or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Seeking recommendation on a "beefy" knife
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Seeking recommendation on a "beefy" knife

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I tried searching but not sure I could find exactly what I was after.  Been around the forums a bit so I think I know the questions & info needed for a recommendation.

 

Use:  I already have 3 j-knives, although none are bigger than 8".  For a couple reasons, I am without a knife at the current moment that has much heft to it.  I'm a home cook so this knife will be handled carefully and taken care of.  I need something to break down a chicken, skin a pineapple, cut the head off a fish, maybe cut something frozen... you get the idea.

 

Sharpening:  Chef's choice 15XV.  I know it's less than desirable but it's making me happy for the time being.  3 stages including one that is for stropping & polishing.  One of the key considerations here is that it's 15* and I'd rather not buy something separate to sharpen this knife.

 

I think I'd like this to be a chef's knife, probably 10" and not some sort of clever.  One option that comes to mind would be a Forschner 10" chef's knife.  Only about $35 which is a sweet price.

 

But I'm interested in hearing some other examples in the $70-150 range.  My expectations are not high for a "laser" cutting edge nor do I think it's even necessary for this knife and it's intended use.  I just don't want to chip one of my j-knives while doing those somewhat non-routine tasks that I described above.

 

The more I spend, the more I'd care about aesthetics.  

 

I appreciate your recommendations!

post #2 of 28

A forschner won't have the heft you're looking I don't think. Good knives, but light.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  This knife doesn't need to be super heavy, but it needs to be a good choice for the tasks I stated above. 

 

Not sure if that helps clarify things or not  :)

post #4 of 28

Forschner IS a good choice, and well within your price range.  Not just the chef's knives either.  I have a 10" Cimeter which I like a lot for those sorts of things as well as the meat work for which it's intended -- under $35.  A "Butcher" profile would also be good.

 

Heavy meat cleavers are good, if you don't care much about wedging.  A friend of mine swears by his machete.

 

A lot of people have old European knives in their drawers or garages from before they switched to Japan.  Any Euro or American chef will do.  The thing is they're made with relatively soft alloys which don't chip easily and can be brought back to usable sharpness with a steel. 

You don't have to spend much for this knife -- just get something serviceable.

 

If you absolutely must have a purpose built knife, the names are "chef de chef" or "lobster cracker," for the Euros and "Western deba" for the Japanese.  They're all way too expensive to buy new. 

 

My chef de chef used to be my 12" K-Sabatier au carbone chef's knife.  It was actually just a regular 12" chef's, but at 12" they all tend to be built pretty heavily.  Anyway, it went missing during a kitchen reorganization and the 10" Cimeter stepped in nicely.  

 

If you don't mind carbon, you can still get a great deal on an Old Hickory (made by the Ontario Knife Co.).  They're made from 1095, "carbon" alloy.  I don't know what their steel sourcing and manufacturing stories are, but blade quality used to be extremely variable.  At their price, that's not horrible.  They have a few 10" profiles for under $15, and even a great 14" butcher's for under $20.  You can also use the 14" for clearing brush, home defense, as a utility iron for those really bad lies, and I might have just talked myself into one. 

 

BDL

 

post #5 of 28

i think BDL uses one of these: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fofi10cikn.html

 

personally i'm waiting for these to come back into stock to be my beat-up knife: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede21.html

 

they actually have a 240mm of the Tojiro DP in stock which is close as dammit to 10": http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede24.html

 

all that said i don't have any experience with any of the above knives... 

post #6 of 28

Ruscal -- They're very heavy, very asymmetrically ground (making them very right-handed), still prone to chipping (like any hard, strong alloy blade put to that kind of use), don't steel well, and don't do the job better than much cheaper knives.

 

Wast of money in my opinion.  There are reasons to like them, certainly; but the strongest ones are aesthetic, like the desire to go "all-Japanese," and well into "personal taste."  Their better edge properties aren't enough to compensate for their tendency to chip and difficult maintenance in terms of performance.  Aesthetics are important, but personal.   

