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Yanagiba as all-purpose slicer?
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Thread: Yanagiba as all-purpose slicer?

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    Yanagiba as all-purpose slicer?

    Would you use a yanagiba for all slicing jobs, or does it really only make sense for fish?

    I understand sujihikis are usually preferred as all-rounders, but I'd like to try single-bevels.

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    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    I like it for other boneless items like flank and hanger steak or pork tenderloins. But not for carving roasted beef tenderloins. Crusty meats are a bit rough on the edge.
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    Senior Member jackslimpson's Avatar
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    I've been experimenting with my yanagiba as a general purpose slicer. I just sliced through a smoked brisket, and found it useful. It's a right-handed yanagiba. So, the real trouble I had was slicing with my right hand, while holding the meat with my left, where the slice fell to the left, and the meat to be sliced was to the right. I had to cross my hands over. Raw fish is heavy and grippy enough to accomodate the normal way these knives are used: slice falls to the left onto or guided by your left hand, where the rest of the fish is immobile to your right, should you be slicing with your right hand. Does this make sense? Essentially, using the yanagi to slice the brisket as I would a piece of salmon would have the blade pulling the brisket along with the blade. I had to nail it down by reaching over with my left hand. A sujihiki would eliminate this problem, as I would slice with my right, and hold the bulk of the meat to the left, while the slices fell to the right. Also, the yanagi performs best when the width of the item cut is less than a third of the lenght of the blade, so you have plenty of blade to draw while pushing down slightly to complete the slice. The brisket was wide, so caused me to have to lift my 270mm yanagi up, forward, and back again. This is a bunch of words that may sound confusing, but you'll know instantly when you try it.

    I never worried much about cutting into the meat, as long as the crust, if any, wasn't too hard. I'd console myself with breaking out the stones for a pleasureable sharpening session on my JNats. I definitley avoid bones, though.

    I've had the most success with cooked boneless chicken, cooked pork tenderloin, brisket, hanger steak.

    Cheers,

    Jack

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    This makes a lot of sense actually. I didn't think of it... Major impediment to using a yanagiba as a general-purpose slicer.

    I suppose the way to solve it would be to slice the brisket in half lengthwise first, so each half has plenty of grip on the board. Not sure the slices would look pretty though.

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    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    There's also steering to consider when slicing thicker meats.
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    Dave Martell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    Crusty meats are a bit rough on the edge.
    That's the most important thing to take from this thread.

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    Senior Member Yoni Lang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perneto View Post
    Would you use a yanagiba for all slicing jobs, or does it really only make sense for fish?

    I understand sujihikis are usually preferred as all-rounders, but I'd like to try single-bevels.
    from my experience, a good yanagi is just that: a sashimi knife. suji is a good all rounder for sure.. you can cut sushi rolls, prep vegetables, even prep some smaller fish like saba if needed.. but when you go from cutting sashimi with a suji vs a yanagi, the difference is night and day- yanagi wins every time. that being said, using a yanagi for maki rolls and other prep, and you'll go right back to the suji/gyuto

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    My single bevel slicers only get used on raw, boneless, proteins, once that is cooked I use a double bevel knife. I once chipped an edge slicing meat that was only salted and peppered, when I tried a single bevel knife on cooked meat. The type of edge, being highly polished, that a yanagiba needs just doesn't work as well as a coarser edge when dealing with cooked meats, especially if you have a crust to get through.

    I have never had any steering issues though, even with pretty large pieces of meat. I find that meat has enough give that it doesn't force the blade to steer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoni Lang View Post
    from my experience, a good yanagi is just that: a sashimi knife. suji is a good all rounder for sure.. you can cut sushi rolls, prep vegetables, even prep some smaller fish like saba if needed.. but when you go from cutting sashimi with a suji vs a yanagi, the difference is night and day- yanagi wins every time. that being said, using a yanagi for maki rolls and other prep, and you'll go right back to the suji/gyuto
    Totally agree along time ago used suji's to cut sashimi,when I got my first Yanagi it was much superior for sashimi & sushi topping,hardly ever used sugi's again. For Maki rolls,inside out rolls,thin carbon lazor gyuto rule IMO.

    Now I am retired can't give up my yanagi completely used a smaller 240 as utility knife,had to put a micro bevel as the edge would suffer.It turned a dark patina because I was cutting all sorts of stuff wt. it.I recently sold my beloved Suisin 270 white steel to a coworker who is cutting all the fish these days.At least it is getting used again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackslimpson View Post
    I've been experimenting with my yanagiba as a general purpose slicer. I just sliced through a smoked brisket, and found it useful. It's a right-handed yanagiba. So, the real trouble I had was slicing with my right hand, while holding the meat with my left, where the slice fell to the left, and the meat to be sliced was to the right. I had to cross my hands over. Raw fish is heavy and grippy enough to accomodate the normal way these knives are used: slice falls to the left onto or guided by your left hand, where the rest of the fish is immobile to your right, should you be slicing with your right hand. Does this make sense? Essentially, using the yanagi to slice the brisket as I would a piece of salmon would have the blade pulling the brisket along with the blade. I had to nail it down by reaching over with my left hand. A sujihiki would eliminate this problem, as I would slice with my right, and hold the bulk of the meat to the left, while the slices fell to the right. Also, the yanagi performs best when the width of the item cut is less than a third of the lenght of the blade, so you have plenty of blade to draw while pushing down slightly to complete the slice. The brisket was wide, so caused me to have to lift my 270mm yanagi up, forward, and back again. This is a bunch of words that may sound confusing, but you'll know instantly when you try it.

    I never worried much about cutting into the meat, as long as the crust, if any, wasn't too hard. I'd console myself with breaking out the stones for a pleasureable sharpening session on my JNats. I definitley avoid bones, though.

    I've had the most success with cooked boneless chicken, cooked pork tenderloin, brisket, hanger steak.

    Cheers,

    Jack
    Jack,
    Why not just hold the brisket with your left hand cut with the yanagiba so slices come off to the right? I.E., how you do it with your suji.

    Edit: I know I'm missing something here I'm just not sure what.

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