i would say that if you are going to be doing trimming or anything more intricate, go with a 150mm petty. they are a little more precise but need a bit more experience as they are not going to go through bone as well.
if you are looking for something to fabricate a whole chicken to 5 piece fried chicken cuts or something similar, go with the honesuki. its more of a butchers knife than a precision tool
in my experience, i prefer the petty and even sold my honesuki. i like precision :D
If by trimming and shaping chicken for barbecue, you're talking about cutting the pockets of fat off thighs and trimming extra skin so that when it cooks it shrinks to the size of the thigh, I would recommend a small petty. That's what I use - a Sakai Takayuki 120 mm petty. Although I don't compete, I cook for practice to eventually compete; I'm an avid home barbecuer and KCBS CBJ.
I've never owned a honesuki, but certainly am interested in one, but since you're talking about lifting the skin to remove fat, but leaving the skin intact, you'll need a nimble, small knife to get into those places. A honesuki has a tall profile at the heel, midway, it still might be taller than a petty. So it may be hard to get under the skin without pulling it off, and then cutting out the pockets of fat. If this isn't what you're doing, and you're talking more about breaking chicken down into parts, then a honesuki could be exactly what you're looking for.
Personally, for barbecuing, specifically cutting fat off of briskets and pork butts and shaping ribs, I've felt that a very straight and short (height) blade about 270 would be perfect for these tasks, something like a straight sujihiki (but shorter) and almost like a salmon slicer, so you can really carefully cut the fat down to the right height so that when it cooks, it will leave the just the right amount of fat left on the finished product. This would also be a great knife to separate the flat from the point on briskets and to trim the fat between the point and flat (and all that weird, tripe looking fat there).
I'm finding this great for working with chicken. The balance is right at the front edge of the bolster.
Not to hijack but for those using honesuki's do you prefer a western or wa handle. I'm thinking the beefier western handle would provide better grip but the wa may be more nimble in the hand. Any suggestions/input since I am also in the market for one.
I made mine with a beefy wa handle. It gives a secure grip butt does not get in the way, it works well for MY hands!
Good idea on the thicker wa handle, just trying to imagine what would provide the most secure grip. I do like the wa D shaped handle on my Konosuke HD petty, maybe a thicker version of that.
We ended up going over a bunch of options on the phone, but for the purposes of this thread, i like the following kinds of knives (in no particular order) for trimming chicken-
Other things to consider... as long as you arent hitting a bone, it doesnt need to be a thicker knife. However, thicker isnt going to hurt too much on foods like this because wedging isnt a problem. If you know you wont be hitting hard bone or working on hard poly boards, something between 60-62 hrc might be nice. However, if the knife is going to be hitting bone a bit or woking on crappy boards, 58-59 is nice. Stainless will have better toughness in many cases, so that also should be considered.
FWIW, i've used a 210mm yanagi for this task before and it worked just fine. However, i would probably pick a petty at the end of the day.
well, i didn't mention that i personally use the 210 mioroshi (previously 180 hon deba) along with the gc 150 petty. i find that when the task is a friend chicken type cut the debas work great. i use the petty for work that needs to be accurate and trimmed such as boneless airline half chickens for roasting with the skin on. that would be way to hard for a deba.
I'm thinking of getting a new honesuki, I see your site only lists one and it's out of stock. Is this something I'd need to special order or are you planning on getting more in the future?
I have more on the way... these last two months have been way busier than i had expected and it takes us a little time go get caught back up... so sorry about that.