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The 5 Best Substitutes for Butchers Twine

One of the most important cooking steps is preparation, whether getting your ingredients together, cleaning vegetables, or stringing your turkey.

And one of the tools that are frequently used during preparation is butchers twine.

Butchers twine is a large string that can tie up meats before they are cooked.

The twine can help keep the meats in a uniform shape, especially those rolled or stuffed.

The string is also often used during cooking.

When roasting a whole chicken, for example, butchers twine can be used to tie up the wings and legs, so the bird cooks evenly and doesn’t fall apart as it sizzles away in the oven.

However, butchers twine can also be difficult to work with, especially if you’re a beginner.

The string can often seem too thick and unwieldy for the job at hand, and it may take several goes before a satisfactory level of tightness is achieved.

In this article, we will discuss five alternatives to butchers twine that you may find useful in the kitchen.

What is Butchers Twine?

what is butchers twine

Butcher twine is a strong string used to tie sausages and roasts in the meat industry.

However, it can be used in other industries because of its durability and strength.

Butchers twine is usually made from nylon or waxed cotton and can be any color.

Although it may vary in its thickness, the most common type of butcher twine has 4 millimeters.

It can often be found in large spools that hold 660 meters.

While the meat industry normally carries the spools, several companies today sell butchers twine to a wider audience.

Butchers twine has many uses.

It can be used to tie meat together or hold food in place during cooking or grilling.

For example, butchers twine is often tied around roasting meats to seal in flavor and juices before being cooked.

It can also hold together poultry parts, so they don’t fall apart while grilling.

It can even tie kitchen towels together for storing and transporting.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butchers Twine

Although butchers twine is a convenient and durable type of string, there are a lot of substitutes for it today that can be used in its place.

Here are some of the best substitutes for butchers twine that can be found in many kitchens.

1 – Dental Floss

dental floss

Dental floss is another substitution for butchers twine.

It’s a thread that can be used to hold pieces of meat together, such as turkey or chicken breast.

However, it may also be used to tie up roasts and sausages like butchers twine.

This string is especially useful when you are grilling or smoking meat.

It may be helpful to note that waxed floss is recommended for tying larger cuts of meat because it’s stronger.

Floss can also be used simply as a decoration when you wrap it around the exterior of your meats before cooking them on the grill.

However, make sure you don’t tie dental floss too tightly.

Otherwise, the meat may tear when it’s done cooking or grilling.

Also, remember that you should use unflavored dental floss for tying meats because flavored kinds tend to leave behind a lot of sugar after they’ve been cooked.

This could alter the flavor of your meal if you’re using it to grill your meats.

2 – Toothpicks or Skewers

toothpicks or skewers

This is one of the oldest substitutes for butchers twine.

Toothpicks and skewers are commonly used in the food industry to hold meat pieces together while cooking or grilling.

However, when using toothpicks or skewers, you mustn’t consume them along with your meats.

Otherwise, you could end up injuring your mouth.

Also, this alternative may not be as suitable for larger cuts of meat like roasts because toothpicks and skewers can break or bend if they’re pulled too much or used to hold together large pieces of meat.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you use bamboo skewers instead.

They’re thick and have a solid structure. They’re stronger than wooden skewers.

Bottom line, toothpicks or skewers can be used to hold pieces of meat together while they’re cooking or grilling.

Although, you should avoid eating these items because they could break off in your mouth while you’re eating them.

3 – Silicone Cooking Bands

Silicone cooking bands are string-like pieces of silicone that can be wrapped around meats to hold them together while grilling or cooking on a utensil.

While using this alternative, make sure you leave a few inches of excess space while wrapping the band around your meats so you can tie it off after its contents have been secured.

This will ensure that the contents don’t fall out while you’re cooking or grilling.

In addition, it’s important to note that this replacement for butchers twine is only suitable for smaller cuts of meat like poultry and thin pieces of beef.

However, it’s not recommended for larger cuts of meat like roasts.

Silicone cooking bands can be used to hold the contents of your meats together while they’re cooking.

4 – Aluminum Foil

aluminum foil

If you don’t want to use alternatives to butchers twine, you can always substitute aluminum foil in its place.

This item is commonly used when cooking turkey or chicken because it keeps the meat together while being baked or grilled.

However, you mustn’t wrap your meats too tightly when using this alternative.

Otherwise, they could burst open during the cooking process at the seams where the aluminum foil has been tied.

Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t let your meats sit in aluminum foil for too long after they’re done cooking.

The steam that forms inside the aluminum foil will cause condensation to form on the exterior of your meats, which could make them wet and soggy when consumed.

5 – Cook Without It

This alternative for butchers twine is the easiest of them all. Just don’t use it.

Although, this may not be the most appealing option because you won’t have your meats secured for cooking or grilling.

But it’s important to note that you can cut your meats into smaller pieces so they’ll be easier to manage when cooking or grilling.

This will allow you to maneuver around them enough so you can cook them without having them tied together.

However, you’ll have to be careful while cooking or grilling because smaller pieces of meats are more likely to fall through your grill grate or flip off your utensil.


Butchers twine is an item commonly used in the food industry.

Its string-like structure makes it easy to tie items together while cooking or grilling meats.

However, if you don’t have butcher twine on hand, five alternatives can be used instead of them.

Toothpicks and skewers, silicone cooking bands, aluminum foil, or simply not using it are great alternatives for butchers twine.

In addition, it’s important to note that some alternatives aren’t as suitable for certain types of meats.

For example, silicone cooking bands may not be the best alternative for larger cuts of meat like roasts because they could break or bend if used to hold them together too much.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butchers Twine

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butchers Twine
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Dental Floss
  • Toothpicks or Skewers
  • Silicone Cooking Bands
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cook Without It


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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