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Knife for chicken and fish

Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:41 pm

I currently use a 12" gyuto to joint chicken. I use a cheap santoku that I was given to split the carcass after the breasts, legs, thighs and wings have been removed. I'd like a knife that is sturdy enough to split the breast bones away from the back, but also do a nice job deboning the breast and jointing the appendages.

Every year, I catch between 5-30 salmon depending on the run. I currently use a victorinox blade, but i'd like to use a japanese style knife instead. I would like to be able to use one knife to do chicken AND salmon. Is this unrealistic?

I was looking at a tojiro western style deba or a 8.25" shun pro. Would either of these knives be a good choice? Which one would be better?

I am looking to spend under $200.


Re: Knife for chicken and fish

Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:13 am

This is tough!! :)

The first knife that comes to mind is a 180mm true deba.....but it's single bevel and concave back are not something to be taken lightly. They are easy to sharpen when you get the hang of it, but the sharpening is different.

The Shun Pro deba is not a good knife....it's neither a true single bevel deba or a double bevel deba. I would avoid it if at all possible.

The Tojiro western deba is a great choice. It is a the first knife that came to mind when you were talking about the chicken jobs. Then, though, you threw in the salmon monkey wrench....I don't know how it would be at breaking down a salmon for which a true deba would be ideal.

Re: Knife for chicken and fish

Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:34 am

Interesting about the Shun Deba. How exactly is it not a true deba? Are there decent resources available that outline how to properly care for a traditional Deba? Would I sharpen the western Deba the same way I sharpen my gyuto with 2 bevels?

I think I will go with the Tojiro Western Deba, as I do butcher a LOT more chicken than salmon. If the western style deba doesn't do the salmon as well as I would like...then I could always get a long sashimi knife. I have heard that a decent single bevel sashimi knife is beast when it comes to processing salmon! Ideally though, I would like a single knife I could do both salmon and chicken.

Does anyone know of resources showing the proper techniques on how to use Deba knives? I know you aren't supposed to smack them around like you can a western style cleaver.

Re: Knife for chicken and fish

Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:51 am

A western deba is double beveled and would be sharpened like any other gyuto.....it's just a thicker version really.

Here is a YouTube channel that I really like. It's mostly in Japanese, but to watch this guy is to learn how to use the knives you're asking about.


A yanagi (sushi knife) is not really meant to be a sole tool used in fish processing. A deba is used to heavy tasks and much of the fileting. Removing the head, cutting bones, etc. are all much to difficult for the delicate edge of a yanagi to do.....you'd chip the edge horribly if you did.

Sorry about the Shun Pro comment....I thought they were flat backed and not hollow but I seem to have been wrong. *hangs head in shame*
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