Rotini Tech: How To Use Dried Pasta As a Crutch

There may be some detractors, but most agree that a well-made crutch is a crucial ingredient of a properly rolled joint. But what if you didn’t have to make a crutch yourself — and could simply use a piece of dry pasta instead?

To clarify terms, a crutch is the typically paper tip rolled into one end of a joint to form a built-in mouthpiece, filtering out most particulates and preventing obstruction of airflow by physical collapse or paper sticking. Traditionally, smokers would spin a crutch into existence from a scrap torn off a matchbook or a pack of papers (or an index card), but now there are prefabricated paper and cardboard crutches, as well as reusable glass crutches that were en vogue for a fleeting moment before people realized they were also breakable and distinctly losable. A slightly flared, conical crutch can make rolling a cone a breeze, but in the right hands a simple cylindrical crutch can be used to create a joint of any shape or size.

Rolling your own crutch is easy enough, but your time is valuable and those paper ones are never as rigid as a glass crutch. So what if you want the solidity and convenience of a pre-fab glass crutch with the added benefit of cheap, disposable (but also environment-friendly) convenience? Skip the smoke shop, hit the dry goods aisle of your local grocery store and grab a bag of pasta, specifically rotini.

If you have even a passing familiarity with pasta, you know there’s an encyclopedia of different shapes and styles. Rotini are the helix-shaped ones that look like little screws. They are quite similar to fusilli, except rotini has a tighter helix twist.

All you have to do is pick out rotini in the size you want to roll (they come in a range of sizes that should easily accommodate most rolling styles) and break a single noodle down to the desired size. Then you roll with it like any other crutch — voilà.

This technique isn’t new — it’s been around for at least a couple years and almost certainly longer — but because it sounds catchy let’s call it Rotini Tech.

Rotini Tech

Why use pasta? For one thing, it’s economical: A one-pound bag of rotini can be purchased for a dollar or less, and even if you spring for the fancy organic kind (why?) you’re still not spending more than $10 even if you deliberately buy the most expensive pasta possible. Considering there are roughly dozens of pieces of pasta in even a small bag, and taking into account that you can definitely get at least two or three crutches from each piece, it’s almost as cheap as rolling without a crutch, but without the righteous social stigma or weed in your mouth.

But how does a rotini crutch hit? Like Iron Mike in 1988. The unique shape prevents inhalation of particulates but the airflow is functionally unobstructed. Some people think the rotini tech crutch may actually benefit from the corkscrew shape of the air path. Putting aside the validity of the “double venturi ricocheting vortex effect,” it’s an undeniably sturdy, reliable crutch that doesn’t raise any suspicion. And when you’re done smoking? Smash it into the ground, grinding the paper and pasta into tiny, biodegradable pieces.

It’s not especially difficult to roll if you already know how to roll with a crutch, but the basics are as follow:

  1. Get your herb lined up inside the paper and tuck the crutch in on one end.
  2. Position your roll (with both fingers if needed) and even out the material, working the crutch into the structure of the joint.
  3. Make any necessary adjustments and complete the roll, making certain to tuck and roll the crutch a bit tighter than the rest of the joint.

The main issue you have with any crutch is the possibility of it falling out if you don’t roll it in tightly enough. The nice thing about using rotini is the edges tend to catch against the paper, pulling it taut at several points around the crutch, meaning slippage is no longer an issue.

Be warned, this additional traction also has a downside when it comes to adjusting the final placement of the crutch. Where a glass or otherwise smooth paper crutch can be shifted up with a simple push, the edges of a rotini crutch will often catch and rip the paper if you try to shift it forward. The trick is to leave just enough paper at the end to almost cover the tip, leaving a small hole for airflow.

TELL US, have you smoked a rotini joint?

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