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Need advice on good knives

smoky bsmoky b Posts: 648
edited 2:08AM in EggHead Forum
Turning 30 in 2 weeks and the folks have offered to buy a knife or a set for my birthday. Of course, I defer to the experts. What is a can't miss (that is reasonably priced)? I do more low and slow than anything, usually needing a good knife for fat trimming on brisket or for separating ribs. Would like to get into spatchcocking and other tricks too.


  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,407
    Graham, check out a few post's below.
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
    LBGE, MBGE, SBGE , MiniBGE and a Mini Mini BGE
    Hi Smoky,

    Your going to find people are as opinionated about knives as everything else. I have three Shun knives, 8" chefs, 6" utility and 4" paring. The smaller two are angled so you don't knock your knuckles on the cutting board.
    They are sharp enough for surgery and will hold an edge for ever. Search the web for prices, they are expensive but will last several live times.


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,590
    Just a note. I wouldn't use any of my good knives for spatch'ing a bird. While there are some fairly heavy knives, like the Japanese "deba" style, that would do the job, and maybe not chip, I've found that a pair of tin snips works really well.

    Most people recommend that, if possible, you actually handle a knife before buying. This is to make sure you like the feel of it in your hand. So perhaps find a store where they will let you handle some of the chef's knives (8" minimum). Then check out online reviews about how well the blade retains sharpness, how easy or hard it is to re-sharpen.

    Also, consider getting at least a honing steel, if not good quality sharpening stones. I have a rather beat-up old Sabatier from the '70s, and after a sharpening session, it will still shave hair off my arm.
  • The Shun line of knives (already mentioned) are great to have! If these are in your price range, go for it!!

    If you are looking for a far less costly alternative, I'd go with Dexter-Russell knives. They aren't flashy, but you will find them in professional kitchens all over the place. You will use these for the rest of your life, or until you decide you want something more appealing to the eye.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,750
    some of my favorite knives are the cheap carbon steel dexter-russells. they make a great fillet knife that is easier to sharpen and takes a better edge than even my global fillet. some of my higher end knives i wouldnt recomend to someone who isnt a fanatic about sharpening, my bunmei oroshi knife took a few hours getting the edge back to where i wanted it and it was already sharp when i started. the dexters are sharp in minutes on a diamond stone. my most used knife is a global single beveled deba, i like the steel used, like the shape, but dont really like the handle(permanent callous on the base of one finger). i dont like full sets, you can get away with just a chef knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife, maybe a fillet knife if you fillet.
  • I'll echo the recommendation to look at Dexter-Russell knives. They'e the only knives Jersey Girl and I use these days. We've received other more expensive knives as gifts and tried them for a while, We've eventually given them away and gone back to using our Dexter-Russels. Restaurant supply houses typically stock lots of patterns and sell them very inexpensively.
  • Graham,

    If you decide to go to a Japanese high carbon knife like the Mac or the Shun (I think) you have to use a ceramic "steel" cause they are harder than a regular steel. I have Macs and Globals but wish I had chosen Shun.



    Caledon, ON


  • I have had some of my Wustoffs for 30 years. They hold an edge forever and sharpen easily. I use my Wustoff shears to Spatchcock the bird and my 3 inch parer to remove the keel bone.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,750
    ive got a 30 year old plus wustoff and a newer high end one, i find the older one better, im not sure they tempered my new one right or if they are all that way but the new one dulls quickly and its a paring knife that i rarely use on the board. how do your newer ones compare to the old ones
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,750
    seems to take years to figure this out, but you keep upgrading thinking the next will be better and then get to the point where you figure out that the cheaper knives work just as good if you treat them right and sharpen them right. heres some dexters, filleted up about 30 fish one weekend and never thought to get the global out, these work better than the global fillet and they are the cheapest in the lineup. :laugh: everyone needs to buy that one expensive knife though so make it the chefs knife and add a paring or boning knife down the road, dont make the mistake of buying a complete set with knives you'll never use.

  • I researched kitchen knives for several months before makeing a purchase recently and ended up with a Shun classic.
    What sold me was the life-time sharpening offered by the company. In an average house you'll probably only need it sharpened every couple of years but they will do it for free and do it CORRECTLY which seems to be a major problem with most high-end cutlery, people screwing up the sharpening process. Worth a look and I bet you won't be disappointed.
  • NoVA BillNoVA Bill Posts: 3,005
    Ditto what Fish said.

