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View Full Version : Santoku as primary knife?



jonhaber
10-21-2012, 05:43 PM
Hi all, sorry for starting so many threads today. I tried searching but couldn't find a thread about this.

I know there is a lot of love for gyutos in this form but was just wondering if anyone uses a santoku as their primary knife and if so why the santoku over the gyuto.

:)

stevenStefano
10-21-2012, 06:09 PM
I wouldn't recommend this at all. For one, the gyuto shape is much more versatile than the santoku. Another reason is that santokus only go to like 18 or 21 cm, which is too small I think, as I said in your other thread. I don't really get santokus to be honest

GlassEye
10-21-2012, 06:16 PM
A longer gyuto paired with a nakiri could outperform the santoku in every way, in my opinion. If space is that much an issue, get shorter gyuto. If it is the longer size your are worried about, a well designed knife has always felt, to me, more nimble and easier to use than a shorter poorly designed knife.

Pensacola Tiger
10-21-2012, 06:23 PM
I have to admit that the first Asian style knife I used was a Wüsthof Grand Prix 7" santoku. It was what got me interested in Japanese knives. When I got my first gyuto, a 240 Kagayaki VG10 from JCK, I put away the santoku and never went back to using one, although I did buy (and sell) a Hattori HD and a Tosagata.

The only possible reason I could see for using one now would be if I was in extremely cramped quarters, like a boat galley or a studio apartment with 11" countertops. Even then, I'd opt for a 180 gyuto.

Having said all that, the choice of a primary knife is a personal one. If a santoku works for you, that's great.

Rick

SpikeC
10-21-2012, 07:41 PM
On of my sisters gave me a Wustof santoku once. it sits in a drawer, my wife uses it rarely, and if sis comes over she might pick it up, butt I find it annoying. I prefer my old Victorinox chefs over it!

Mike9
10-21-2012, 07:48 PM
I used one on and off for a couple of years and tried to like it, but a Gyuto is really a much better tool IMO. I tried a Shun Classic, but gave it to my wife.

El Pescador
10-21-2012, 07:56 PM
A santoku is a knife by committee-it does many things okay, but nothing well.

NO ChoP!
10-21-2012, 08:43 PM
Before I started hanging around forums I used a Mac mighty santoku for years and loved it. Still use it at home and still think its wonderful.

tgraypots
10-21-2012, 08:47 PM
Before I started hanging around forums I used a Mac mighty santoku for years and loved it. Still use it at home and still think its wonderful.
I used a MAC Superior for several years and finally gave it to my sister, who loves it. Thin, sharp, light and agile, I still think for many people it is a great knife.

cclin
10-21-2012, 10:14 PM
I love santoku, its more easy to handling than gyuto. the shorter & wider blade make it a great utility knife for home cooking! however, I won't use Santoku as primary knife..... I paired 165mm santoku with my 240mm gyuto!

Zwiefel
10-21-2012, 10:19 PM
I think I'd rather use a petty as my all purpose blade than a santoku....They never feel right to me.

Deckhand
10-21-2012, 10:24 PM
Buy a 240mm gyuto. Then, figure out what you want for a next knife.

TamanegiKin
10-22-2012, 12:16 AM
Imo there isn't a single thing a santoku does better than a 240 gyuto with a good profile.
The santoku tip isn't as effective as a gyuto and because of the shorter overall length it'll struggle with larger stuff.
A longer knife is needed as an all arounder, much easier to slice a protein cleanly with a longer blade.
If I were to have one knife it would be a gyuto anywhere from 240 to 270. After that I'd add a 180 petty.
Just my two cents.

ThEoRy
10-22-2012, 01:01 AM
I'll take no for a thousand Alex.

jaybett
10-22-2012, 06:13 AM
Its easy to go round and round, trying to chose the right knife, what type, what size, etc.... The kinds of food a person likes to cook, the amount, and the type of kitchen are the biggest factors in deciding what knife to purchase.

Restaurant cooks, prepare a variety of foods, in large amounts, as quickly as possible. A Santoku to a pro cook, is almost unthinkable. It's too short to do large amounts of prep. Plus it doesn't excel, at any particular cut, so it doesn't give pro cooks a reason to put them in their bags.

