Cooking twine, also known as kitchen twine or butcher's twine, is a kitchen accessory that has many different applications. When a recipe calls for tying anything as part of the process, cooking twine is the tool to use. Following certain tips and techniques enables you to make the best use of cooking twine in your kitchen.
Since your cooking twine is going to be heated in most instances, it is wise to use twine that is made of natural materials. Look for a cotton-based twine that is free of any plastic coatings. Plastic on the outside of your twine may melt in the heat of your oven and possibly enter your food. Look for cotton kitchen twine at a kitchen supply store or ask your butcher what type he uses.
Different cuts of beef require different methods of tying to accommodate their various shapes and sizes. For a standing rib roast, for example, tie pieces of cooking twine around the roast so that the twine runs between the spaces of each rib bone; the roast will hold its shape after the twine is removed prior to serving. When cooking beef tenderloin, the narrow end should be tucked under the main part so that the roast's diameter is consistent down its length, ensuring that it will cook evenly. Tie pieces of twine around the tenderloin at 1 ½- to 2-inch intervals. Use basic knots when tying beef; you only need to ensure that the twine is secure.
Trussing Chicken or Turkey
Trussing chicken or turkey is another common cooking use for cooking twine. For stuffed birds, trussing helps to keep the stuffing inside; trussing also maintains the shape of the bird, whether it is stuffed or not. Some trussing tips include pulling the neck skin of an unstuffed bird over the cavity opening before tying it shut, tying the wings close to the body, and crossing the ends of the drumsticks over one another and tying them together before the bird is placed in the oven. Some people like to use a trussing needle to thread the twine through the flesh, wings and drumsticks to tie the bird securely.
Aside from tying up meats to help keep their shape, cooking twine is effective for holding ingredients together that you want to fish out of a dish before serving. A primary example is a "bouquet garni," or a small bundle of fresh herbs. The herbs are tied together in a sack of cheesecloth with the twine and added to a soup or stew for flavor, then removed before serving. Additionally, tying meats that you butterfly and stuff, like pork tenderloin, with pieces of cooking twine help keep them together in a neat package when cooking.
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