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Knife for cutting raw chicken?

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I am using a santoku knife (nothing expensive) at the moment that I've tried to sharpen, but when I try to seperate the drumstick from the thigh, or even just cutting the chicken in general, it just feels like I'm using more force than I see being exerted on youtube videos. What I see in videos are knives that slice so cleanly, like a razor blade would. Is the knife I'm using just still too dull?

Is there a knife I should be using that is good for cutting up chickens?

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  1. You might want to drop a few dimes and get the knife professionally sharpened. It's far more crucial that the knife is properly sharpened than the shape or type of the knife itself.

    Also make sure you understand how a chicken goes together -- it's pretty easy if you hit the joints right -- but if you're hacking and swearing, then you haven't gotten it down (yet -- keep practicing.)

    1. Here ya go...He's the best

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAekQ5...
      I like using a paring or boning knife myself.It's more about proper technique than what knife you use..

      5 Replies
      1. re: petek

        That video shows exacly what I mean. Even when he just cuts the meaty areas, the tip of the knife just smoothly moves through it. Mine doesn't do that at all. It's as if the meat were made of rubber. The video makes it look like he's slicing through paper.

        1. re: noil

          "It's as if the meat were made of rubber"
          Time to sharpen your knives...

          1. re: noil

            And yes, that video shows exactly what we mean -- those are professionally-sharpened knives -- murderously sharp -- the very best kind of knife.

            There's also *decades* of practice --- he could do that in his sleep -- and a nearly-photographic image in his mind of the anatomy of the bird.

            It's kinda mindblowing that he's doing that in slow motion -- left to his own devices, I'm guessing he could have that chicken done and dusted in under 5 minutes.

          2. re: petek

            That's an awsome video, from a time where chicken was not treated as a bacteriological danger bomb!!!

            1. re: Maximilien

              i saw him do it live on stage earlier this year. He is very good and even keeps up a monologue while he is doing it.

          3. Noil,

            <What I see in videos are knives that slice so cleanly, like a razor blade would. Is the knife I'm using just still too dull?>

            I have no idea, and I don't think anyone do since we cannot feel or touch your Santoku. In theory, you can use any knife to separate the drumstick from the thigh. Maybe you knife is dull, or maybe you are not using the correct technique and cutting at the proper location.

            I now use a specialize knife to directly cut at the joints. However, not so long along (a year maybe), I preferred to pop the joints and separate them by hands. For example:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOa5gE...

            <Is there a knife I should be using that is good for cutting up chickens?>

            Now, back to your other question about a different knife. Yes, I strongly suggest you to use a different and specialize knife for deboning or jointing the chicken -- especially you do this often. The strongest reason is that deboning can be very demanding on the edge, so a specialized knife will preserve your finer edge on your Santoku.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8371...

            Now, I would recommend you either get a traditional boning knife or a Japanese honesuki knife for your chicken. I personally prefer honesuki over traditional boning knife, but both work.

            1. An excellent knife for using with raw chicken is Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade Boning Knife 6". I have one and it is great to cut through the leg and thigh of chicken and also trimming the breast meat from the bone. I highly recommend it.

              1. It sounds like your Santoku is dull? Do you sharpen it yourself? Is the edge thin like it should be?

                I use a Honesuki and it is a great knife for chicken.

                1. If you're cutting through the meat easily and cleanly but getting caught in the joints, then the problem is your technique. Practice and really learn exactly how the joints are situated so you're cutting cleanly through ligaments rather than into bone and cartilage.

                  If you're not cutting through the meat easily and cleanly, then your problem is a dull knife. How have you been sharpening it?

                  As to whether you need a specialized knife to cut up a chicken? No. Not unless you're cutting through bone. If you can't efficiently break down a chicken with a chefs knife or a santoku, the problem is either your technique or a dull knife.

                  That said, I do enjoy using a more specialized knife for the job, and there's nothing wrong with getting one if you just want to make the process more fun and streamlined. A Western boning knife works quite well. I personally use a honesuki - a Japanese style knife that is both very agile and also very sturdy. It slips into joints with ease, maneuvers around bones with minimal effort, but can also cut through a backbone when the need arises.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    "If you're cutting through the meat easily and cleanly but getting caught in the joints, then the problem is your technique. Practice and really learn exactly how the joints are situated so you're cutting cleanly through ligaments rather than into bone and cartilage."

                    My thoughts exactly. Try cutting through just the meat first, then pulling the joints apart manually (at least partially) to see where they naturally separate. Sometimes you can tell just by flexing the joints lightly (make that bird do some pushups!) and watching to see where the pivot points are. Hitting the right location is much more important than what knife you're using.

                    1. re: BobB

                      I agree with cowboyardee and you. You are also spot on about dislocating the joint. Once the joint is dislocated, then it is no different than cutting through meat. I still think it is nice to have a separate knife just to preserve the edge on the everyday knife (Chef's knife or Santoku or Gyuto...etc). A decent boning knife can be have for $15-20:

                      http://restaurant-supplies.katom.com/...

                      http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutl...

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I use a boning or utility knife mainly just to avoid cross contamination but like you said Chem it preserves your uber sharp vegetable prep knife edge.

                        Much as a good Gyuto slays vegetables and boneless meats, it should be put away for bony stuff. That is where good german knives or Forschners need to come out of the block. they endure rough treatment better and if damaged, fix easier than japanese.

                        As many have said it is about hitting the joints and a utility or boning 5"-6" has a better precision feel for where you are than a 10" chef.

                        Jim

                      2. re: BobB

                        <Sometimes you can tell just by flexing the joints lightly (make that bird do some pushups!) and watching to see where the pivot points are. Hitting the right location is much more important than what knife you're using.>

                        Beat me to it BobB