 

BDL

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Forschner IS a good choice, and well within your price range.  Not just the chef's knives either.  I have a 10" Cimeter which I like a lot for those sorts of things as well as the meat work for which it's intended -- under $35.  A "Butcher" profile would also be good.

 

Heavy meat cleavers are good, if you don't care much about wedging.  A friend of mine swears by his machete.

 

A lot of people have old European knives in their drawers or garages from before they switched to Japan.  Any Euro or American chef will do.  The thing is they're made with relatively soft alloys which don't chip easily and can be brought back to usable sharpness with a steel. 

 

 

 


That cimeter, and the thought of having a machete, sounds cool but I think I better stick to a Euro type chef's knife or the wife might have a heart attack when I wield this thing  :)

 

 

Are there other names to look at besides Henckels or Wusthof for the "Euro or American" options that I should consider?  I might even try ebay for something used.  I would imagine a Henckels from Target or Kohls (single man, not two men) that would set me back probably $30-40 wouldn't be all that great of a choice? 
 

 

post #8 of 28
hey BDL

thanks for the heads up on the tojiro dp deba.

not wanting to hijack this thread, but which heavy cleavers would you recommend?
post #9 of 28

For the last 8 yrs of my 16 yr culinary background I have been working as a sushi chef. The Japanese knives I use for sushi tend to be lightweight and work well for the majority of what I need to accomplish. For heavier work like you were mentioning I use a Shun Pro Deba with a 6 1/2 blade, the deba is considered sort of the work horse of Japanese knives. They are beveled on just one side and if you know how to use a stone are easy to maintain and keep extremely sharp. Generally they tend to be quite heavy, too. Its my go to for whole fish prep work like tuna and salmon. I also go with heavier German steel like the 10 in. Messmeister Elite for other heavy duty type work. I think the Shun was about 180 and the Messmeister was around 140.

post #10 of 28

Be very careful with the use of a deba, though. The dynamics of its weight and sharpness are very different from a western style knife. Address your technique before you get too sure of yourself. I've seen some ugly accidents due to a lack of respect for this style knife. It's also a beautiful, impressive and scary piece of chef bag bling.

 

post #11 of 28

I got my daughter a refurbished Wusthof Classic chef's knife for just that purpose.  A local knife and sharpening shop is a clearance outlet for Wusthof and carries refurbished knives in many of their models at a substantial discount.  Looks as good as new and has more heft than Forschner.  Saves her J knives and she can beat it to death if she wants.

post #12 of 28

A coworker gave me an unused chef's knife, a 10" Wusthof Classic, about 15 years old; I use that for the same purpose -- i.e. my ersatz chef-de-chef.

 

If wanting to buy a new knife with more heft than the Forschner, I like the Messermeister Meridian Elite more than the Wustie.  I had one of those, too, but it was 9".  Gave it to my folks -- it's enough of a tank to withstand mom -- because even though it's a better overall knife, the Wusthof serves its particular niche in my kit probably better.  Besides, it made a prettier gift, and I wasn't using it at all, between my older Sab and newer Japanese knives.

 

If I had neither, and was considering buying a new German 10" chef's, and I didn't want to save the money or absolutely wanted to go heavier than a Forschner/Victorinox (lots of conditionals), I'd probably pick the Messermeister.

 

post #13 of 28

I think the Messermeister would be the clear preference if you had a choice. 

 

In my case, my local shop has a relationship with Wusthof so they can offer interesting deals in addition to refurbs.  On year they had Wusthof "Swiss Army knives".  Just like the Spartan model, but in black. Had the all important corkscrew (why anyone would buy a Swiss Army knife without a corkscrew is beyond me) For $5.00 each.  I bought about 40 of them.  Every niece, nephew and cousin got one for the holidays.  It would be nice if they had a relationship with Messermeister as well.


Edited by pohaku - 10/5/11 at 10:23pm
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pohaku View Post

I think the Messermeister would be the clear preference if you had a choice. 

