Best Knives for the BBQ Master.

The Global g-21 flexible boning  

The Global g-21 flexible boning  


So with BBQ season in full swing some might wonder if they are missing something in their knife collection that will help them transition from Weekend Griller, to Super Pit Master. Well lets start at the top. If you are very serious and want to do the project from start to finish. As in buying 1/2 a cow or a whole pig. You might need the following "special" knife blades or cutting instruments.

  • Boning Knife  a knife used for removing bones from meat fish and poultry. I would classify Boning knives for specific purposes by length and flexibility. Smaller boning would start off at 5" and larger at 6.5". Anything over 7" I would tend to put into the fillet knife category. Stiffer blades are most often used for beef and pork while flexible used for fish and poultry.
  • Meat Cleaver the Axe of the Kitchen. This blade is design to be slammed around, smacked into dense meat cartilage, and bone. For Butchering make sure you avoid thin Chinese Cleavers that are made just for dicing. The blade should have substantial weight to it 1.5lbs and up is what I recommend. Now if you want to save some scratch do it with a Meat Cleaver. You honestly can use an axe for the job. You don't need a $300.00 piece of Solingen Steel or VG-10 Jade embossed 65rockwell super steel knife. You are going to slam, beat and whack into your cutting board.    

 

Slicer separate for yourself from the hacks. Ok you have smoked the brisket for 24 long hard hours. Checked the temp religiously, stared blankly at the outside of the pit just sweating and salivating. Now the brisket sits on your Walnut hand made cutting board and the moment of truth is upon us. This is the most important slice you will ever make. Rick Bayless is for some reason peeking in the window to see what knife you will choose. You don't want to saw the meat with you 6" serrated steak knife that you usually use this time its going to be different. Oh what's this a new knife is there a long thin knife. Not deep like your chef knife but shallow and with weird oval things on the blade. OK this is a Slicer, I like using at least a 9" blade. You want to make one cut not a push pull push pull where you tear the hell out of you succulent Brisket. 10" , 12" are the most popular but if you aren't intimidated go with a 14". The oval marking on the side are what's called a "Gratton Edge". This edge was first used for Prime Rib. The fats and the juices fill in the slots helping the meat fall away from the blade, reducing tearing. Some have points some are rounded. The rounded are preferred in the Commercial Industry. If you are working the Carving Station its nice not to be moving the point at a 6 year old girl neck area. So rounded tips make everyone sleep alittle easier but don't effect performance.

Dexter Russell meat cleaver

Dexter Russell meat cleaver

12" Victorinox gratton edge slicer

12" Victorinox gratton edge slicer

Buying a Blade Tip #1

Blade buying survival guide

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I recently made a Tweet 

@STLKNIVES: Blade buying tip #1: never buy something that comes without an edge on it

Then was asked the following question.

@tjdunnigan why not?

After some thought I made the following statement. Whomever makes a blade without an edge on it has no clue what they are doing.

Now I would like to take a moment to expound on that statement. A customer brought In a straight razor to be sharpened. He told me it was a new razor with no edge. This made my spider sense tingle ...with anger. A razor or knife with no edge is just a shape of steel with no purpose. It should no where on the box say Razor or Knife. Right in my hands I'm holding what looks like a Razor. It feels like one smells like one but when I touch the most important part I don't feel anything. Just a flat side. Next time I will say. 

"This is no razor, it's the start of one but the manufacturer forgot to finish it." 

If I went to an Automobile dealership and was told by a salesman that the 1996 El Camino I was about to buy was made not have an engine, and designed to be pulled by horses. I would ask him if I accidentally went to the damn wagon dealership insted. 

 The edge of the blade is the most important part of any cutting instrument. I love nice handes but I can't dice an onion with the Wolly Mamoth Ruby embossed handle. 

Back maybe 6 years ago. Furi a company out of Austrialia started making knives. We got some in on special. To our dismay when the knives arrived they didn't have an edge on them. When we called the company about this we were told "We don't put an edge on the knife the chef should do that" After a couple of awkward, silence filled moment. Veins began  pulsing on my uncles head and neck. He asked he bought a knife or a knife starter kit. Needless to say the knives were sent back and we never reorder from them again.  

Furi has since changed and the no edge chef customization program. They signed a deal with Rachel Ray and probably sold 1 million Rachel Ray orange handled santoku's that did have a decent edge on them. 

When the metal is formed from a mold. Then pressed and made into a blade like shape it will not have a fine edge. After the shaping process it must be ground polished and honed. This takes a skilled craftsman. What is happening is the Manufacter makes the shape says "it looks and feels like a knife so screw it sell it as is. What's for lunch?" Now I have a razor in my hand with no egde and I'm here left to finsh what they started. I won't even go into the probability that this is crap steel. Made by poor designers. Built by the factory who put in the lowest bid.Just as long as we can sell a set of 94 knives on QVC for  3 easy payments of $14.95. So if you are  in a store right now and the creepy sales guy is telling you about some awesome blade he has and won't let you take it out of the box to feel the edge. Take my advise and don't buy.

 

 

 

B Sharp

Don't be dull B Sharp

. I would say that 70% off the American population either A) buys a cheap set of knives from the grocery store and throws them away when they get dull. Then buys another cheap set. B) Maybe has knives from a wedding gift, or a set passed down, to them from a family member. The knives sit in the old block dull as the day is long. 

For this blog I'm writing to you B. 

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Step 1: Make you knives sharp. I don't care how you do it. If you want to do it at home buy a set of stones. I recommend a Rough Stone 200-300 grit, Medium Stone 800-1200 grit, and a Fine Stone 3000-6000  grit.

Stone I used everyday 200 up to 8000

Stone I used everyday 200 up to 8000

To use these stones watch the video of Mino. 

 

It doesn't matter what stones you use. Old school Arkansas stones fine. Norton great, a tri-stone even better. Oh, diamond stones I don't use them but they work perfectly fine. All you need to do is apply the same amount of pressure through out the knife  and use the correct angle. European knives 20 degrees. Japanese knives 14-16 degrees. Some amount of guessing happens 2 degrees either side of the knife isn't going to make much of a difference you won't even notice. I go 80 strokes on each side per grit. So 3 stones 80 strokes each side. That's 160 strokes per grit x3 =480 strokes per knife. Let's break that down. How long does it take for you to move your hand 8" back and forth. With a knife maintaining a constistant angle about 1.5 seconds. That's 2 minutes per side per grit. 12 minutes so far you got the burr worked up and your knife is looking hairy. Then take your fine stone and only stroke into the stone. Lifting up insted of using the back stroke. This will remove the burrs and leave a fine edge on the knife. Then pull out your honing rod 6 swipes on each side at the same angle you have been using and you will B Sharp. 

The Be Sharps

The Be Sharps

Do you have 15 minutes per knife and $100 for the stones. Geez Dan I don't think I do. Well then that's where Bertarelli Cutlery comes in. Do you have 30 minutes and $4-$5 a knife?