What to Look for in a Butcher Knife

Cutting, slicing, breaking, scraping – a good butcher knife has many uses and should be a staple in any amateur cook or chef’s arsenal.

Even if you don’t like being involved in the kitchen but regularly cook meat on your Best Electric Smoker, your life will be made invariably easier with a good cutting implement at hand.

You shouldn’t just purchase any old piece of sharp metal. There are things to look for if you want something that’ll be your go-to knife for years to come when it comes to chopping meat.

Handling

A good butcher knife should feel comfortable to use. It should fit in your hand easily, feel sturdy, and provide a safe amount of space between the cutting edge and the area where your hand grips the handle. Generally, a butcher knife should be heavier than your other knives and have a good balance. If you are trying to cut meat to go in your smoker from the BBQ Smoker Buyer Guide and the blade is too light or small, you better delay your BBQ because it can take forever cutting lean meats with an unsuitable knife. In most cases, the blade should be between 5 and 7 inches long (about 13 to 18 centimetres).

Blade composition

The composition of a knife’s blade and the way it was manufactured are very important if you want to find a decent butcher knife. You should only buy blades that are made from high carbon stainless steel. This type of metal prevents staining and also helps guard against rust, as well as other types of corrosion, which are excellent qualities in a butcher knife.

When it comes to how the blade was manufactured, there are only really two high carbon stainless steel options you should consider. Stamped steel blades are one of the choices and they are cut or stamped from a single sheet of steel. The other option is a forged steel blade, which are manufactured from steel that is heated to a high temperature and then formed into the shape of the blade. Forged blades are heavier and generally assumed to be sturdier. So unless you have extremely feeble wrists, I’d give a slight edge to a heavier forged blade if I had to choose between the types.

Handle

Believe it or not, the the handle of a butcher knife is also a good indicator of a butcher knife’s level of quality. So as well as looking at the marks on the blade, have a close examination of the handle to try and figure out what it is made from. Handles can be made from many materials, with wood and polymer (and other similar synthetic materials) being the most common. I would recommend a rosewood handle design, for the weight and balance. Be careful though, as wooden handle knives shouldn’t be left soaking in water or placed in a dishwasher as this can warp the shape of the handle.

Knife Sharpening 101

Having a sharp knife is one of the most important aspects of owning a knife. If you take care of your knife address all the needed maintenance, your high quality knife can last a lifetime or even longer. Safety is another key aspect to consider. If you use a dull knife, the more force is required to cut any object and in most cases a dull knife is more likely to slip off the object to be cut.  So when you put all this together you end up with a dangerous situation where you end up potentially cutting yourself. In addition, a cut from a dull knife takes longer to heal than a cut from a sharp knife (even though you’re less likely to cut yourself with a sharp knife).

A sharp knife starts with choosing a high quality piece of cutlery.  There are a lot of different ways to pick out a knife.  To keep it simple, you can assume that you get what you pay for.  The bigger the knife the more expensive since there are more raw materials so an 8″ chef’s knife will cost more than a 4″ paring knife.  A more expensive knife will usually also have a higher quality steel alloy.  A good alloy will keep the knife from rusting, make it sharp, and help to keep it from getting dull too quickly.  In many cases, the higher quality knife brands have sharper angles, like the Wusthof PEtec.

Next, you should use a sharpening steel on your knife before each use.  You should also use the sharpening steel after you clean and dry your knives.  This will keep the microscopic edge of the knife aligned.  Each time you use the sharpening steel you keep the cutting edge very straight and a straight cutting edge means a sharp knife.

There are several types of knife sharpening systems from simple whetstones to whetstones with angle guides to rod guide systems to manual systems to full automated electric sharpeners.  For a full discussion on the different kinds of knife sharpeners check out this article.  The most basic systems are much cheaper and offer more flexibility but they take much longer to actually sharpen a knife.  The more automatic systems, like an electric knife sharpener, are more expensive in some cases and may only sharpen your knife at one preset angle.  That might not be a big deal but the huge advantage of an electric knife sharpener is that you can fully sharpen a dull knife in 90 seconds to 2 minutes.  It’s truly amazing.

Knives Versus Rifles – What’s the Best Combat Choice?

