, if there is no twine, string, or any binder available on your pantry, you can use certain vegetables and herbs to help you tie your meat or poultry.
If you are always in the kitchen, you know that there are several ways how you can improve on your cooking style and techniques. And there are also many great things that you can discover to make your food preparation easier and more practical.
If you are roasting chicken or tying up a steak and you don’t have a string, you can always improvise and be creative. Green onion is one of the many vegetables that you can use to hold your meat in place.
It is just perfect since it is edible, safe, long enough to wrap around, and it is also flexible. Plus, it also makes your dish more aromatic and delicious!