Home Cooks are free to chose, whatever knife they want. My first Japanese knife, was a Santoku. It was light, agile, and very sharp. The wide blade, made it easy to scoop off the board and into a bowl. The first few family parties, quickly showed that it was not a good knife, even when prepping food for as few as ten people. Throw teenagers or young adults into that mix, and the number quickly goes down.

Unless a home kitchen is designed by a cook, they tend to be small and not very well organized. I found it uncomfortable to use a gyuto in these kitchens, especially when cooking for a family gathering or party, with adults and kids running in and out of the kitchen.

I needed a small knife, that could prep large amounts of food, and if I got bumped, wouldn't send Grandma to the emergency room. This need, led me to the knife forums, where I read about full size cleavers. They quickly became my main knife. An unexpected benefit to learning how to use full size cleavers, is that they make other types of knives feel small, and more controllable.

Does the food, you like to cook, need a lot of chopping? A gyuto, cleaver or nakiri, might be a good choice. Are you a vegetarian? Then a nakiri would be at the top of the list. Eat fish on a regular basis? Then you will want to look at a slicer. How many people do you cook for? If its only a few, then any knife from a petty to a gyuto will work. Do you like to cook for groups? Its easier to prep large amounts of food, with a bigger knife. How much room do you have in the kitchen?

The more questions you can answer about your needs, the easier it will be to choose the right knife.

Jay

eaglerock
10-22-2012, 08:59 AM
I have a DP santoku that i use sometimes at home. as other said, it is ok for vegetables. but it will never beat a gyuto or a nikiri.

Korin_Mari
10-22-2012, 12:17 PM
Its really a personal preference. People who tend to chop more than use the belly of the knife as leverage, tend to like santokus more. They only come in smaller sizes (7" or 8"), so its really nice for small kitchen spaces.

Honestly though, its better to get used to larger knives if you have the space for it. It become much handier in the end. Personally, I like chef knives better.

echerub
10-22-2012, 01:44 PM
I like using santoku from time to time, but I'm really not sure that I'd want to use it as my only or primary knife. However, that's because I know I have other options available.

During those times when I have no other choice - like when I'm visiting family/friends abroad and only have a santoku or something like it with me - then I actually don't mind. Sure, there are dishes I might want to make where I wish I had more length, but at least I have a knife to use that has a good edge, feels good, and does a better job than practically anything I might borrow from the others' kitchens.

For a week or two at a time, I don't mind using a santoku as a primary/only. My fiancee still uses her santoku as her only knife for prep. I think if your circumstances or preferences lead you to a santoku in a home kitchen environment there's nothing wrong with it. It's just that for most of us we have other options and very often we'll choose those other options... but not everyone has the space, inclination or comfort to use a 240 or 270 gyuto or cleaver or whatever.

keithsaltydog
10-22-2012, 09:08 PM
:spin chair:I like these threads,pro & con on Santoku:2cents:

I would not call the Santoku a poor design,they have become one of the most popular types of blade for good reason.They work well in tight spaces,a fact of life for most people around the world living in cities.Even the Germans & French are making them now.They have good knuckle clearence & as mentioned work well for forward chop cuts.

I would be first to admit that I never used a Santoku in a production Kitchen.I have used my Takagi Honyaki 240 drop nose Gyuto alot,because of it's excellent edge holding.I like the flatter edge profile on the drop nose.I also like cleavers.Most of my cutting is forward push & chop cuts.Rock cuts like splitting Lobster,can be done easy wt. the tip of a drop nose or cleaver.How do you think the Chinese cut up everything going in the wok,using just cleavers?

The Santoku is like a shorter drop nose gyuto,they range fr. total crap stainless to high quality culinary steel.

VoodooMajik
10-23-2012, 10:15 PM
A longer gyuto paired with a nakiri could outperform the santoku in every way, in my opinion. If space is that much an issue, get shorter gyuto. If it is the longer size your are worried about, a well designed knife has always felt, to me, more nimble and easier to use than a shorter poorly designed knife.

+1, There isn't much I can't tackle with a Nakiri/270 combo. I find myself moving to a more minimalist mind set these days, having figured this out.

Canadian
10-24-2012, 01:09 AM
I think I'd rather use a petty as my all purpose blade than a santoku....They never feel right to me.

x2.

A 6" petty would be more useful as a small all-purpose knife.

cclin
10-24-2012, 02:48 AM
I wonder how do you chop food with narrow blade like petty:dontknow:?? In japan, petty is like fruit knife; santoku is more all-purpose/home-chef's knife!!

x2.

