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monty
03-14-2011, 10:07 PM
Well, I did it to my self. After some phone conversations with Dave last year about how to best sharpen knives for BBQ, especially slicers, I knew better than to get my Forschner slicer (gotta love the cheap stuff when you are living in a 10x10 EZ-up for a weekend) too sharp. But after seeing what my polishing stones can do to a knife, and after testing the knife on paper and getting crazy sharp cuts, if figured, what could it hurt? So I took my 8000x and my strop to a BBQ comp and got my slicer, and my neighbor's slicer, really sharp. Then it happened. I started cutting through my brisket and there was a ton of resistance, worse than any other time in my three years of competition cooking. I chalked it up to bad cooking. But after the comp the neighbor mentioned that his brisket was hard to cut as well. I started explaining that I made the knives too sharp - removing any "teeth." He looked at me like I was crazy. "Too sharp???"

I'm going back to my 1000 stone and I'll never go further on my comp knives.

Am I the only one with this experience?

Dave Martell
03-14-2011, 10:10 PM
My motto is cheap knives = cheap edge! :D


This means I only put a low grit crappy edge on cheap knives because that's all they deserve and that's also what works best on them.

monty
03-14-2011, 10:19 PM
My motto is cheap knives = cheap edge! :D


This means I only put a low grit crappy edge on cheap knives because that's all they deserve and that's also what works best on them.

That helps. I guess I misunderstood. I thought the issue was the meat needing a different edge because of bark etc. I have some better slicers on the way and I look forward to trying them on a whole mess of brisket and pork before my next comp three weeks from now. :cool:

Dave Martell
03-14-2011, 10:40 PM
A better knife will still need a rougher edge for the bark. It's just that as a general rule the cheaper knives won't give any lasting edge if polished too much, they're better off being left rough.

Jim
03-15-2011, 12:56 AM
Amen!

Eamon Burke
03-15-2011, 01:27 AM
Yeah, it's both.

Thats a good story though!

JBroida
03-15-2011, 01:57 AM
yeah... you always want some bite to your edge, but the amount varies by the task at hand. Its important to understand this and be able to adjust... finishing grit, angle, convex, microbevel, thin or thick behind the edge, etc.

monty
03-15-2011, 10:29 AM
I've got a lot to learn!

Darkhoek
03-15-2011, 06:12 PM
yeah... you always want some bite to your edge, but the amount varies by the task at hand. Its important to understand this and be able to adjust... finishing grit, angle, convex, microbevel, thin or thick behind the edge, etc.

That's the whole beauty about sharpening, folks. Getting good at it. Adapt and conquer!

DarkHOeK

monty
03-15-2011, 06:47 PM
yeah... you always want some bite to your edge, but the amount varies by the task at hand. Its important to understand this and be able to adjust... finishing grit, angle, convex, microbevel, thin or thick behind the edge, etc.

So can anyone help me understand the physics of this? Why, for instance, does my cheap, but sharp, yanagi make trimming raw chicken a true joy, while a sharp slicer, albeit a cheap one, makes cutting cooked beef so hard? The issue of bark isn't all that important when it comes to competition brisket because I cut from the bottom of the flat after I have trimmed the fat. There is no bark there. Why does one form of cooked meat need "teeth" while some raw meats benefit from super sharpness? I think if I got a good handle on this I could make better decisions about sharpening. I would also prefer to use sharper knives when slicing to reduce damage to the meat at the cellular level. I am working on the assumption that the cleaner the cut, the better the meat will look, and the better it will retain it's moisture.

olpappy
03-15-2011, 07:49 PM
raw chicken is very soft, almost as soft as say, raw fish, except for the bones. Yanagi are made specifically for raw fish and usually sharpened with a satin finish, unless you have polished it with your high grit stones. Beef has tendons, fascia, connective tissue, etc and offers more resistance, and cooking beef toughens the meat even moreso. On a microscopic level you could liken cooked beef fibers to cutting rope, and serrated edges are great for cutting rope. Hence a toothy edge is good to cut muscle fibers (meat).

Don't think of knives with higher polish as automatically 'sharper' than knives with less polish. How well a knife cuts depends a great deal on the material that is being cut. Knowing the material will help you make the best choices on what edge will work best on it.

monty
03-15-2011, 08:01 PM
Helpful!


raw chicken is very soft, almost as soft as say, raw fish, except for the bones. Yanagi are made specifically for raw fish and usually sharpened with a satin finish, unless you have polished it with your high grit stones. Beef has tendons, fascia, connective tissue, etc and offers more resistance, and cooking beef toughens the meat even moreso. On a microscopic level you could liken cooked beef fibers to cutting rope, and serrated edges are great for cutting rope. Hence a toothy edge is good to cut muscle fibers (meat).

Don't think of knives with higher polish as automatically 'sharper' than knives with less polish. How well a knife cuts depends a great deal on the material that is being cut. Knowing the material will help you make the best choices on what edge will work best on it.

monty
03-15-2011, 08:04 PM
BTW, I should add that I'm going to use this thread as part of my research on slicers for competition BBQ that will be in the summer issue of Smoke Signals. Your thoughts are really helpful. I was talking to Chad Ward about writing about knives, and he reminded me that magazine writers do a lot of learning in public. I suppose that's what I'm doing right now.

Eamon Burke
03-15-2011, 10:31 PM
Cut a plastic bag with your edge, and then you will get a feel for how elasticity creates trouble for even highly polished edges. When you cook beef(or any protein) you will tighten up the proteins and it makes the food more springy, and the micro teeth really help here.

monty
03-15-2011, 10:46 PM
Cut a plastic bag with your edge, and then you will get a feel for how elasticity creates trouble for even highly polished edges. When you cook beef(or any protein) you will tighten up the proteins and it makes the food more springy, and the micro teeth really help here.

That's really a helpful image. Thanks for it!

Kyle
03-16-2011, 12:25 AM
BTW, I should add that I'm going to use this thread as part of my research on slicers for competition BBQ that will be in the summer issue of Smoke Signals. Your thoughts are really helpful. I was talking to Chad Ward about writing about knives, and he reminded me that magazine writers do a lot of learning in public. I suppose that's what I'm doing right now.

Monty, please let me know if you ever find the right slicer. I prefer my Kanemasa suji over my Konosuke for BBQ as it just doesn't feel like the Konosuke will hold up to a brisket. I really love the Konosuke over the Kanemasa for all other tasks but I would like a nice slicer that I can use for BBQ. (This is Kyle Corn from bbq-brethren, BTW).

monty
03-16-2011, 09:43 AM
Kyle,
For the article I'll be testing the Misono Swedish Steel Suji (240mm), Tojiro DP Suji (240mm), a 10" Wusthof Classic, and for some reason Wusthof included an 8" carving knife, so I'll include that as well. I'm trying to limit the knives to the price range that I know BBQ cooks already spend on knives. I would love to include a more traditional wa-suji but due to the cost I decided to skip them for the sake of the article. Probably a mistake but the shipment has been sent to the photographer so it's too late to include one. I wondered if you were here or not. This is a fun place but I sure am finding out how much I have yet to learn!