 

When it comes to combat and self protection, the survivalist has a variety of choices to make. Different

weapons have different advantages depending on the situation. But what if you can choose only one?

Which is a better combat choice, knives or rifles? First let’s take a look at a video with two experts

dueling out the debate first hand.

Let’s talk about knives first. Knives are easy to carry and easy to conceal. For these reasons they are

great if you are on the move. It’s also pretty easy to carry more than one knife with you on the go.

Knives are also reusable and don’t require any extra items (like ammo) to use them. They’re perfect for

up-close combat. Knives also have other uses — like game cleaning, brush clearing, etc — besides combat

which makes them a great survival and hunting tool. The downsides to knives is that, in combat us, they

can only be used up close. That means you have to let whatever is attacking you get within arms reach –

unless you get really good at throwing knives, but that can be risky.

In contrast, rifles can take out an attacker from much farther away. This is the biggest advantage rifles

have over knives. If you have the opportunity and forewarning, it can be much safe to take out a target

from yards away rather than waiting until they are close enough to fight with a knife. The downsides

to rifles is that they are more bulky to carry so it’s not easy to be on the move with more than one.

Guns, while more deadly than knives, need ammo to be useful. If you run out of ammo, the gun proves

useless.

So how can you decide which is best for your needs? Check out perfectaim.net to learn more about firearms and weapons. There

are plenty of great facts here about rifles, weapons, and accessories to help you make the

purchase that is best for your needs. If you decide a rifle is the way to go for your, perfectaim.com can

provide you with comparisons and loads of helpful facts about choosing the right firearm and firearm

accessories.

Not only is it loaded with facts about firearms, perfectaim.net offers up helpful articles on choosing the

right scope for your rifle. Once you have picked out the perfect rifle, you want to be sure you have the

best aim possible. A scope will help you tremendously in marking your targets. A long range rifle with

the perfect scope will help you actually avoid a lot of combats you may have had to deal with up close

otherwise. Nobody says you can’t have a knife for backup too if for some reason your rifle doesn’t do

the trick long distance. What do you think is the better combat weapon — knives or rifles?

Japanese Knife Sets

Japan is known for its fine cutlery and there is a long history of fine sword and knife craftsmanship.  Sushi chef’s are known to have very sharp knives.  Most Japanese knives have a chisel ground meaning that they are flat on one side and have an angle on the other. The result is a very, very sharp knife edge.  Here is a review some some Shun knife sets. Here are some specific types of Japanese knives:

  • Yanagi
  • Takobiki
  • Fugubiki
  • Usuba
  • Kamagata Usuba
  • Deba

Which is mightier the sword or the pen?

Tactical Pens

Gerber-Impromptu-Tactical-Pen-2-200x200Knives are multi-purpose tools which can provide whoever is using the knife a variety of uses. For example, a Japanese knife can cut a variety of different foods with extreme precision while it can also double as a self-defence weapon. This makes the knife more valuable as it has multiple uses, particularly as a self-defence tool in times of need. Studies have shown that in a self-defence situation, the tool closest to you will be the most handy; wouldn’t it be nice if it was a Japanese knife?

In a self-defence situation, it will be unlikely that you have a tool such as a knife to defend yourself with. This is why I recommend carrying a tactical pen with you at all times to provide yourself piece of mind wherever you go! A tactical pen is similar to a Japanese knife because they are both multi-functional tools. Tactical pens are designed primarily as a high quality writing utensil.

They can be used upside down right or right side up; they can be used in a variety of different environmental situations such as rain or snow, and they are extremely durable. The durability of a tactical pen can be credited to its anodized aluminum exterior which is designed to be both lightweight and fracture proof.  For this reason, tactical pens are carried daily by people in the military and other professional careers.

Beyond the primary design, a good tactical pen are also designed to be self-defence tools. Pens make a great self-defence tool as people tend to carry a pen with them most places anyways. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that the tool closest to you in a self-defence situation will help you the most.

With most brands, one end will be chiselled and able to pierce flesh if need be – to see an overview of tactical pens click here. Hopefully, you will never need to actually use the tactical pen to pierce flesh but if necessary, it’s good to know you have a tool with you. Beyond the chiselled cap, tactical pens will also have ‘glass-breaker,’ tools built in which will allow you to break glass in the case of an emergency situation. This can obviously be extremely helpful beyond a self-defence situation as events such as vehicle accidents can often require glass to be broken.