A 6" petty would be more useful as a small all-purpose knife.

brainsausage
10-24-2012, 04:14 AM
I wonder how do you chop food with narrow blade like petty:dontknow:?? In japan, petty is like fruit knife; santoku is more all-purpose/home-chef's knife!!

Have to agree. I use my petty strictly for trimming proteins. I'd rather use a santoku(even though I don't really care for them) as my all purpose over a petty, any day. Potato prep alone should make you think twice about that one...

brainsausage
10-24-2012, 04:19 AM
All that being said- I'd take a Chukabocho over all the rest if I was forced to pick.

cclin
10-24-2012, 09:28 AM
All that being said- I'd take a Chukabocho over all the rest if I was forced to pick.
+1..+1..:lol2: I'm Asian, I used Chinese cleaver all my cook life! I think small vegetable cleaver or medium all-purpose cleaver is best all-around knife for kitchen. only draw back is it won't do good for slicing job due to short blade:(

megapuff5
10-24-2012, 02:31 PM
Hi all, sorry for starting so many threads today. I tried searching but couldn't find a thread about this.

I know there is a lot of love for gyutos in this form but was just wondering if anyone uses a santoku as their primary knife and if so why the santoku over the gyuto.

:)

I am new here, we use a shun santoku as our primary knife but after reading on this forum we may try a gyuto

Benuser
10-24-2012, 03:39 PM
I am new here, we use a shun santoku as our primary knife but after reading on this forum we may try a gyuto
You better find out what is exactly what you dislike about your santoku. Too short, too flat, tip too low, too blunt?? It allows you to make a better choice. A lot of gyutos and a lot of santokus have a lot in common.

Lucretia
10-24-2012, 06:01 PM
Fortunately as a home cook I'm not restricted to a "primary knife". I have a couple santokus and use them regularly. It just depends on what I'm doing and what knife makes me happy at the moment.

chinacats
10-24-2012, 06:38 PM
Fortunately as a home cook I'm not restricted to a "primary knife". I have a couple santokus and use them regularly. It just depends on what I'm doing and what knife makes me happy at the moment.

+1

JasonD
10-24-2012, 07:50 PM
I know it's not the popular opinion around here, but I don't mind using a santoku. I really like a lot more blade height when I'm chopping up veggies, and if you're in a smaller space, santokus usually run much taller for a given length. I also tend to use santokus that have a bit more of a tip to them, but every knife has it's limits.

For me santoku is good in small spaces, nice knuckle clearance, and decent utility over a nakiri with a pointy tip. I still like gyuto better, but I started out with a little santoku and that thing still kicks ass.

Alpncook
10-25-2012, 12:33 AM
I like my 180 santoku. For me, it's more of a wide petty than a replacement for my gyutos. Handy for smaller prep jobs and nice to have the width for scooping. But like most everyone else a 240 gyuto would be my desert island tool. Though I might reconsider that once I find a good cleaver.

keithsaltydog
10-25-2012, 07:02 AM
I know it's not the popular opinion around here, but I don't mind using a santoku. I really like a lot more blade height when I'm chopping up veggies, and if you're in a smaller space, santokus usually run much taller for a given length. I also tend to use santokus that have a bit more of a tip to them, but every knife has it's limits.

For me santoku is good in small spaces, nice knuckle clearance, and decent utility over a nakiri with a pointy tip. I still like gyuto better, but I started out with a little santoku and that thing still kicks ass.

Yep we are in the minority here,thats OK,You can use forward push cut,chop,draw slicing cuts, the compact santoku is user friendly & can tackle many cutting duties.It does have a tip,not a upward sweeping blade edge as in western style knives.For it's short length there is more blade on the board,that's why it cuts as well as it does.

How can you call a blade that kicks ass,versitility in a small package a poor design?To me those European heavy knives wt. thick bolisters(what are they good for,punching holes in cans?)running the length of the heel,making correct heel sharpening impossible,now that is poor design!

I am not saying that a Santoku is better than a Gyuto,I have worn down a few Gyuto's over the yrs.I will say that when I first started using Cleavers they did not feel as natural at first comming fr. a Gyuto background.As my cleaver skills increased(thanks to my buddy Tin Fu)I begain to appreciate what a great tool the cleaver is.It's not that the cleaver did not have alot of capabilities,My skills were not developed to push it to it's potential.

:aloha: