Butcher’s knot how to tie

Tying a butcher’s knot is a useful skill for even basic kitchen tasks.

Tying a roast or a joint is a useful technique that helps it retain a nice shape as it cooks, which leads to both better presentation and more even cooking. Even if you cook a lot of meat, it’s very easy to get through life never knowing how to tie a butcher’s knot.

I used to use regular old square knots to tie up roasts. But butcher’s knots have an advantage: They’re slip knots, which means that once you tie them, you can adjust them very easily without needing an extra finger to hold the knot in place as you tighten it.

I like to use 100% cotton twine because it grips the meat nicely as you’re tightening and won’t melt or burn in the oven.

Here’s how to do it, both in video form, and as a step-by-step photo series.

And now step-by-step. For all of these photos, I’m assuming that you are right handed. Lefties may want to reverse everything.

Step 1: Slide Twine Underneath Roast

Place the roast parallel to the edge of your work surface and set the roll of butcher’s twine on the work surface near you. Slide the butcher’s twine (still connected to the spool) underneath the roast so that the cut end is on the far side of the roast.

Step 2: Bring the Far End of Twine Towards You

When you have the twine in the appropriate position (roasts are generally tied at about one-inch intervals), lift the far end of twine over the roast and towards you so the twine is wrapped around it.

Step 3: Arrange Cut End on the Left

Place your left hand under both sections of the twine, laying the cut end of the twine to the left of the other end.

Step 4: Pinch and Lift

Pinch both ends of the twine between the forefinger and thumb of your left hand, then lift up the cut end with your right hand.

Step 5: Wrap Around Your Thumb

Lay the cut end over your left thumb, letting the end fall to the left.

Step 6: Bring it Under

Reach under both pieces of twine with your right hand, grab the end that is dangling down, and pass it underneath to the right. There should now be a pretty tight loop formed around your left thumb.

Step 7: Lift and Thread Through the Hole

Lift the end of the twine up, bring it over to the left, then pass it through the loop wrapped around your thumb. As you pass it through, make sure that it goes through the loop in the same direction that your thumb is facing (that is, from left to right/top to bottom).

Step 8: It Should Look Like This!

Once it’s passed through the hole, you should end up with a looped figure-eight like this.

Step 9: Tighten the Knot

Pull both ends of the twine to tighten the knot.

Step 10: Lift the End

Lift up on the end of the twine that’s still attached to the roll to place tension on the loop around the roast.

Step 11: Pull Down and Tighten

Pull the end down and towards you. The loop should tighten around the roast like a noose.

Step 12: Trim Ends

Snip off the ends of the twine with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife.

Step 13: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Repeat steps 1 through 12 at one-inch intervals until the roast is completely tied up and ready to roast.

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How To Truss a Roast & Tie a Butcher’s Knot – [ Steps To The Perfect Roast ]

Today we are going to learn how to Truss and Tie a Butcher’s Knot for the Perfect Roast

Creating the perfect roast starts with the trussing of the roast. Today I’ll show you how to tie the roast so it holds its shape while cooking. When cooking a roast we all are looking for moist meat and even cooking. When you choose “not trussing” the roast its just like letting go of control of the presentation. Sometimes presentation really matters. This is where learning to tie a butcher’s knot is a kitchen skill for life. You can use it for many things in life.

Taking a piece of meat that’s out of shape and making it look great

Instructional Video On Trussing and How To Tie A Butcher’s Knot

Trussing lends its hand to many cooking styles from roasting to braising. First and foremost tieing a large piece of meat into “shape” allows for even cooking. Secondly, presentation. Have you ever taken a cut of beef and braised it all day to perfection? Then comes dinner time and you go to plated the meat for the table and the meat just falls apart. Sounds like you cooked it perfect, just didn’t finish the job by trussing the roast. There is something special to a large perfectly cooked piece meat at the dinner table for everyone to ooh-and-aww over.

At the bottom of this post, there are two videos covering trussing and tying butcher’s knots.

First one is Chef Steven doing a simple trussing of a bottom round roast that will be “Braised”.

