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Slicer question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all, just want to say thanks for everybody's input on questions posted in the past. This forum is a huge help for a fairly new home cook.

Sorry if this question may seem straight forward but I have seen lots of posts outlining a slicer as an essential knife to a basic kit. How would this knife be used in the home setting? My understanding is primarily for protein. Is a chefs knife insufficient for this purpose? I have a 240mm Mac Pro I use for this purpose or sometime use a 6 in utility knife. Any insight would be appreciated
post #2 of 10

Using a 12" or longer slicer makes for nice, even, thin slicing of roasts, brisket, etc.  Having a granton edge helps moist meats to fall off the blade instead of sticking, this makes the slicing process much more pleasant.  You can slice these roasts and such with a regular chef knife, but it will be more difficult to obtain consistent, clean & uniform slices.  I have this one and really like it: http://www.missionrs.com/5627-12GE.html

post #3 of 10

when a knife proves too thick and too short for slicing, a slicer would be quite helpful.

 

so mostly just meats, fish, poultry......

post #4 of 10

The use of slicers in the home kitchen is a gimmick the companies use to get you to buy their product.

 

As Chefs we have in our kits a knife for every use....everything from a bird's beak for garnish work, all the way up to a meat cleaver.

A slicer is another tool for slicing. It is long, slender, and thin for a purpose, same as a Chef's knife is the way it is.

To a Chef it is an extension of their hand. The knife is chosen the same way one would go out and choose shoes.

It has to fit.

Now....that being said many households have professional knives but don't realize what they are capable of.

 

In a home setting a slicer could be used any time the need arises for proteins as was mentioned. Pot roast, turkey, etc, etc.

Alternately it can be used for slicing fish, and other softer raw meats.

I've seen my salad girls use them to peel cantaloupes and pineapples.

post #5 of 10

A great many people -- including professional "chefs" -- do not know how or when to use a slicer.  That doesn't make a slicer a "gimmick."  Slicers serve many purposes.

 

A chef's knife can do all of the same things a slicer of similar length can do.  But because a slicer is narrower than a chef's, it doesn't stick in the cut as much a chef's. 

 

A long slicer, 240mm or longer, allows you to use long, draw strokes; that means less "sawing;" which is valuable because sawing leads to ragged surfaces and single cuts leave smooth surfaces.  A long slicer also makes for an elegant and efficient carving knife.  An attractive slicer is "eye-candy" at formal dinners, whether at home or in a commercial setting.  So are the knife skills and sharp edge required to wield it properly. 

 

A slicer shares a profile with the sort of paring knife the French refer to as couteau office.  Petty knives, which are short slicers, 125mm - 210mm, are versatile enough to pare, bone, tourne, or just about any other short or medium length knife task.  

 

While I write about a slicer as one of the four "essential" knives in a kit which is both bare bones but sufficiently well furnished to do everything well, it's good to remember that I'm drawing from my own experience.  Just in case it isn't glaringly obvious, I don't know everything about knives.  

 

Profiles are far less important than sharpness.  Just about any sharp knife can perform just about any knife task better than just about any dull knife.  But with reasonable skills, profiles can make quite a bit of difference.  The knife skills necessary to make good cuts are VERY easy to develop.  While they take a willingness to learn, a little bit of time and some patience, you don't need to be professional. 

 

BDL

post #6 of 10

You're right Rich......Perhaps the word "Gimmick" is not appropriate here. What I'm trying to get at here is that the public wants to have that perfect knife set because some Chef they saw on TV is hawking them. As you said even Chefs don't know how to utilize their own knives, let alone a home cook.

 

Really....what does a home cook need with a professional knife set? Too many ways to cut themselves.  Your quote:

 

"A long slicer, 240mm or longer, allows you to use long, draw strokes; that means less "sawing;" which is valuable because sawing leads to ragged surfaces and single cuts leave smooth surfaces.  A long slicer also makes for an elegant and efficient carving knife.  An attractive slicer is "eye-candy" at formal dinners, whether at home or in a commercial setting.  So are the knife skills and sharp edge required to wield it properly. "

 

So the long slender knife looks elegant on the dining room table regardless of whether the hostess can use it or not right?

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the information. This is primarily how I thought they were used. As far as knife skills go I feel as though mine are decent for a home cook. At this point in my cooking "career" I'm not sure a high quality slicer would make sense. I'm just getting ready to try freehand sharpening and would like to work on this before investing a lot in a slicer. How about something like the victorinox 12in granton slicer? I have a fibrox chef knife that I use on stuff I don't want to use the Mac on (squash, pineapple etc) and I find it sharp and of good quality for the price. If this knife doesn't fit the bill any other suggestions. I would really like to keep it under about $50-75 especially with looking at investing in some starter stones.
Thanks again
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response guys. I thought I had posted a response but seems like it disappeared on me. In a nut shell, I'm looking at buying some starter water stones to start the freehand learning process. As such, my budget is limited. I would like something a little more tailored as I know what you're referring to with the sawing motion with the cuts and I can see how a draw stroke (no idea what the term is here) would make much nicer slices. How about something like the 12 in victorinox granton slicer. I have a fibrox chef that I use for some tasks and I find it comfortable and sharp. Any other options in the $50-75 range that might make sense

Thanks
post #9 of 10

I think it depends on how much you think you will use it.  The one I posted earlier is much less expensive than your price range, but only gets used maybe a few times a month for about 15 minutes so I don't mind having to sharpen it often.  I guess I will be breaking it back out tomorrow to slice corned beef...  If I were slicing roasts and such everyday or several times a week, maybe something that holds an edge longer and is more comfortable would be in order.

post #10 of 10

Chefross,

 

I'm not sure if we do or do not agree on everything; but we're certainly close. 

 

BDL

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