 

In my case, my local shop has a relationship with Wusthof so they can offer interesting deals in addition to refurbs.  On year they had Wusthof "Swiss Army knives".  Just like the Spartan model, but in black. Had the all important corkscrew (why anyone would by a Swiss Army knife without a corkscrew is beyond me) For $5.00 each.  I bought about 40 of them.  Every niece, nephew and cousin got one for the holidays.  It would be nice if they had a relationship with Messermeister as well.



 

The Messermeister elites look real nice.  If I decide to go new around the $100 price point I'll give that a real look.

 

I'm somewhat optimistic that I'll be able to find a used Wusthof Classic or Zwilling-Henckels for half that though.

post #15 of 28

Agreed -- I got the Wusthof based on the same principle: price.  (I'd love to have buy a decent Swiss Army knife at $5.00 too).

 

On the other hand, again just using it as a back-up heavy knife, and if getting no discounts, I might go the other direction and get a Fante's Pro.  It's around $70 for a new 10" chef's knife that is probably indistinguishable from the Wusthof in blindfolded cutting.

post #16 of 28

If you can find a Wusthof Cordon Bleu (discontinued) at a decent price, that would be well worth considering as well.

post #17 of 28

Madcowcutlery is selling F Dick Premier Plus knives on the cheap right now. $80 for a 10" chef. $68 for an 8".

 

I have an old, 12+ years Wusthof Grand Prix that is my goto knife and I don't like the newer Wusthof Ikon or GPII handles a bit. The F Dick fits my hand like I made it myself. I need to clear a block slot for one.

 

BDL had a good suggestion on the Old Hickory knives, although they do not make a true "chef" knife.. They aren't the sharpest out of the package but that 1095 steel takes a great edge. I have a machete of theirs and the edge screams. 

 

Jim

post #18 of 28

If you have stores like Tuesday Morning or TJ Maxx in your area, check them out.  I got my Henckels 10" Pro S at one for $50.  I have  also seen a 12" Henckels four or five star (the one with the regular looking plastic handle)  for $50.  I rather like the Henckels especially after rounding the spine and sculpting the finger guard for comfort.  I don't use it a lot, but use it for all medium to heavy tasks including whacking off the ends of turkey drumsticks prior to cooking. I'd also suggest checking a restaurant supply house they may have a knife that will fit your needs.

 

post #19 of 28

You don't want Henckels International (one little guy) you only want Henckels Zwillings (two little guys).  The Internationals are highly problematic for resharpening. 

 

Cleavers are good for some things, not good for others.  They're very thick and thick wedges.  Not good for cutting squash, peeling pineapple, etc.  Great for whacking the knuckle off a chicken bone, though.

 

BDL

post #20 of 28

I have a 10 in Forschner and I use it maybe 90% of the time. I sometimes do a lot of prep work for a lead cook/sous chef, so I'm using it at times 4-5 hrs a day. It is lighter than a fully forged knife.

 

Pineapple and most veggies ...no problem, cutting through chicken or fish bones I'd probably use my Forschner 8 in Breaking Knife or Chinese Cleaver. Although the 10 in Forschner Chef's knife could do it, I'd prefer to save the edge and use something heavier.

 

You can also go to a $15  Update International, Dexter, etc. forged Chef's knife which are heavier than a the Forschner.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Update-International-KGE-09-Forged-Cooks/dp/B003JZIXWU

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

After messing around with ebay a bit and going through the annoying process of watching items, bidding on items, losing an item at the last minute, etc... I just pulled the trigger on a Messermeister.  After reading the reviews it sounds like it's a bit heavier than a Wusthof and I like that the bolster doesn't come all the way down to the edge of the blade.  I know I didn't need to spend this much for what I need it for but I'm really looking forward to adding a german beefy knife to my collection.  Plus, CNM has the 9" at a really, really good price and I think that size will work well for me.

 

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/messermeister-meridian-elite/chefs-knife-p13819

 

Thanks for the recommendations folks.

post #22 of 28
Did you get the knife yet? Same one I had. Also from CNM. I liked it a lot when I had it.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 

Yep, probably got it on Tuesday if I recall correctly.  It's a tank!  I'm surprised how thick the spine is, I expected it to be somewhat thick but I've really gotten use to my j-knives recently.  I really like it though.  Made a lobster corn chowder tonight and it performed like a champ cutting through lobster shells and I also used it to cut the corn off the cob.  Fun stuff  :).  Great knife and great price (at least in my opinion).

post #24 of 28

I love that you actually used it to crack lobster!