The second video is Certified Master Chef Edward Leonard demonstrating how to tie a Beef Tenderloin for “Roasting” with perfect presentation.

Here’s what Chef Steven’s cut of meat looks like before. A nice looking cut of meat, but will only look more un-shapely after the cook.

What’s a butcher’s knot?

It is a simple to knot that holds without “needing” an extra knot to hold. We still tie an extra knot because of best practice, when in actuality, it’s not needed.

Butcher’s Knot

Uses: The Butcher’s Knot (ABOK # 183, p 36) is commonly used to prepare meat for roasting. However, it is useful elsewhere, e.g., making the first loop around a package. The initial knot creates a type of noose and, as shown in the animation, it does cinch down around an object. However, when free, it cannot slip completely undone because of the orientation of the Overhand Knot. The knotted part of the working end functions as a crude sheave, or pulley, providing a two to one advantage which makes for very effective tightening.

Variations: The version of the Butcher’s Knot shown in the animation is reasonably secure and probably the one most commonly used. However, there are many variations. The initial loop can literally be formed using a Noose.

Packer’s Knot

The Packer’s Knot (ABOK # 187, p 37) is a more secure variation which employs a Figure 8 Knot around the standing end instead of the Overhand Knot. Ashley says “…it is the one generally tied by the more skillful butchers.” The arrow shows the path taken by the end when the loop is finally placed.

Corned Beef Knot

The Corned Beef Knot is even better (ABOK # 191, p 38): after Frame 3 the end would be tied back to itself using a Buntline Hitch, which is secure but allows the loop to be tightened until the final half hitch is completed (picture on right). Ashley writes that for the preparation of corned beef or salt pork: “It is probably the best knot for the purpose.” This is because it can be tightened at intervals but holds well in between. The arrow shows the path taken by the end when the loop is finally placed.

Advantages: The Butcher’s Knot can be tied very quickly. Indeed, a professional butcher ties it so quickly that it is very difficult to observe the steps. It also wastes very little string because the knot can be tied while one end is still attached to the coil.

Disadvantages: This Butcher’s Knot is adequately secure for its intended purpose. However, when more reliability is needed, e.g., when wrapping a package for mailing, an initial Butcher’s knot is followed by additional turns and completed with more half knots or half hitches.

How to Tie a Butchers Knot

how to Tie a butchers knot

It’s possible you’ve never taken much notice of them, but well-tied butcher’s knots are tremendously useful when it comes to presenting and cooking joints. They’re a version of a slipknot and they help to keep your joint neatly in shape as it cooks, holding the fat layer firmly in place for a mouth-watering crispy finish. And as they’re slipknots, they can be adjusted during cooking should you need to tighten them up.

100% cotton twine is the best choice for tying up meat as it grips well and (most importantly) doesn’t melt or burn in the oven.

Quickly and efficiently tying butcher’s knots is quite an art and it can take a bit of practice. But follow these handy steps and give it a go: you’ll be a pro in no time.

Step 1: With your joint on a chopping board, run the twine underneath the meat, the cut end away from you and the spool end nearest to you. You should aim for an inch between each piece of string, so position your first piece an inch in from the end of the joint.

Step 2: Bring the cut end of the twine over the joint towards you.

Step 3: Place the top and bottom lengths of twine in your left hand, making sure the cut end is on the left and the other is on the right.

Step 4: Using your left forefinger and thumb pinch the twine, then take hold of the cut end with your right hand.

Step 5: Place the cut end over your left thumb, making sure it goes to the left away from the twine you have pinched between your finger and thumb.

Step 6: With your right hand, reach under your left hand and grab the cut end passing it underneath and back towards you. The cut end should now be facing the right, and you’ll see a loop has formed.

Step 7: Moving from right to left, thread the cut end of the twine through the loop from top to bottom. It should now look like a figure of eight.

Step 8: Pull both ends of the twine to tighten the knot. Then take hold of the end that’s still attached to the spool and pull it down towards you to tighten the twine around the joint. Repeat if it isn’t quite tight enough.

Step 9: Cut off the twine from the spool (you can tie the ends in a double knot if you want extra security) then trim the ends and continue to tie the rest of the joint