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Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:13 am

Looking for a knife that will break down whole 20# Salmon. and similar tasks.

Right handed
240mm -270mm
around the $200 price range
I sharpen on waterstones
Japanese preferred knife unless its a Richmond AEB-L
single or double bevel
Don't mind getting another carbon knife

These are the knives I'm considering

Tojiro 240 Deba Western handle
Richmond Sujihiki 240mm
Masahiro 240mm fillet as seen on You Tube
Tojiro shirogami mioroshi deba 240mm

other recommendations are welcome.

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:11 am

JOSEPH <> It's rare someone buys a knife targeting one fish, but if there ever were a knife I'd recommend for breaking down salmon... this is it. I've posted a few times, but just posted recently about how awesome it is with salmon... filetting or steaking. You did list it, but you mentioned you were not interested in a Yo-handle unless it's a Richmond... and specifically in Uddeholm's AEB-L. It's not. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpwede24.html

I don't like filetting with Sujis.

I have a vintage carbon in the profile of the Masahiro you're talking about http://www.knifemerchant.com/product.asp?productID=7071, and I do find it much more fun to filet with as it has a finer touch considering it is not the beast the Western Deba is though I won't steak with it & I find the wider Gyuto skins better.

Tojiro Shirogami is RIDICULOUSLY reactive. Just a heads up. Ridiculously.

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:21 am

240 is huge for a deba, even if you're breaking down a 20# salmon. A $200 better quality 180mm will probably be a more versatile knife overall. The fish guy at the restaurant I worked at used a suji for anything larger than 4 lbs. He's been at high end restaurants, including Morimoto, breaking down fish and didn't know from a deba. Go figure.

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:46 am

Thanks for the tip about the Tojiro shirogami did not know that. I really like the Tojiro Deba but my only concern is that it has little to no flex, and would like to use it as an all around fillet knife. Should I be looking at 180 mm deba instead?

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:31 am

JOSEPH <> Regarding Mano's comment: 1) We're talking Western/Mioroshi Debas here... far cry from a Hon Deba. #2) Still I do agree the 240 is large. I had sung the praises of the knife, not so much the size, although it might not have come off that way. Size is such a personal kinda thing, and I left your 240 selection alone as I recognize it's attributes. It would be more adept at steaking while the 210 more adept at filetting, but both do both. I own the 210, and find it a superb knife for all salmon. I have over the past year gone through cases of 8-10 kilo Browne Trading's Ōra King Salmon with it, and it acts like it has found its calling in life. I can cut a steak off a large salmon with one stroke of the 210 though it would easier with the 240. That said, the 240 is a mm thicker at the spine than the 210; neither of these knives are flexible, and a 180mm Hon-Deba is about as flexible as The Führer's hatred for non-aryans. I use a 180 Hon-Deba; I love it for big scaled fish. It's heft breaks through scaled skin with aplomb. It's thick spine & single bevel really creates separation while working, as well. BUT, a Deba is an acquired taste... I'll leave it at that.

Honestly, I have spent the better part of my 23 years in food service from dishwasher to Executive Chef spanning both hemispheres above and below the equator in high-end establishments, low-end, and everything in between using the Forschner curved 6" boning knife to break down fish... all fish.. any fish. Admittedly, I would pull out an 8" or 10" Forschner breaking on larger specimens. Dare not belittle their efficacy as they can not be disparaged due to their $20 price tag. Remember, the knife is the smallest part of the equation. I just saw one of El Bulli's proteges rocking a Global knife roll. :?

That said, after a couple decades, I realized I was bored senseless & chose to relearn some skills as there had been countless times in which I've had to break down a salmon on the fly mid-service, and when you're weeded... you grab what's there. That's always your Cook's/Gyuto. Do it enough & you start asking yourself why in the hell am I pulling out a boning knife when I can just pick up my Gyuto & get the same damn results. Albeit, with less nimbleness & a little more focus required, but still generating the same product & same negligent amount of waste.

Enters in my world new profiles: Hon-Deba, Mioroshi Deba & Gokujko. The parallel between the Mioroshi as to the Gyuto is evident, & the parallel between the Gokujo as to the curved Forschner is undeniable, as well. But the JK's offer some steels that hold a steeper edge, and hold it longer. Obviously, the heft of the Mioroshi bolsters it's strength in pin bone situations while still offering that ease, comfort, & versatility of a gyuto profile. And the Tojiro Gokujo has a unique flair & height to its profile that acts very similarly to the Forschner, yet it is its own knife... not to mention the VG-10 takes and holds a better edge.

The Western Deba works well in other situations. It will work like a (e.g., Wusthof, Henkels, Forschner) Western cook's knife - albeit, a thick & heavy one w/o as comfortable a handle - in normal life. I mean - you can give this knife some abuse even though its relatively hard. I bought the knife because of that versatility.

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:44 am

I have a question that may be telling of my inexperience with JK. What about a Yanagiba? Much like tuna being broken down with a Maguro Bocho?

As an aside, I knew a few salmon fishermen that adapted lawn mower blades with great results. I used to be able to fillet and skin a chinook in under 2 minutes. Being swarmed by yellow jackets brings inspiration!

Re: Looking for a knife to break down whole salmon.

Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:32 am

Melanpus, what do you use Gokujko for? and what is your go to knife for filleting large fish, and what is your go to knife for smaller fish?
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