Finally, another feature I like about tactical pens is their ability to travel. Unlike Japanese knives, a tactical pen can be carried anywhere including on airplanes and other public places. And since you never know when you’ll need to use self-defence, it’s best to have a tool which will be reliable in any situation.

The Ninjas In The Kitchen

The word is one that crops up everywhere. Children especially enjoy stories of ninjas, and the name is found on everything from tires to knives. In looking at ninja blender reviews, or pursing ads for other stealthy kitchen gadgets the question might crop up regarding why the western world is so fascinated by this eastern legend. While taking the knife from the drawer and slicing up fruit the name on the blender can cause one to wonder what was real and what was a myth?

 

ninja blender reviews ninja knivesSpy Stories

 

The ninja fascinates because in every culture it seems there is a love for spy stories. While in reality the lot of spies who are discovered is usually grim, the myths are still spine tingling and intriguing. The ninjas in being so dedicated to the craft of the covert mercenary are even more interesting than Ian Fleming’s James Bond, because these stories are true, and the heroes in these stories used stealth, cunning, and highly trained martial arts instead of high tech gadgetry.

 

Secret Warrior Cult

 

The ninjas were in fact a type of secret warrior cult, and as strange as it sounds while their duties included espionage, infiltrating an enemy’s home, and sabotage as well as assassination they lived by a highly developed code of honor. During the Sengoku or “warring states” period the Japanese culture was impacted by interaction with outside cultures, and a break down in it’s own governing system. Of course folklore tells a different story with the ninjas having descended from a demon half man and half crow. Historians believe this group of warriors was in fact a slowly developed response to the samurai the upper-class enforcers during the early feudal system in areas controlled by Japan. Chinese monks who fled the declining Tang Dynasty and immigrated into Japan, in fact heavily inspired the ninjas. These monks brought new medicines, political thought, and martial arts into the culture inspiring a new philosophy embraced by the ninjas.

 

Function over Style

 

The style of fighting between the samurai warriors and the ninjas were in sharp contrast. In a battle the samurai arrived in bright colors, announced their intent to do battle and loudly listed their accomplishments. Their code called Bushido would ultimately fail, not for a lack of bravery or ability, but in the face of a more diverse and changing culture. For the ninja the goals, and fighting styles were very different. Many of the ninjas were disgraced or disgruntled samurai, but others were laypeople, villagers, and farmers with no links to nobility as with the samurai.

 

For the ninja style and bravo meant little. For this group of warriors the battles were seldom evenly matched, and they typically fought with few resources other than their talents and wits. Unable to arrive in mass and use this form of intimidation, they used a different level of fighting instead. One warrior alone would enter an environment in which this individual would act alone to create chaos and terror for the enemy. The ninja arsenal contained no long swords, and they uttered no battle cry. In the morning those left alive would find the target of the ninja’s plan had silently succumbed to the ninja’s skill.

 

In Modern Times

 

The name ninja lives on even through the skills and arts were secrets these warriors took to their graves. Cut into small pieces the fruit is slide delicately into the blender bearing the name of ancient fighters. The blades swirl in a dizzying fury and various tart and sweet smells blend together in one appetizing aroma. Here it’s possible to find a solitary commitment to function, and economy of movement, so perhaps the use of this legend is an apt one after all.

Finding Old Japanese Swords with a Metal Detector

The use of a metal detector for various artifacts has been a practice done as a hobby for years now. Finds range from small coins to finding old Japanese swords buried and almost left to be forgotten.

Swords are an integral part of the samurai history of Japan. Katanas were the primary weapon of samurais. However, since the culture of samurais has been long abolished in favor of automated and advanced military options, the way of the sword has been almost forgotten. Due to the use of metal detector as an archaeological tool, however, old Japanese swords have been rediscovered and dug up, preserving the almost forgotten sword culture of Japan.