    I've been using Wusthof knives I bought in 1976. I bought a set, but all I really use are the chef's, boning and what was called back then a ham knife (doesn't look anythng like the ham knives of today) which is great for going after fat because of it's rounded blade. Bought a santoku but keep going back to the chef's knife.

    Good luck.
  • I don't notice a lot of difference. I use an electric sharpener I got from Chef's Catalogue. Use the power strop a lot after I use dressing steel. You may have gotten a dud.
  • DryFlyDryFly Posts: 351
    Have been using Globals for about 15 years. Scalpel sharp and keep an edge. Have never had to have them sharpened, just honed with a ceramic steel. A Chinese cleaver and good poultry shears are also a must.
  • Don't be ashamed to look at Cutco. They have a great guarantee, they will sharpen your knives free for life, and the quality is high. Some people pooh pooh them because of how they're sold (like vacum cleaners with an in-home demo) I use mine every day while Wusthofs and Henkels lay in the drawer.
  • I’m kind of the old school with hutchybones thoughts regarding thre PO-PO thing.
    I am told that the quality isn’t the same as it once was and I don't any new ones…But I have many older Chicago Cutlery and a few Old Hickory knives in the kitchen. They are great and get picked most often! They hold an edge and I love the feel of them…Could be that I’ve had most of them for better than 30 years, but I do love the feel / balance and the edge!
  • I have a 6 knife set of Henkels five star and four different Shun knives (10" chef, paring, a 11" slicer that I can't remember the name of, and a chinese cleaver style that the name of also escapes me). My wife and I have had the Henkels for years and been very pleased. After getting the Shuns over a few Christmas and birthdays we now have his and hers knives (the Shuns are mine).

    I find that like most things maintenance and use as intended are biggies with knives. My wife could never understand why I would freak out when she cut on our granite tops until I made her stand by me the whole time I sharpened ONE knife. She still doesn't understand why I grab a steel everytime I grab a knife but that's the way of it.

    If you buy a set you will end up with a couple of knives that weren't really necessary. Having said that I have recently seen that some of the 6 knife sets w/block are less expensive than buying the same knifes a la carte - including Shun. If you go one knife at a time, I'd say 8" chef, paring, boning and bread will start you out solid.

    As has been said the lifetime sharpening with Shun is a big deal, especially since they are sharpened to a "non-standard" angle.

    One bit of unsolicited advice - if you haven't learned the proper way to handle and use a kitchen knife - do it - it makes all the difference and will save your knives and fingers.
  • I use all the knifes in my set, but it’s generally because the one I want is dirty. I almost always grab the chef’s knife first, then I’ll need to cut something else but have not cleaned the chef’s knife so I just grab the next one. A perfect set for me would be 3 chef’s knifes, 3 pairing knifes and one bread knife. Never seen a set like that advertized.
    I bought a cheap cheap filet knife complete with plastic handle 20 years ago that is stored with our camping gear. Has always been the sharpest knife in the house.
  • For what it's worth...My advice is to stay away from Cutco... we have a set and seems like we are having to send them in far to frequently to be resharpened.
    Shun and Dexter-Russel are on my "to see" list.
  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,641
    ya know the best thing I've found for a knife is that sharpening pole, couple swipes on each side of the blade and it brings the blade's sharpness back to life......

    t ACGP, Inc.
  • Get one "comerical" boner knife like a Chicigo Cultery for the bone cutting hacking stuff. Keep it reasonably sharp and don't worry about a razer blade. Get one "Japaneese" chef knife or the equal for the fine work. I love my Hatorri. Supper hard steel and to really get an edge I use a waterstone. These are not throw in te sink knifes but when sharpened to what they are cappable of they are like holding a lazer in your hand.
  • I agree with the above posts. Let me reiterate what one person said. You need to like the way a knife feels in your hand to want to use it. I have a local Williams Sonoma and tried some knives out there. I read reviews on Amazon and was sure that I would want the Ken Onion 8 inch shun knife. It felt too big to me and I opted for the 5 inch utility knife which is a beautiful, well balanced knife. I love it. I prefer the Ken Onion curved handle to the D-shaped straight handle knives. Once again, it's personal preference and depends on the size and shape of your hand. Find a good kitchen store and have a good look.
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