Looking for a singular knife for breaking down both bone in fish and whole chicken.

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by aszma, Sep 17, 2019.

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  1. Sep 17, 2019 #1

    aszma

    aszma

    aszma

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    I recently moved and am fortunate enough to live right next to an asian mart that sells really cheap whole fish and chicken. Now processing fish and chicken is something i do at work but i never really have to do it with the bones in its usually slabs of fish to portion out or large peices of chicken that i only need to cut out one or two pieces of bones. so ive been teaching myself how to break down whole fish and chicken and ive gotten good enough to want to buy a specialty knife for it as ive been using my beater 210 gyuto but ive wanted to move to a more specialized knife like a honesuki or a deba but i rather not buy both is there a knife like a double bevel deba that would be good breaking down chickens and fish? Sorry im not too versed on more specialty knives my kit consists of two gyutos, a suji, and a pairing knife i dont ever use the more niche knives.

    Knife: Deba or honesuki
    Length: 180-210mm? not sure ive seen debas up to 240 idk if that would be appropriate to use on poultry and medium sized fish
    steel: blue is what im most comfortable with but i wouldn't mind white.
    Handle: Japanes
    budget: max 300
     
  2. Sep 17, 2019 #2

    slickmamba

    slickmamba

    slickmamba

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    240mm is way too big. If you were to get a deba, a 165/180 is probably more than enough, unless you are consistently processing huge 150+ pound fish. I would really say just use your petty/paring for chicken(avoiding bone) and get a deba. If you want a single knife option for both, a double bevel deba or a mioroshi deba might be a good fit.

    Also, you should edit your account information, you are showing your address to the world!
     
  3. Sep 17, 2019 #3

    DisconnectedAG

    DisconnectedAG

    DisconnectedAG

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    This may be an unpopular opinion, but before you start buying debas and honesukis, or double bevelled debas or whatnot, get yourself a Victorinox Swibo flexible filleting knife and a jointing knife.

    There are heaps of options and I am not affiliated with these guys in any way, this is just an example:
    This will set you back something like 40 dollars (40 euro in the EU). These knives are fantastic and just perform. They take a keen edge and a lot of abuse.

    This isn't another "get victorinox first you noob' posts, just offering some thoughts based on my own experience. I use Japanese knives for all-purpose things, but still keep these two around for jointing chicken and filleting fish. Although that being said, I recently got to borrow a deba to try out, and I do say I'm enjoying it for fish filleting.
     
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  4. Sep 17, 2019 #4

    aszma

    aszma

    aszma

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    Yea i was more looking for a double bevel deba i just want to be able to go through bones without fear of breaking my knives
     
  5. Sep 17, 2019 #5

    aszma

    aszma

    aszma

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    haha ill def check those out i got nothing against vics infact it was one of the first knives i use and my beater is very similar to a victorionox knife.
     
  6. Sep 17, 2019 #6

    Nemo

    Nemo

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    Then may I suggest you get a Western bone cleaver.

    Deba is a specialty Japanese fish filleting knife. Not so good for chicken. Honesuki is a specialty Japanese chicken butchety knife. Not so good for fish...

    You get the idea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  7. Sep 17, 2019 #7

    gcsquared

    gcsquared

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    FWIW, Morimoto uses his Nenox western doube-bevel deba for both fish and poultry on the Japanese version of Iron Chef (sorry I haven’t watched Iron Chef America), so it is definitely doable and good enough for competition. Then again, he is pretty much a master so he can probably do it proficiently with many styles of knives.
     
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  8. Sep 17, 2019 #8

    suntravel

    suntravel

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    Well this depends more on the steel....

    Heavy Vic made for smashing chicken ect...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Edge looks like this aber some chopping of turkey necks

    [​IMG]

    All purpose knife made from high performance Böhler K390 steel:

    Thin but not super thin grind, cuts trough chickenbones with ease, and after that its esay going straigt trough kitchen tissue.

    Also the tip ist pointed for deboning will do anything in the kitchen without the risk of breaking and hold an sharp edge for a real long time

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regards

    Uwe
     
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  9. Sep 17, 2019 #9
    I personally would get a cheaper honesuki (or western style boning knife) - check out JKI webpage - for the chicken and reserve most of the budget for a decent 180 Deba. Or try to find an Ai-Deba (basically deba that is a bit narrower and lighter), but those are hard to find. JCK has one, but outside your price range.
     
