Fillet knife vs deba

Discussion in 'Kitchen Knife Knowledge' started by Briochy, Jan 18, 2020.

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  1. Jan 18, 2020 #1

    Briochy

    Briochy

    Briochy

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    Is there any advantages of using deba to cheaper more available fillet knives? Every time I see videos of people filleting fish, fillet knives seem to do the job a lot quicker.
     
  2. Jan 18, 2020 #2

    Ochazuke

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    You ever used a fillet knife to go through a fish head? It’s cuz westerners don’t eat all the fish.
     
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  3. Jan 18, 2020 #3

    Brian Weekley

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    Very interesting question ... last summer I got a batch of salmon (Sockeye I think) for smoking. Unlike previous sessions I pulled out my deba’s... and favourites Hankotsu to fillet the fish. Here’s a pic of the knives.

    92C83BB9-A05C-4C97-A4F8-BB146CD1B37C.jpeg

    And the fish ...

    C704BB4F-187A-45CC-BC9C-1999AD79B1D7.jpeg B64B9CAE-A666-4B7A-8BEC-B72253AAABF2.jpeg 1C7F6891-3813-40B2-8796-7AB0BE4BBB46.jpeg 36253143-B00B-4884-9C39-BCD4A3ACA62A.jpeg

    The smoker and the final result ...

    64FCC9A1-18F5-4A78-887D-D8489B055CF8.jpeg 4AD3794A-0F2D-46E1-95C5-8249CF85D0E0.jpeg

    I can sure say that using the deba’s as opposed to my normal filleting knife was a bit of an experience. I was definitely pretty rough at the beginning but by the fourth fish I was getting the hang of using the deba. The smoked result certainly didn’t suffer from the choice although I over smoked the batch a bit. I’m a convert though and will be using the deba from here on.

    Great experience.

    BTW the fish came fresh and head off.
     
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  4. Jan 18, 2020 #4

    KenHash

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    Debas and Western Fillet knives are used differently. With the former a fillet is removed by short multiple strokes very tight along the backbone resulting in hardly anything left, whereas a Western fillet knife is used by a single long pull all along the length of the fish. And as mentioned, additionally the Deba is used to break down head and bones.
     
  5. Jan 18, 2020 #5

    Carl Kotte

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    I love using my debas, but I’m not good at it. The cheap flexible stuff though - here I have a lot of experience and I’m pretty good at it. Sure: if I’m in a hurry, flexible is the way to go for me. When I have the time and want to enjoy the whole process of breaking down a fish, I pick up my debas.
     
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  6. Jan 18, 2020 #6

    Briochy

    Briochy

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    I'm asking this out of the position of inexperience - I have never used either. But I know one day, I'll have to choose one. The answers generally align with my understanding.
     
  7. Jan 18, 2020 #7

    J.C

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    I will choose any of my beater gyuto than a deba. If you don't have any experience with deba, you will likely to ruin (break) the fish meat.
    If you fancy a deba, better to start with practicing at home (buy some small whole size fish) and practice every time you got the chance. Upgrade the size when you feel confident and lastly try not just to fillet the fish but breaking down a whole fish. If you curious, you can buy a book published by Josh Niland called “the whole fish” which can be easily found in Oz.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  8. Jan 19, 2020 #8

    Carl Kotte

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    So, here’s my major contribution to this thread. I’m not great at filleting, but I’m ok qua home cook. Here’s some perch I handled with three different knives. Love the debas, but for speed, slim and flexible is way easier for me. All were prepared the same way. Scales removed (I hate doing that), head off and gutted.
    IMG_4449.jpg IMG_4451.jpg IMG_4452.jpg IMG_4453.jpg IMG_4454.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  9. Jan 19, 2020 #9

    Briochy

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    Seems to both be as clean as fillets can be, good job. Which one was faster though?
     
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  10. Jan 19, 2020 #10

    Carl Kotte

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    Yeah, sorry, auto-correct did me a disservice (where it said 'spend' it should have been 'speed'). For me, flexible is way faster. But, as said, I'm no pro. However, since you're a home cook too, I thought that input from a fellow non-professional could be relevant. :D
     
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  11. Jan 19, 2020 #11

    Briochy

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    That is certainly what I was looking for. :):):)
     
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  12. Jan 19, 2020 #12

    Xenif

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    Munetoshi Butchers knife works pretty well, Monkfish sold separately. inCollage_20200119_093754109.jpeg
     
  13. Jan 19, 2020 #13

    Carl Kotte

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    Oh lala xenif! I love monkfish. No head?
     
  14. Jan 19, 2020 #14

    Xenif

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    They tend to sell these without heads, probably because they are pretty ugly looking
     
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  15. Jan 19, 2020 #15

    Carl Kotte

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    Ugly?!? I’m offended. Besides, the head hides the cheeks. And they are amazing! Plus you get a cool antenna.
     
  16. Jan 19, 2020 #16
    I grew up with a flexi fillet knife - some variant of DR has been in my tackle bag since forever. I started using a Deba a few years ago along with the rest of the suite of Jknives. The technique is different and it requires a bit more skill.

    For clean and precise work I prefer the deba - and I'm getting faster with it.
    For speed (though not so pretty) the fillet.

    Re-size Tai as Gif 75 2014-12-27 12.01.18.gif
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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  17. Jan 20, 2020 #17

    dafox

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    Masamoto Yanagi? What size?
    Brand of deba?
     
  18. Jan 26, 2020 #18

    Forsberg

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    Interesting thread.
    I was looking for some advise on what kind of debas ppl was keen on and found this.

    I use my deba on 90% of the filet job, and then shift to my old Swedish flex knive, to remove the meat down along the ribs.

    500+ fishes and this seems to be the fastest and cleanest way for me to do it.
    The major advantage on the deba is the sharpnes and the edge retention. The scales on the fish is no problem for the deba, but absolutely kills the flex knive.

    Here is your monkfish
    I'm using Watanabe deba IMG_0749.jpeg
     
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  19. Jan 26, 2020 #19

    Carl Kotte

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    Hmm, interesting, this is not my experience. I take debas to work fine scales on, but wonderfully well scales removed. Flex on the other hand works irrespective of whether the scales are removed or not.
     
  20. Jan 26, 2020 #20

    Dendrobatez

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    I like debas more than flexi filet knives for most fish. Unless you have a small deba fish like Dover sole can be tricky.
    I can cut through the spine, scrape with it, and the bevel makes it easier to get a clean end product - you can lay the bevel down flat on the ribs and glide right across to top. It's all about what works for you though, Ive seen old timers use a serrated knife who do a better job than most with a deba/filet knife.
     
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  21. Jan 27, 2020 #21

    Alder26

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    I find that for salmon its just about having a big knife. I use a 12'' scimitar to remove fillets off a 12~lbs salmon everyday and have found nothing better for the job.

    Debas tend to shine when dealing with thicker bones. They're heavy which helps going through them, and the shape of debas allows you to ride along them very well.

    I think flexi knives are a little bit easier to pick up and use intuitively but I think debas do a better job after a little practice
     
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