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Knife Skills

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    Knife Skills

    So I went to a BBQ school in March -- Southern Thunder BBQ school in GA --- and it is a good one day event. But what I see is that I need some better knife skills. A LOT of knife skills. If I rated my skills, I'm good on fire management, crappy on knife skills. Anyone have any thought's/ recommendations on how to learn knife/cutting /trimming skills ?!? Frankly, I suck .

    Depends what you're after, i.e. trimming vs veggie prep, etc. Aaron Franklin has some videos in Youtube that go into trimming a brisket. Jacques Pepin has one on deboning a chicken. I've seen excellent fish breakdown videos too. I'lll see if I can find links. But in general, I think finding someone who's outstanding at what they do and finding YT videos of them doing it is the way to go. Then it's just practice.

    Also USE SHARP KNIVES. Ahem....
    Last edited by rickgregory; May 2, 2021, 04:39 PM.


      Yeah, sharp knives go a long way. Get one good chef’s knife.

      Buy a bag of carrots, and start cutting. Cut some rounds, some julienne. Try to make all the pieces the same size. Make some really thin, some quarter inch thick, etc. Then get another bag of carrots and continue.

      It’s like anything, the more you do it, the better you get.


        First, I'm thinkin' that Marine knife skills area bit different than cookin' knife skills.

        Second, practice is the key, but you need to practice correct knife skills. Youtube is your friend. There are a ton of videos there, but you have to be careful - just because people know how to post videos doesn't mean they also know what they are doing.

        A visit to Kitchen Knife Forums might help, but , again, there is a ton of info to sort through. There is one thread there that has lots of videos, but you will have to go through them to get what you want.

        Edit to add the second link goes back to 2012, so I'm guessing that some of the older links no longer work.
        Last edited by RonB; May 2, 2021, 05:28 PM.


        • Bkhuna
          Bkhuna commented
          Editing a comment
          There are some good uses for a KA-BAR in the kitchen.

        Ron - this is why I'd find videos by people like Pepin. For example...

        Basic knife skills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nffGuGwCE3E

        Collection here https://jp.foundation/video-category...skills/page/3/

        But there's a variety of skills. The carrot thing above is great for basic veg techniques but wont tell you how to break down a chicken or a whole fish.


          this is an interesting topic. i also i find i lack greatly in some areas of knifin', especially when it comes to butcherin' and also slicing roasts. i think it is a confidence thing really. i always second guesss my actions and that screws things up. it's mostly my own thing, too - i can still put sliced meat on the table and my peeps like it - i'm just unhappy with how it looks sliced on the plate. youtube videos have helped but as folks have already said it's all about practice, practice, practice.


          • rickgregory
            rickgregory commented
            Editing a comment
            Look over the Pepin videos I linked above. Some about slicing roasts there. But especially with softer things like a medium rare roast etc it's crucial to have a very sharp knife.

          Practice Makes Perfect. Soon you will be a cut above.


          • bardsleyque
            bardsleyque commented
            Editing a comment
            "practice makes perfect, but nobody's perfect, so why practice?"

          I’m thinking about bringing in HouseHomey on this one. This dude is the real deal. He’s got the skillz


            Agree with prior comments, but would add that choosing and using the right knife for the task is really important. When I started, I would just grab a "knife" and get to cutting. I saw a Franklin video where he recommended a 9 inch boning knife for his brisket trims. Curved blade, very flexible. I bought one and after a little practice immediately noticed improvement. Years later, my son and I got into knife making and learn a ton about how blades are made for certain tasks. I now have a selection of kitchen knives and a much better understanding of which ones work best for which jobs and how to use them properly. If you invest a bit of time in learning how to pick the right knife for the job, your "knife skills" will benefit. Good luck.
            Last edited by ttongue; May 10, 2021, 01:27 PM.


              Maybe once COVID is mostly over, consider a hands-on knife skills class. WS and SLT have them but also see if there’s a local cooking shop and/or school around. Really helped me a lot.


              • RustyHaines
                RustyHaines commented
                Editing a comment
                5 years ago our daughter took a 2 hour knife skills class. She learned a lot. The end of class exercise was deboning a chicken. She has been a vegetarian ever since ! But she can cut up veggies now.

              Along with what’s been said, and the links provided by rickgregory I would also suggest that you find a knife, or knives, that you like. A lot of this has to do with feel.

              Skills, obviously, can be learned. But if your knife isn’t a "good fit" it could make the learning experience longer. FWIW, one of my all time favourite knives is a heavy German 10” chefs knife. After several years...it’s like an extension of my hand. OTOH, I picked up a "really nice" nakiri because...well, why not..? ("Everyone" says they’re great.) It’s...meh. Insanely sharp, but doesn’t match my cutting style. Or rather, how I learned to cut. I also gave away a Global chef knife for the same reason. I wanted, wanted, WANTED it...until I got it. It just wasn’t right for ME.

              WHAT you’re planning to cut also makes a difference. My chef's knife will handle a whole lotta tasks...but not everything. I’m not going to tourne carrots with it. Likewise, a boning or fillet knife is indispensable for trimming or deboning.


                These are some special times we live in, aren't they? Not only is it now EXPECTED you walk into a bank wearing a mask, we have forums like this where we can openly talk about knife skills. Honestly, when was the last time you could combine phrases like "it just takes some practice" and "then get to cutting".


                  If you have a Sur La Table store near you, take their knife skills class. Class is about 2.5 hours and focuses primarily on vegetables since vegs are fairly cheap and the class doesn't cost too much. However, learning how to grip your knife and make consistent cuts is really important. You might try a local community college or local cooking schools also.


                    Stick them with the pointy end


                    • Livermoron
                      Livermoron commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I call my boning knife "needle..."

                    Ed Blankenhagen Adding to what Ed said, there might be a lot of local opportunities to learn knife skills and other culinary ones. Locally we have a multi-county community college with a culinary school. At night they provide culinary skill classes to the community. Each course lasts from a few weeks up-to about 8 weeks long for less than $100 for the whole session. Kathy took the bakery classes which were taught by a locally famous artisan baker and she can now bake like a pro. She has taken several others including desserts and my favorite was her soup classes. Aww, thats homework I really enjoyed.

                    With our local resident and senior discounts she paid around $50-$60 for eight weeks of classes per course. I’m sure they have a kitchen basics course for things like knife skills too.



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