Knife Technique - Tips and Tricks

Discussion in 'Whats Cooking? Food, Drink, & Gear' started by madelinez, Dec 13, 2018.

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  1. Dec 13, 2018 #1

    madelinez

    madelinez

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    So this is a knife forum, but I rarely see posts about knife technique. I'd love to start a thread where people share their favorite tricks, or technique. Whether you're prepping 5 boxes of onions, filleting a fish or creating decorative pieces for sushi. Please share everything from the most basic technique to the more advanced, or even kitchen hacks you've discovered over the years.
     
  2. Dec 13, 2018 #2

    Ochazuke

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    There’s nothing that beats doing 10,000 hours of prep.

    That’s my 2 cents: you wanna get good with a knife, go be somebody’s grunt in a high volume restaurant. You’ll either get good or get out.
     
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  3. Dec 13, 2018 #3

    ian

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    Well, here's a very important question:

    Say you're cutting up something that requires a push or draw, as opposed to a straight chop. If you're not concerned with absolute precision, do any of you ever alternate push/draw for speed? Naively, this seems like it could be more physically efficient. However, now that I'm thinking about it maybe there's something about the circular motion of repeated draw cuts (or repeated push cuts) that makes that nearly as efficient if the length of the draw isn't too long, since you're not fighting against your own momentum as much. Anyone ever done any systematic studies about this? Essays, anecdotes and Venn diagrams are all acceptable responses.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2018 #4
    Don't think you would have to cut more than a stick of celery to answer your own question. Then you could write a thesis and submit it here for peer review. Venn diagram........

    But to the OP question there are some pretty good vids cited here for technique. A google search for Rick Theory posts (where have you been Rick>?) will find some of them. Some of vids avail on Jon?JKI's website show technique. The book "Japanese Knife Technique" is highly praised here. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568364903/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
     
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  5. Dec 14, 2018 #5

    ian

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    Yea, my question was sort of half serious, but while it’s obviously harder to alternate push/pull if I pull out a celery stick, something in me wonders if that’s just because I haven’t been practicing that for 10 years like I have with repeated pulls or repeated draws. (I’m more thinking about cutting sausage or something, anyway, where you need a bit of a draw or push rather than a chop.) Anyway, I didn’t think it inconceivable that someone might do this...

    Anyway, I don’t want to derail the OP’s thread, even if this is actually a q about technique, sort of. The references you gave were great ones—I’d never seen Rick Theory’s vids before and they’re pretty good.
     
  6. Dec 14, 2018 #6
    Even better with the volume muted. Hehehe.
     
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  7. Dec 14, 2018 #7

    minibatataman

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    When you cut down, try to hit as much food and as little fingers as possible.
     
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  8. Dec 15, 2018 #8

    willcutforcooks

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    I've chalked a few knife hours up (maybe not 10,000 but enough to feel it in the joints) If your skill set was high enough, yes you could alternate, (but its more to do with how tired your muscle group is.) Roast carving is a good example of where changing up helps to give one technique a break. Dunno about alternating constantly, if that's the question? As you get into a "rhythm" when you're cutting serious amounts and you've committed it to muscle memory..
     
  9. Dec 15, 2018 #9

    ian

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    Yea, I was asking about alternating one push one pull. (Although it certainly makes sense to do one motion for a while and then switch to another motion to give those muscles a break.)

    Anyway, this is all academic for me, since as I’m not a pro and I don’t cook large pieces of meat at home that often, I’m never going to cut enough protein for technique to actually matter. Just curious.
     
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  10. Jan 1, 2019 #10

    frampton

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    I don’t see an advantage to the alternating push-pull. I think it make it very difficult to cut uniformly, and I don’t think there would be any significant time savings over a rotational pattern. The alternating push and pull are efficient for sawing, but I don’t think it makes sense for repeated single stroke cuts, where you’re looking at a downward motion terminating at the board. Either way, the next cut must include an upward motion and downward motion.
     
  11. Jan 4, 2019 #11

    boomchakabowwow

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    I just cook at home. Would he interesting to know my hours clocked holding a knife.

    I seriously know zero tips. I just hack away.
     
  12. Jan 4, 2019 #12

    DitmasPork

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    When I first started buying J-knives, I enjoyed watching the knife techniques in Salty's videos.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Saltydog55252/videos

    There was a Japanese fellow that had a whole bunch of YouTube videos o how to breakdown different types of fish with a deba, forgot his name, but very helpful.

    For pure entertainment value, there're hundreds of "fastest" deer butchering videos. I wish I knew some hunters!
     
  13. Jan 4, 2019 #13

    ian

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    Wow, that deer video is something. I hope you won’t all mock me if I say that I felt slightly squeamish about him disemboweling and decapitating the deer at break neck speed. Guess I have to watch the video 20 more times or so now to get used to it.

    There’re also classics like Pepin’s deboning chicken video:



    I think this has been posted on this site (many?) times before, but it’s almost a tutorial in how to avoid using a knife rather than a knife technique video.
     
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  14. Jan 4, 2019 #14

    HRC_64

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    I think this is in the spirit of OP post



    Some people may debate som of the actual specifics...
    but thats part of the fun of learning
     
  15. Jan 4, 2019 #15

    dwalker

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    I wish I had a fraction of his terrible knife skills.
     
  16. Jan 4, 2019 #16

    DitmasPork

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  17. Jan 4, 2019 #17
    I saw what you did there:cool:
     
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  18. Jan 5, 2019 #18

    ACHiPo

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    Really good video. Thanks for posting!
     
  19. Jan 5, 2019 #19

    Mucho Bocho

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    Great technique but I’m meh on his onion approach. The tenderloin was handled like a surgeon though.
     
  20. Jan 5, 2019 #20

    ian

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    Yea. The scraping of the edge on the board hurts my ears a bit. I've also never been a fan of leaving the root end on when dicing onions. Ok, maybe it makes it a little easier to cut, but it seems somehow `unclean' and makes the peeling part harder. I want all that stuff I'm not going to eat off the board as fast as possible!

    In general, nice video.
     
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  21. Jan 5, 2019 #21

    Kippington

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    Yeah, when I was an apprentice I was told never to run the knife through the onions a second time because it would cause them to bleed. I dunno how important it really is, but because of my training I find it strange to watch him do it.

    I also mentioned in another thread that a "too sharp" knife can cut through silverskin rather than separating off the meat as you try to run alongside it. You can see his honesuki gives him no such trouble at 15:32.
     
  22. Jan 6, 2019 #22

    panda

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    i like to hold the product with my teeth and swing my knife upward toward my face. i call it the gravity defyer technique
     
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  23. Jan 6, 2019 #23

    ian

    ian

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    I guess in that case I could see leaving the root end of the onion on. Gotta have something solid to bite, I suppose. Hmm, food for thought.
     
  24. Jan 7, 2019 #24

    Paraffin

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    Yow! I hate seeing a pro chef sliding the knife at 90 degrees on a hard board like that, and then French-style rock chopping. It's great if it works for him, but I've finally trained my wife not to do that, so she's working her way into our better Japanese knives now, and I don't have to worry about chipping.

    On the other hand, I liked his trimming of beef tenderloin. I do a lot of that with smaller steak cuts for grinding our own beef at home. Now I want a honesuki (again).
     
  25. Jan 7, 2019 #25

    ACHiPo

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    Yeah the board scraping made me cringe. The pismo trimming was art.
     

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