what knife to fillet small fish?

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I started to enjoy sardines once a week, supposed to be healthy and keep my (high) colesterol in check.

I get them fresh and whole and have no idea what would be the best knife to fillet them. I have no deba, butchering or filleting knife. I’ve been using a 210 beater yo-gyuto - works fine but a bit too long and light.

I was considering the following:

- small deba - which size though? I’m thinking maybe the 165 Misono dragon yo

- 180 petty - I’m waiting on a Heiji semi stainless, would it be a good knife for this? Maybe microbeveled for extra edge strength?

- any other? Funayuki, western boning knife, butcher knife?

I don’t mind getting a specialized knife for this task, like a deba, but it would be even better if I could use the 180 petty, as long as the edge can handle it.

Thanks!!
 
I would go for an ajikiri or a shorter deba. You can process very small fish with a 150mm, but a 125 or even a 110 would probably be very comfortable as well. It really comes down to personal preference though, some people prefer using a larger knife, I tend to like using a smaller knife.
 
I would go for an ajikiri or a shorter deba. You can process very small fish with a 150mm, but a 125 or even a 110 would probably be very comfortable as well. It really comes down to personal preference though, some people prefer using a larger knife, I tend to like using a smaller knife.
Seems like a good fit. Any recommendations on makers?

I’m biased towards Sanjo folks and apparently Watanabe makes ajikiris…
 
I find a 120mm ko-deba to be an extremely useful utility knife. Mine is a cheap kohetsu nashiji blue#2 120mm from cktg. Its stainless clad and 50/50 grind, 120x40x4mm. My understanding is Ko-debas are common fisherman’s utility knives used on boats. Seems like it would be good for this. It also is good for boning chicken, or butchering a cauliflower.
 
Do you need to fillet them? Honestly, if they are fresh and not too large, I'll grill them whole without even cleaning them (portuguese style!). Gutting if you want is easy with a petty, just slit the belly (or take of the head and gut in one action). I'd always cook then on the bone, they taste better and much quicker that way. But if you want to take the bones out, you can butterfly them with your fingers, no knife required.

Otherwise second the honesuki recommendation!
 
Do you need to fillet them? Honestly, if they are fresh and not too large, I'll grill them whole without even cleaning them (portuguese style!). Gutting if you want is easy with a petty, just slit the belly (or take of the head and gut in one action). I'd always cook then on the bone, they taste better and much quicker that way. But if you want to take the bones out, you can butterfly them with your fingers, no knife required.

Otherwise second the honesuki recommendation!
Good point… never tried grilling them whole. I live in an apartment and usually roast them in the oven. I’ll gutting with a petty and roasting them whole.

I was planning on getting a Konro grill and use it in my balcony but not sure the neighbors would be happy :)
 
Do you need to fillet them? Honestly, if they are fresh and not too large, I'll grill them whole without even cleaning them (portuguese style!). Gutting if you want is easy with a petty, just slit the belly (or take of the head and gut in one action). I'd always cook then on the bone, they taste better and much quicker that way. But if you want to take the bones out, you can butterfly them with your fingers, no knife required.

Otherwise second the honesuki recommendation!
Started doing this recently - it does make a big difference! It's the standard in my kitchen from now on...
 
If you’re skilled enough, you should be able to fillet them all(large or small) with a 210mm deba. But for smaller fish, I don’t even find debas necessary. A gyuto does just fine.
 
Tonight I used a 135 Masamoto KS deba to prep for tempura for 5. The fish part was a mix of shrimp and tautog fillets, and I enjoyed that I had a knife sharp enough to effortlessly prep the fish (relief cuts on shrimp/slicing of filets) and yet it would not cut my skin half a bottle of sake in. If I were using a gyuto or something I’d be missing fingers.
 
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