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Apr 20, 2009 12:21 PM

Keeping knife sharp to breakdown chickens.

I'm trying to improve my speed when cutting up chickens, into eight pieces, for saute. I try to cut through joints with ease, and avoid direct contact with bone. I use an old Whustof chef's knife exclusively for this job. It doesn't hold an edge very long. Some people use a combination of knives. I feel like I should be able to breakdown one chicken without having to clean two knives. Occasionally I send my knife out to be sharpened. I've got a chef's choice knife sharpener that I don't get around to using. I feel ambivalent about the edge it puts on the knife.

What knife should I use, and what's the easiest way to keep it sharp between those times that the edge gets a total overhaul? A carbon steel knife plus a whetstone seems like a lot of work. I'm considering a Forschner chef's knife to use with the chef's choice sharpener. Or maybe an F Dick Multi-cut honing steel and then send the knife to a professional. Or diamond steel, global/shun knife?

Check out this guy speed along. I think he is using the Chinese method? I like the French.

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  1. Ever consider on getting a poultry shears?

    1 Reply
    1. re: RShea78

      I have, but I don't see any butchers using them so I feel like they would slow me down.

    2. I use a caphalon boning knife that I got fifteen years ago. Its sharpedned on a Spyderco sharpmaker. I can do awhole chicken without needign re-sharpen. I do use a ceramic "steel" before I do any cuttign now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jchulley

        Thanks, I haven't tried a ceramic steel. Only a standard "steel" honing steel.

      2. Could be time for a new knife? Knives don't last forever and after multiple sharpenings, they will eventually get to the point where you need a new knife. Just how old is it?

        3 Replies
        1. re: SQHD

          Yes I'm looking for the knife and steel(diamond, ceramic, f dick) combination that will keep the knife sharp, with the least amount of work on my part, between trips to get a new edge. I haven't gotten around to learning a whetstone.

          1. re: Romanmk

            Don't be afraid to learn to sharpen on a whetstone. It's not that hard.

            With a guide system like the EdgePro Apex you would turn out great edges on your first try.

          2. re: SQHD

            That takes a long time. You would get to the point of having too narrow of a blade height before you run out of blade to sharpen.

          3. I use a Chinese meat cleaver. Never a problem.

            1. I picked up a Tojiro honesuki that I like a lot for birds. Has a very pointy tip for feeling your way into joints to separate them. Upgrade your sharpening gear a little and that'd do the trick for more money than a Chinese cleaver, but not a ton more. They also make a garasuki that's specifically a chicken knife, but I like the smaller one (small hands and all).

              2 Replies
              1. re: ted

                I agree to an extent. I have a Misono Swedish carbon steel honesuki that is just great for deboning fowl. The flat side follows the bone without digging in. However, the OP just wants to separate the legs, wings and breast. A paring knife will do the job quite well. You may want to look into a Hankotsu. More like a European boning knife which I would not recommend to the OP. They are a B!tch to sharpen.

                1. re: ted

                  I have the same knife Ted and it slides down the rib cage with ease.