 3- japanesse sword

Photo Credit

Metal Detector Hobby

The use of metal detectors as a hobby has been an occurrence for quite some time now. Some people continue to use these devices in prospecting for valuable metals such as gold nuggets or gold flakes. Others, as amateur archaeological hobbyists, use a metal detector in searching for undiscovered underground archaeological sites. As many people use these metal detectors, various artifacts have been found underground. Examples range from old coins to full body armors. And with the advancing technologies, these metal detectors are similarly advancing as well. Pursuing metal detecting is a great way to spend more time with your family according to my http://www.mytreasuremetaldetector.com/

Japanese Sword History

The Japanese has a significant sword culture that has been in existence for more than a thousand years. Due to the changes in the methods of battle, the traditional Japanese sword has similarly undergone a certain evolution, making them more functional throughout their changes. These old traditional Japanese swords have continually exhibited the highest quality of production and craft. While the sword culture of Japan is not as prolific as it was, there still remains a keen interest in this craft. Collectors seeking the oldest and the sturdiest of these swords still flock to auction houses, finding rare swords that anyone would want to have in their collections.

Old Japanese Swords and Metal Detectors

Due to the advancing of combat and war methods, the sword culture of Japan was almost forgotten in favor of guns and other automatic warfare methods. As this is the case, most swords were left in storage or simply left buried. While this might seem as a loss, metal detector enthusiasts have practically struck gold due to the loss of favor of these swords.

Collectors of old Japanese swords have resorted to metal detecting to find rare swords that are left buried underground. Not only have these enthusiasts discovered old Japanese swords, but they have also discovered other artifacts such as body armors. However, these swords, despite being almost forgotten, still command a great amount of attention. Because of the strong past sword culture in Japan, many individuals have strived to gain and collect some of the rare swords from different eras of Japan, ranging from the most ancient Jokoto period swords up to the advances in sword technology during the Mongol Invasion of Japan.

Truly, metal detecting has helped greatly in rediscovering these old Japanese swords and in helping preserve the long standing sword tradition of Japan.

Japanese Deep Fried Dishes

Agemono, or deep fried dishes, are fairly popular in Japan, as it’s likely that you have tried them in your local Japanese restaurant. While many people associate Japanese food with raw fish in various forms (sushi), there are a wide variety of meals that are common in Japan.

Many of these dishes require the finest blades from the best Japanese knives to be made just right, as much of Japanese cuisine is based on simple, yet elegant presentation and a respect for the food. A dull knife will always treat the food poorly, which is a disrespectful practice.

Here are some of the top deep fried dishes:

Karaage

This is as basic as it comes. Karaage is simply a way of cooking food in oil that has been cut into small pieces and marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and then lightly dusted with an outer coating like flour. This is usually done with chicken, but it’s not uncommon to see other things like fish and meat.

This is actually quite a similar technique to tempura.

Nanbanzuke

Nanbanzuke might have a hilarious translation (southern barbarian pickle!) but it’s basically a fried fish in vinegar.

There are other dishes like this from other countries and cultures, but you will frequently see salmon or mackerel fried (either whole or in pieces) and then marinated for a while in vinegar and other ingredients to get the right taste.

It is certainly much different than many North American fried dishes, but a refreshing meal, to be sure.

Korokke

First step, cook meat, fish, or veg. Then, chop it up nicely and combine with potatoes in mashed form (or a white sauce, though we prefer the potato method).

Roll your concoction in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs like you would for other fried foods. Flatten your patty and then fry it in oil to get a crisp, golden outside.

This is the local variant of the Portuguese croquette, and is a very charming little bit of food that goes very nicely with a wide variety of foods. You can eat them as-is, put them into a sandwich, put them on top of other foods (like soups and salads), and they’re actually sold on the street sometimes, in the same way that North Americans might enjoy food truck items.

Tempura!

Tempura is one of the most well known deep fried Japanese foods.

Basically, it’s just food that has been battered and deep fried. Unlike many American dishes, it is very common to put vegetables into the mix. It would be very easy to try at home if you had a deep fryer, which we recommend you do at least look at, particularly from our friends at Fryer HQ. It is a wonderful thing to make these tasty foods in your own kitchen, and it is much less expensive than going out each time you crave this delicious style of cooking.

As you can see, many of these dishes come in smaller quantities. This means it is important that each morsel of food is exquisitely prepared, and one simply cannot prepare in this manner without the top knives. Read our other posts for more information on the Knives of Japan.