  10. Sep 17, 2019 #10
    Our own Rick Theory has a few vids on using a double bevel deba on fish and chix. And garlic. And lobster. And.......

    Here's one:
     
  11. Sep 17, 2019 #11

    Luftmensch

    Luftmensch

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    So thats the thing... neither Debas nor Honesukis are really meant for hacking through bone. If you want to do that, get a cleaver... (or shears)

    Both debas and honesukis are built to withstand incidental impact with bone (for instance when cutting the meat off a fish spine or chicken thigh) and the stress of cutting through joints. The designs aren't typically used to cut through substantial bone (even if a specific instance can). As your original post suggests... both are designed for breaking down fish/chicken (but this isnt the same as smashing through bone). A competent butcher/chef could probably break down fish/chicken with a wide variety of knife profiles and good technique (care).

    Profile?... Sure! Go for a western/double deba (I have an old Takeda) you will find it more versatile than a honesuki or deba.
     
  12. Sep 17, 2019 #12

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    As some have said already, the choice between deba/honesuki/flexible/beater depends a lot on other preferences. If you really want to buy a nice knife that can do it all (but most plausibly some things better than other) debas might be a good idea. If you’re fine with cheap not so elegant knives; flexible with fibrox handle/cheap western cleaver may be fine!
    Another thing is performance: what works best for you and what kind of knives give you the best result. I have 4 debas and I love using them. However, if I want good results and fast results, flex is the way to go for me. The same may or may not be true of you.
     
  13. Sep 17, 2019 #13

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    Even theory flexes sometimes
     
  14. Sep 17, 2019 #14

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    This is true. But when it comes to fish (though there are exceptions) going through bone is hard to avoid, and there is often little reason to avoid it (in my experience).
     
  15. Sep 17, 2019 #15

    suntravel

    suntravel

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    Sometimes flex for fish is ok, made the HT and grind for this one for a Pro cook who ist also a hobby blacksmith, to find out the magic about Honyaki...

    ... there is no magic because the edge will not come out harder if the spine is soft ;)

    Made from an old file 1.2008 steel blacksmithed by my Procook-friend, long an flexible with good edgeholding proper sharpened.

    Works well on fish or cutting soft meat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regards

    Uwe
     
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  16. Sep 17, 2019 #16

    aszma

    aszma

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    sorry i think i used the wrong words i didnt mean bones i ment more so joints for chicken and smaller bones in fish not necessarily larger bones. Thats my bad for the confusion. The reason im looking for something in between is because I want to avoid buying multiple knives at the moment due to me moving around a lot the more i can condense my knife kit the better.
     
  17. Sep 18, 2019 #17

    gman

    gman

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    as an owner of both a honesuki and a deba, if i was going to choose a single knife for both fish and chicken it would be neither of those. the profiles are very different and specific. the closest thing to a hybrid between the two would actually be a gyuto. western deba has a pretty similar profile to a gyuto, but i'm not sure you really need that heavy a knife. fish ribs are usually pretty soft, and chicken ribs aren't that bad either (and you don't necessarily need to go through them anyway, depending on how you want to get the breasts off). everything else is a joint, including getting the heads off.

    check out this dude. he breaks out the deba from time to time, but processes a surprising variety of fish with what looks like a pretty thin gyuto.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/toruteli/videos
     
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  18. Sep 18, 2019 #18

    GorillaGrunt

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    I don’t do a ton of whole fish breakdowns but my go to knife for going through bones is a Tosa forged butakiri butcher knife that was something like 50 bucks. Bangs through a case of chicken breastbones and backbones and will still shave; cuts the heads off chicken leg bones and sharpens right back up without any hassle. Pretty wide at the tip though so not really the best for nimble stuff.
     
  19. Sep 18, 2019 #19

    KO88

    KO88

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    What about SB deba and sharp it as the tip would be the sharp part and the bottom of the blade would be the "dull" part to cut through the bones. In other words if you need to cut the protein use upper part of the blade and if you need to crack the bone you just use the "dull" part- not chopping but put the "dull" part of the knife on the bone and just hit the spine with your hand...

    So even SB Deba around 180mm could work just fine...
    For chickens I use combo 165 petty with 180 deba.
     
  20. Sep 18, 2019 #20

    KO88

    KO88

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  21. Sep 20, 2019 #21

    Noodle Soup

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    My favorite chicken breaking down knife for a number of years has been a Carter 160mm double bevel deba. Its a real do it all kind of knife with a great edge.
     

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