Slicing and dicing with an 8" santoku knife


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/24/slicing-and-dicing-with-an-8.html


#2

Only if you grind it yourself on one side and keep the edge up. Even then, I don’t see it more effective than a western chef’s knife.


#3

I do end up with more meticulously cut veggies – however once I toss the chopped onions into the pan to sautee or a pot to boil down it doesn’t really matter.


#4

I use mostly Japanese knives. I de-bone with a Shun parer, filet with a Shun filet knife, and for everything else I use a nakiri.
I still have a Forschner 16’’ scimitar for… encouraging others to remain calm, or, I don’t know… cutting pizza.
Other than that I can’t see ever going back to western knives.


#5

my santoku is my go-to knife in my kitchen. The height of the blade is much safer (not as much as a veg cleaver, but more nimble).


#6

Is the handle from plantation micarta, or Burmese old growth micarta?


#7

Generally santoku knives, including the western clones of the design like this one, have a thinner blade and finer bevel angle than the equivalent chef’s knives. Not so good for cutting bones or splitting a recalcitrant squash, but less resistance which makes them very good for chopping and slicing.

We have both in our kitchen, both Wusthofs and both kept equally sharp; when I start cooking, I’ll grab the santoku about 90% of the time, but my wife will go for the chef’s knife about 90% of the time. In the end it comes down to personal preference.


#8

This isn’t from Asia?


#9

#10

I live by my Kyocera Santoku and Chef pair. I have a regular boring metal knife for boned meat or squash. My wife prefers the metal knife, but then she learned how to cut working on trees.


#11

My 6.5” MAC santoku is my go-to knife in the kitchen. In general it cuts faster and cleaner than my 10” wustof classic chef knife. The 10” excels more at meat or anything hard that would damage the santoku. I also have a kyocera santoku that I use when breaking down a lot of acidic produce that would dull a metal edge quickly.

All metal knives require honing and sharpening to stay in top condition.


#12

I’m faster and safer at almost everything in the kitchen with my Shun Santoku than any other knife I’ve ever used. Critical part of the technique is to lay your index finger down the heel/spine.


#13

Traditional Japanese santoku are often shipped like that. They’re pretty much exclusively for veg, And boneless meats as a result.

What’s pictured/linked is a hybrid style santoku incorporating western features. More curved/rocker than Japanese knives, less than big bellied German style knives. They’re shorter than equivalent chef knives and the sheep’s foot shape is good for tip work.

@jlw

There’s still a bit of rocking motion to these sorts of knives. And even with a perfectly flat knife you can still pull off both up and down push cutting and the circular chopping motion.

Most of the people I know who like hybrid santokus have smaller hands. They get a lot of the functionality of a full sized western or hybrid knife with out the length and weight.

You won’t get much more “precision” out of one of these. Might out of a traditional Japanese style one or a Nakiri/usuba

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakiri_bōchō

They tend to have the thinner lighter blades, Sharper edge geometry and flatter edges. That could give you something. And are really useful for popping the tip up and down for precise fast chopping and slicing. Sort of a shorter Chinese clever.

If you want to try a flatter or truly flat cutting edge in a chefs knife. Look for a French pattern knife or Japanese gyuto. At their most extreme those things are a perfect triangle with no curve.


#14

I got sidetracked watching knife porn late the other night and ended up watching this clip. The chef/owner gives a fascinating overview of some pro knives and their manufacturing processes (for those able to stomach the filmography and the camera guy sometimes talking over him).

“Often the young students are insistent saying “I want a Japanese knife, the best knife” and I’m trying to talk them into buying something under $50 to start with and learn their methods of sharpening and the honing rod and then come back and buy one.”

“I try to draw attention to the fact that the German makers made their steel softer for a reason – it’s just two different styles of thinking on what you want in a knife. For theirs - yes it’s softer and a honing rod is part of the mise en place…sometimes you have to pay your dues before you get there.”

Incidentally their pro sharpener out the back has been hand sharpening since a kid and has some interesting techniques. I’ve always wanted to give leather stropping a try.

.


#15

This’ll do everything you need. $12.


#16

A common mistake most new culinary students make is wanting to buy expensive knives before they have much experience. As a professional I have to keep telling them a better knife does not automatically make them a better chef. They should wait until they have more experience before spending the big bucks.


#17

Well, except give you a decent grip. But you could probably fix that on the wirewheel.

I have to admit one of the most used knives in our kitchen block is a 30 year old $8 supermarket stainless serrated job with a plastic handle. It can still cut a tomato perfectly today, despite having been used to strip wallpaper and whittle wood.

I like using all the different knife types, is anyone surprised? I thought not.


#18

Yup! The Mercer has that little nub that sticks over the blade, so I don’t need to grab onto the metal like with my other knives. I have $250 knives and $2.50 knives. I have chucked all the crap ones and kept all the good ones, and they span the range, just like you described.


#19

I’ll admit I don’t approve of most of your kitchen gadget ideas, but for $25 that’s a good looking knife.


#20

The mercer’s got that little flat area towards the front. For pinch gripping. Its a little far back, but it works fine. And it keeps the inside of your finger from rubbing on the spine. Which tends to be pretty, well sharp on most of these. Most of your food service knives you can just pinch grip like anything else. Those big, grippy, sanitary plastic handles exist for a reason. You’d be surprised how much they help you hang onto the thing with wet or gloved hands in a hot, crowded kitchen.