How Caterers Can Pack Their Cars Efficiently

We caterers have enough on our plate (pun intended). We shouldn’t have to worry too much about having to jam pack our cars full of food, tables, and utensils, and getting everything to the gig without damaging the food or the equipment. My wife and I just started our own catering business. When we first started out, we had a smaller sedan. This seems a little ridiculous to try and do this sort of work out of a sedan. However, the car is all we had, and we knew we wanted to do this together.

Since then, we have upgraded to a vehicle that can better support our business. Although this is still not the most ideal vehicle, it’s still much better than the small car we were using. However, for the year we did use that small car, we slowly became experts in packing the car with all of our catering utensils and of course the food.

We have put together a short list of tips for when you pack your car full of catering paraphernalia.

  • Upgrade: if possible at all, upgrade to a van or a large SUV with fold down seats. This will create the obvious room that is putting you in this position in the first place. You can write this off as a business expense, which will help as a tax write-off. This is obviously best case scenario. Our first upgrade was from a sedan to a older style fan. It wasn’t a big upgrade, but any extra space helps.
  • Placement: we know upgrading isn’t always an option for you. If this is the case, you need to focus on placement of the food and gear. When we were catering out of our sedan, we would fill the backseat and trunk with the bins of food, we would tie the tables to the top if the venue didn’t have any, and even then, we still had to make two trips from time to time. If you are forced to take this route, make sure you do a pyramid type stack up. You want meats on the bottom, bread on the top, study vegetables and starchy vegetables in the middle. Additionally, you want all your cooking equipment in the front passenger seat if possible or on the floor.
  • Attachments: try and invest in some extras for your car that might help you pack the gear better. A roof rack will help you carry tables if needed. A trunk rack will also help you carry other necessary gear. Also, some high-quality bungee cords or a bungee net will make your life quite a bit easier.

These are a few of the things that helped us get through the first year of our start-up. We have since upgraded to a few large vans as our company has grown. However, we still try to make it a point to appreciate where we began and help others during the process. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment. We wish you the best of luck during this period!

Using the Right Knives to Chop Skin-Healthy Foods

I received an amazing set of Japanese chef’s knives for Christmas and I could not be more excited about them. I am in culinary school and my cooking style is geared towards all natural, organic foods that target specific areas of the body to improve health. I am currently studying about the effects of fruits and vegetables on the health and appearance of skin. This is the perfect topic to be studying and a great area to train in with my new set of knives as different fruits and vegetables require different ways of cutting them. I am going to break down the different types of knives I use, which vegetables or fruits they are best used to cut and throw in a bit of bonus information about how they benefit the skin. It will be the ultimate culinary learning trifecta.

The first and smallest of my new Japanese knife set is the Petty knife, which is similar to an American paring knife. I have found that the use of my Petty knife is best for the cutting delicate strawberries and tomatoes. Tomatoes and strawberries have great health benefits and are important to skin health. Strawberries promote skin brightness and tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants that aid in anti-aging as well as acne cures when the pulp is applied directly to the skin.

A more substantial and sturdy knife that I received is a Santoku knife. This is one of my favorite knives because it is very easy to handle, not too heavy and has a super sharp blade. I use this knife to cut thicker and harder vegetable such as carrots and beets. These also happen to be my favorite vegetables to aid in skin health and appearance. You would be amazed at the powerful health punch they each possess when eaten. Carrots are rich in many skin healthy vitamins and antioxidants along with containing natural anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of vitamins A and C with beta carotene helps with inflammation, gives skin a glowing and more youthful appearance and fights against wrinkles. Beets contain a really powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin that reduces inflammation and can even help stop the signs of aging.

The most common knife I received in my Japanese knife set is the Gyuto which is commonly known in America as a chef’s knife. The Gyuto is really the most versatile knife available and can cut virtually anything. It is both lightweight and incredibly durable. I truly find myself using this knife most often and especially when I am cutting sweet potatoes and apples. Sweet potatoes are usually very difficult to cut as they are extremely hard, but I am easily able to slice through them with my Gyuto. I am particularly fond of sweet potatoes for their antioxidant and vitamin rich nature as they are seriously packed with mega amounts of potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin A and beta carotene. The combination of antioxidants and vitamins gives skin a much needed boost from the inside out. Talk about a super food! Apples contain a surprising amount of antioxidants as well and are reported to aid in the firming and toning of skin.