|Our competition knife set-up|
A few notes about knives: First, it's all about balance. What feels like an extension of my hand may not work with you- it is very important to hold knives in order to get a sense of the balance. If you are uncomfortable, the sharpest knife in the world is not going to do you much good. In the past we have used a mixed bag of knives- mainly Henckel's with some Dexters (a commercial kitchen type), calphalon, or Tridents thrown in the mix. A lot comes down to selecting the specific line- for example Henckels has several differently priced lines (always avoid anything that says "ever sharp" or something to that effect), some quite cheap and some on the moderately high priced side. As with anything, you are going to pay more for quality- but with proper care a good knife will last you a lifetime.
|A Mac Knife 10" slicer with indentions. This thing just looks mean!|
|Santuko and Utility knife from Mac Knives. Both VERY sharp!|
Start with a Steel and a good sharpener. A steel aligns your blade, not really sharpening it. It may feel sharper because it has been straightened however. We use a "rollsharp" from Fiskars as our main sharpener at contests. Whatever you do, please be careful when sharpening knives! Next, we carry 2 10" slicers, one with a "granton" edge and one without. The granton is a series of small indentations in the side of the knife that helps it move through the product. Basically at a contest the only use for these is when we are doing Brisket. For trimming meat, we carry 6" filet knives (we carry a stiff and a flexible). These are for trimming pork shoulders, whole hog, etc. A 4" paring knife for helping with garnish. We carry five 6" utility knives for MBN contests- slicing ribs for a blind box, and slicing meat for the judges in the whole hog category. We keep a 8" chef knife in there because you never know when you will need it!
For the house, one knife that we have fallen in love with lately is a 6" Santuko knife. It it truly an awesome knife and frankly I'm kind of mad I've never used one much before recently.
|Chef's choice model #120|
For Competion knives, we use a knife satchel. They can be found for around $40 online (we use a Dexter we bought from our local restaurant supply company). We use a 14 knife model- always go for the bigger holders because you will eventually fill them up! For our home knives, we have a cherry wood Henckel Knife block. Sorry, Mac doesn't make one yet!
The long and short of it- spend a few extra dollars on a really good knife now and you will get a lifetime of return for it.