 

I don't know if it's just the length or if it's true across the board, but my 10" Wusthof Classic is significantly thicker at the spine.  It's probably good you didn't go that far, given your impression of the Messermeister.

post #25 of 28

I think Messermeisters are the best of the German crowd.  If I had a Meridian Elite I'd probably actually use it. I love the fact that they don't have full bolsters, and they're sharpened at 15* per side...nice.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #26 of 28

I'd go for a Chinese Chefs knife.  I have one my father gave me in the lat 1960's, just ordinary carbon steel blade but boy does it take an edge.  Quite fit for the uses you describe.

post #27 of 28

Worth saying now that Chinese "cleaver" style knives come in two distinct flavors.  One is heavy duty enough for chopping and other... wait for it... heavy duty purposes, and is reserved for them.  The other, meant for ordinary chef's knife type chopping and slicing, is thin and quite light.  If you go to a Chinese barbecue/deli, the knife you see behind the counter for cutting up your duck is the industrial strength; but the knives in the kitchen used for all the julienne is the dainty.

 

Any knife thick enough and with an appropriately obtuse edge for heavy-duty work will have a tendency to wedge when doing ordinary prep.  While any thin, acutely sharpened knife can't hold up to cutting through bones, thick gourds, and so on.  The inexpensive carbon steel used to make Chinese knives has decent edge properties, but decent is far from magic.  It can only do what it can do.   And you shouldn't confuse the two knives even though they appear similar in pictures.

 

Chinese chef's knives don't favor my chopping action nearly as well as a western style knife; while the bone cutting cleavers don't match my heavy duty work as well as the heavy duty knives and old fashioned meat cleaver I already have.  But that's me.  Some people just fall in love with the knives. If you want to fool around with a Chinese style, carbon knife the best entry-levels are made by CCK  (in China) and the Green River knives made in Massachusetts by Dexter.   Dexter stainless Chinese knives are pretty good, too.

 

I'm not sure if the Chinese carbon steel knives from the Wok Shop (in SF) are CCK or not; but whatever they are, they're good.  Wok Shop sells Dexter Green Rivers, as do a lot of retailers.  CKtG has a good selection of CCK.  If it were me -- and it isn't -- I'd buy a Dexter.  They're in practically every Chinese restaurant kitchen in America for a lot of good reasons.

 

The heavy duty cleavers are just cleavers, and not worth pursuing except for their prices.  It's true, you can get a big hunk of iron from China for not very much silver.  Big Fat Caveat: Cleavers eat cutting boards.  Chinese style cutting boards are made from soft wood, and it's expected that the knife will slowly hollow them out.  If you think you're beautiful, expensive, maple, end grain cutting board will hold up to chopping chickens with a cleaver, you're very wrong. 

 

Japanese makers perfected the Chinese knife (surprise) as the "Chuka Bocho."  Good ones are incredibly expensive (surprise again).  Just sayin'.

 

BDL

post #28 of 28

This CCK cleaver is an all-purpose vegetable, boneless meat cleaver.  Carbon steel, very sharp and kind of crudely manufactured.  But hey, for the price, it is a great deal. 

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckcleaver2.html

 

If you want something more heavy duty, the CCK bone chopper cleaver does work quite well.

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/cckbonechopper.html

 

I got the small cleaver from CKTG and the bone chopper in Chinatown in Honolulu (with a slightly better handle than shown on the CKTG website).  If you have a Chinatown near you, you can go check out a sundry/kitchen store.  I'd expect they would carry these.  Or you could just go with Dexter from your local restaurant supply or the web.  I gave away the small cleaver as a Holiday gift to family and friends last year.  No one has complained and all still have complete sets of digits.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Seeking recommendation on a "beefy" knife