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Knives for proteins

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

I'm a home cook who is looking to expand my knife set.  My two go-to knives currently are a 210mm gyuto and a 150mm wa-petty.  I use these knives 95% of the time and they work great on vegetables and herbs.  Lately I've been buying more and more larger pieces of meat to break down for grinding (beef, pork).  I have also started cooking more (small to medium sized) fish that I prefer to buy whole and gut and or fillet myself.  This is where my two current knives are letting me down.  I find the gyuto wide and stiff for most jobs and the petty is very lite and thin and feels too delicate for those jobs.

 

I am fairly decent at sharpening (on 800, 1000, 4000 grit stones) so I don't believe sharpness is the issue.  I believe there might be better tools for the job.

 

So I am looking for some help/recommendations on some knives.  Ideally I would like to (if possible) by fewer, more multi-purpose knives opposed to buying six different knives as I don't have the space for them.

 

I was thinking:

 

- 165mm Deba - that can be used on fish as well as poultry and an all around heavier knife

- 150mm Petty/utility - I know it's redundant but maybe something with a western proflie and a bit of weight.  This can be used for trimming fat and portioning smaller cuts of beef/pork etc.

- 270mm Sujihiki - I don't own a slicer so this could be used to portion larger cuts of meat that are already trimmed (no bones).  It can also be used for slicing cooked meats as well as skinning fish.

 

Does this make sense or would I be better off with other options?

 

I would also be open to using semi or full carbon for the above knives as I care for my VG-10 SS the same way (OCD).

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Thanks

Bill

post #2 of 8

You're writing that you want something heavy duty but suggesting light duty knives. 

 

Everyone who does a lot of portioning should have a good slicer/suji.  However, they're not really intended for what you're talking about.  Try a Forschner 10" Cimiter.  It's cheap enough that it won't be an impediment to buying a good suji as well.  The Old Hickory (made by Ontario) 10" butcher's knife is another possibility.  It might be the most value on the market, it's big, crude, 1095 (a classic carbon alloy), strong like ox, can be made sharp as hell, and is huge fun.  But it is carbon. 

 

I have a 6" carbon Sabatier "Nogent" slicer which I use as my heavy duty petty -- including most of my up-against-the-bone boning.  If I did enough meat work to mean really frequent sharpening, I'd use a curved, 7" Forschner breaker and/or a wide, Forschner fillet so as not to use up the Nogent too quickly.

 

Narrow or wide?  Narrow blades are very agile in the cut, which is helpful when you're navigating around bones; but narrow blades have fairly obtuse face angles and can be difficult to get really sharp. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendation.  The Old Hickory looks like it can do some serious damage.  If I were to go with the Forschner 10" Cimiter, could it also double as a knife for skinning medium sized fish?  Or would you still recommend a flexible blade?  How about gutting and filleting small fish?  Would the smaller Deba make sense?  I would prefer to own as few knives as possible (for space reasons) but at the same time using the right (or close to right) tool for the job.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will-I-Am View Post

So I am looking for some help/recommendations on some knives.  Ideally I would like to (if possible) by fewer, more multi-purpose knives opposed to buying six different knives as I don't have the space for them.

I am probably going to fly in the face of the majority advice that you will probably receive. In my own personal experience, strictly that and nothing more, I find a chef's knife is a multi purpose knife and can handle pretty much all the tasks that you mentioned.

 

I have a rolling mechanic's tool chest that accommodates my extensive collection of knives. I have stiff boning knives, flexible boning knives, scimitars, fillet knives, cleavers, bird's beak, etc. Most of those knives haven't seen the light of professional kitchen day in a few decades now. My daily working kit consists of a chef's knife, a slicer, and a bread knife.

 

I use the chef's knife for roughly 99% of the time. I use the slicer for filleting and skinning large whole fish such as salmon. The bread knife for the obvious.

 

Whenever I start working at a new place, due to my resume, I am usually given a butchering task as a test or proving ground. Inevitably when I pull out my chef's knife, I get asked if I want, or own, a boning (etc.) knife. I always hold up my chef's knife and say this is my boning (etc.) knife. I get a skeptical look in return, but nothing more is said, so then I proceed. After that initial test, I always wind up as the butcher, filet, fabricator, (etc.) guy.

 

Also it doesn't really matter the size or style of the chef's knife. For 20+ years, I used a 11 1/2" Henckels. The last 10+ years, I have used an 8" MAC.

 

Bottom line, I fall in the less is more camp.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  When you are portioning larger cuts of meat do you find the 8" Mac limiting?  What kind of slicer do you use?  Does it need a lot of maintenance after filleting fish (making contact with bones)?

post #6 of 8

I haven't found the 8" to be limiting at all. If I did, I would start carrying the 11 1/2". I haven't, so I don't.

 

My slicer is a 30 year old Henckels 14" hollow edge slicer. As to maintenance, I occasionally run it on a steel, that's about it. Stone work in a blue moon or so.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 8

I agree with Chef Layne.  There is really no such animal as a protein knife as far as I know . Even the so called steak knives can be used for anything and everything.. Whatever feels comfortable to you. I have knives that cost  $125.00 each and I have knives that cost about 40 each. As long as they are sharp and do the job  who cares.  Don't need Japanese Ginzo or Machetes, or fish stilettos. Just  give me a sharp 8 to 10 inch  French Knife . I know guys that have very expensive tools but can't even mince or dice an onion. But by having that knife they look good, and can impress others.  WHO  CARES ?

 

PS I also have 30 to 40 years old wood handle carbon steel  Henks and Forschners. and they are still great.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 8

I love fishing. It is a hobby and a passion bordering on obsession. I have a collection of rods and reels that are expensive and could be considered state of the art. My father in law, until he passed away, had rods and reels that could be charitably described as thrift store specials. Whenever we went fishing together, he always caught more fish.

 

His rods and reels are now some of my most prized possesions.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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